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Punk Who Got Away Gives Eyewitness Account of Raid

BY NURDIN HASAN



Banda Aceh, TAG - “We are not criminals but we were beaten up like animals when the [police] tried to arrest us. We’ve never made trouble before,” said a 20-year-old who managed to escape a raid last week by Aceh police officers for the supposed crime of being “punk.” 


Juanda, affectionately called Lowbet by his fellow punks, is a student at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh. He has been active in punk community Tanggul Rebel (Rebel’s Dam) since 2008, but he took off his metal jewelry soon after the raid because he heard from friends that “Banda Aceh’s public order officers and Wilayatul Hisbah [Sharia police] were still looking for punks who escaped the raid last week.” 
Juanda revealed he escaped by wearing a helmet, which hid his punk hairstyle. 
Sixty-four young people have been held by the Police since Dec. 10. They have not been charged with a crime or brought before a court.  
On Tuesday afternoon, police took the detainees to the Aceh State Police camp, located in the hills 62 kilometers outside of the city, to “re-educate” them. Mohawks and dyed hair came off as police shaved the men’s heads and forced them into a lake. The women’s hair was cut short in the fashion of a female police officer. 
Juanda is currently coordinating with the Aceh branch of local legal aid foundation Commission for the Missing Persons and the Victims of Violence (Kontras) to file a lawsuit against the Banda Aceh government and its law enforcers for the raid.
Hospinovizal Sabri, director of Banda Aceh Legal Aid, said pro bono lawyers were ready to help.  
“We are ready to defend them. Police have caught the wrong children. They’re innocent,” Hospinovizal said. 
“We’re accused of breaching Sharia law. They should tell us which clause that we have violated,” Juanda said.  
The concert, titled “Aceh for the Punk,” was held at the city cultural center Taman Budaya and was also purported to help revive punk culture in Aceh.
There has been a punk community there since the 1980s, which regularly held music concerts or gatherings until armed conflicts between the pro-independence Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian Military intensified in the 1990s until 2004.  
“It broke my heart to see how my friends were beaten up like that. I could not do anything to help because the officers were armed and they moved really fast. They pulled my friends’ hair and dragged them,” Juanda said. “Some criminals are treated better than them.”  
Juanda said that police told the media that they confiscated alcohol and marijuana. But he said that if there were people drinking and using drugs, the police should have targeted them, not the whole group. 
During a hearing with Aceh Council on Friday, Aceh Police chief Ins. Gen. Iskandar Hasan said he received calls from the German and French embassies regarding the raid and detainment.
He claimed the envoys asked him about police treatment of the punks, including immersing their heads in a pond. 
“I told them it’s a tradition. When I was still in the police academy, we were all pushed and plunged into a lake,” Iskandar said to a chorus of laughter from the city councillors. 
“Aceh police should have just raided big hotels here that house prostitutes. They must overlook the prostitutes selling themselves on the roadsides here,” he said. 
Punks, Juanda said, are harmless. They are only expressing themselves albeit many of them dress too extreme and wear unconventional hair styles.  
The re-education would not deter them and even would invoke their rebellion and seeds of hatred toward the law enforcers, Juanda said.[]


Punk Who Got Away Gives Eyewitness Account of Raid Punk Who Got Away Gives Eyewitness Account of Raid Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on December 19, 2011 Rating: 5

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