Police name 18 suspects over death of anti-mining activist

CP9VV5hWoAA8blSthejakartapost.com, Jakarta | Archipelago | Tue, September 29 2015, 11:53 AM
The police have named 18 suspects in their investigation into the assault and murder an anti-mining activist in Lumajang regency, East Java, last Saturday.
“Eighteen people have been named as suspects and detained by the Lumajang precinct police,” said East Java Police spokesperson Kombes Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono on Monday as quoted by Antara news agency.
On Saturday, a 52-year-old villager named Salim, or Kancil, was beaten to death by a group of people in Selok Awar-Awar subdistrict in Pasirian district. The same group also allegedly assaulted Tosan, 51, in another village, running him over with a motorcycle and leaving him in a critical condition.
Three days before the incident, the two victims, along with dozens of fellow villagers, staged a rally to protest against sand quarrying on Watu Pecak Beach, also in Selok Awar-Awar subdistrict. The protesters claimed that the mining damaged the environment, leaving holes 5 meters in diameter and a meter deep on the beach.
The protest halted the quarrying and prevented dozens of trucks from transporting the sand.
According to Prabowo, more suspects could be named following the police investigation.
“A team from the East Java Police has been deployed to Lumajang to handle the case, which demonstrates our commitment to solving it. When we have found enough evidence and more information from reliable witnesses, the number of suspects may grow,” said Prabowo.
Lumajang Police chief AKBP Fadly Munzir Ismail said that the suspects were being questioned over various roles they played in the violent incidents.
“There were those who persuaded the victims to come with them, gave instructions to assault them, beat the victims and even [those who] electrocuted them. We will keep building on the investigation until [we catch] the mastermind,” said Fadly.
He added that people should trust the police to handle the case and not carry out any vigilante responses.
“The case has come to the attention of the National Police chief and through the East Java Police chief he has ordered us to handle the case seriously and not play around,” said Fadly.
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) spokesperson, Ananto Setiawan, said that the government should be preventing incidents like this – and other violations of civil and human rights – from happening.
Ananto told Antara news agency that prior to Saturday’s incident, local residents had expressed their disagreement with sand mining. Their views had been made clear to the Lumajang regent, the police, the Legislative Council (DPRD) and the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta, but no follow-up had ever happened.
He also said that the anti-mining residents had reported being terrorized and intimidated to the Lumajang precinct police. The police had promised to establish a special team to investigate the report, but they did not.
According to a report by kompas.com, the police will shut down the sand mining activity at the Watu Kecak Beach if they find that no official permit exists.
“If there is no permit, there should be nothing happening there. We will absolutely close it down,” said Prabowo on Monday. (kes)(++++)
Link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/09/29/police-name-18-suspects-over-death-anti-mining-activist.html

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