Police in Indonesia have apologized after a video appeared, where officers use a live snake to force a confession from a suspected mobile phone thief.
The video filmed in the Eastern European island of Papua shows a seated and restrained man being informed by officers while killing a snake if his shoulders and head are pushed toward his face, Reuters said.
Police asked the suspect how many times he had stolen cell phones when he twisted the ground and screamed in fear. "Only twice" is heard by the prisoner and says another man rubs the snake on his face.
A voice camera can be heard ordering the man to keep his eyes open when the hose is pushed towards him. The unidentified voice also threatens to put the snake in the suspected mouth and down on the pants.
Tonny Ananda Swadaya, police officer in Paupua's Jayawijaya region, issued a statement of excuse for the interrogation methods following details of the incident. "The investigator was not a professional in doing his job," Swadaya admitted.
"We have taken strict action against the staff," he added, although the snake in question was tame and non-toxic. He also stressed that the officials involved had acted on their own initiative to try to extract a notice and had not physically attacked the suspect.
Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, a police spokesman for Papua, said an investigation had been launched by the internal affairs. He promised that any violation of the law or the Code of Conduct would be penalized.
"We apologize for the incident," Kamal Associated Press told. "Institutionally, we do not recognize such an unprofessional method of investigation, and we guarantee that such an inhumane method will not happen again in the future."
Veronica Koman a human rights lawyer documenting government abuse in the Western Papua region of Indonesia tweeted the video of the interrogation and claimed the police had used the method before, for example, recently laying a snake in a cell with one of her clients ̵
Koman said the use of a snake is just one of the ways in which police and military personnel terrorize Papuan detainees as part of a racist struggle against indigenous citizens, AP explained.
Papua became part of Indonesia in 1969 following a UN referendum. However, separatist feelings have been present since then. The state of Jakarta has reportedly committed various human rights violations in its repression of the independence movement. Such efforts have intensified after the rebels killed 19 people working on the construction of a trans-Papua highway project in December 2018.