Saturday, May 19, 2007

Family fights back after fatal shooting

Saturday, March 03, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The family of a man who died after a police officer shot him during a drug raid Tuesday have reported the incident to the city police.

Arben Panjaitan, 41, was shot on Feb. 14, when officers raided his house in Kebon Bawang, Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta.

He died a few hours later in the Kramatjati police hospital, the family's lawyer, Kamaruddin Simanjuntak, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Police had earlier arrested Aki, who rented a room in Arben's house, for his alleged role in drug trafficking. On Feb. 14, two plainclothes officers let themselves in to the house at 7:35 p.m. to search for evidence.

Arben had just arrived home from work and was using the second-story bathroom when they arrived, Simanjuntak said.

When he had finished, he exited the bathroom only to come across two strangers in the house.

They said they were police, but Arben did not believe them. When he asked for their ID cards, the policemen ignored the request. Their failure to present a search warrant also made Arben uneasy and he asked them to leave.

"The policemen, however, became angry and one of them shot Arben in both thighs," Simanjuntak said.

Arben's father, Lantang Panjaitan, and brother, Binsar Panjaitan, rushed to his side, but police told them to stay away.

"They told us to shut up and not to get involved. They even shot twice at the floor and threatened to shoot us," Binsar said.

He said police kicked and punched Arben a number of times, even though he was bleeding and could not rise to his feet.

Binsar said they ransacked Arben's room, which was still locked, but found nothing. When police searched Aki's room, they found a packet of marijuana.

At 8:30 p.m more police officers came to the house.

They ordered Arben to get into a police car. His brother tried to help him, but was restrained by police. So Arben had to crawl from the second floor while the police shouted at him and kicked him.

The officers took Arben away at about 9 p.m.

At 12:30 p.m. the family were told by police that Arben had been taken to Sukanto police hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.

The next day, Binsar and Arben's other brother, Jonggir Panjaitan, met the head of the Tanjung Priok Police's drug squad, Adj. Sec. Insp. Asep Heriawan, to ask about the case. The officer said Arben was not the target of the raid.

"Heriawan told us they had been looking for Aki not Arben, but Arben was shot because he stood in the way of the police officers," Binsar told the Post.

The family was later told by the Kramat Jati hospital that Arben, who had arrived at the hospital at 12:15 p.m., died at 5:30 a.m.

They wanted to bring the body home straightaway but Heriawan prevented them.

Binsar said that in the evening, when two relatives of the victim, Karis and Julu Panjaitan, tried to bring the body home, police offered them Rp 2 million, telling them not to ask questions about the shooting. Karis and Julu rejected the offer.

They were able to bring the body home just after midnight.

Tanjung Priok Police chief Comr. Suparmo said separately that Arben had been caught red-handed with a joint in his hand and had resisted arrest.

Suparmo also said police never tried to bribe the family but gave them money for the funeral.

The family's lawyer said they would also report the case to the National Commission on Human Rights. (02)

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