Journalist Punched At Police Station Over Confirmed of Dusty Road

BANDA ACEH, (TAG) – Basri Razali, 34, a journalist of Radar Nusantara weekly newspaper and portal news in east Aceh district, had been punched by a contractor businessman and his friend after victim confirmed about the dusty road in a remote area of the district to local official. Ironically, the incident occurred at a police station and seen by local police chief along with his men.

Basri during a phone interview Thursday said the incident happened two days ago at Banda Alam Police Station in east Aceh district. There was no prevention from the policemen when Basri punched and beaten several times.
“When asked to clear the matter about I confirmed of dusty road to local official at police station by the contractor, I felt save because some policemen there knew that I’m a journalist,” Basri said.
He explained that the incident started when he heard complaints from residents about condition of dusty road in Keude Geurubak, the capital of Banda Alam sub-district in east Aceh, making difficult for locals to do their daily activities, especially when trucks’ passing that road.
Then, Basri called Yusuf Adam, the head of district’s Public Works Department to confirm about the development of road construction that believed funded by the so-called Aceh Special Autonomy Fund for Fiscal Yer 2011. Basri asked Yusuf is that road just hardening or including asphalting.
"According to Yusuf, the road was paved and it’s going to done in the near future," Basri said, citing the head of district’s public works. Then, he told locals about the information from Yusuf. Residents felt grateful because the road  will be paved so that they’re no longer "eating the dust."
Minutes later, Basri acknowledged he had a phone call from someone who introduced himself as contractor businessman, namely Sulaiman. He asked Basri to meet but the journalist said he could not meet at the time because he was still covering the local activities.
“Suddenly, an hour later, Sulaiman came to Keude Geurubak with his friend who known as a former local Free Aceh Movement (GAM) commander. He forced me to get in their car to solve the problem, but I refused,” Basri said.
"I told them that if they want to talk, just did it. But, they didn’t want because there are some residents. Then they asked me to meet at police station. I immediately agreed because I felt save there. Then we went to the local police station. I rode my motorcycle, while they followed behind by car."
When arrived at the police station, Basri talked to an officer that Sulaiman want to meet him at the police station. Not so longer, they arrived.
"Once out of the car, they punched and hit me several times at all over my head. In angrily they said, 'What’s your business calling Yusuf Adam ', " Basri quoted Sulaiman bluff, adding both also threatening to killed Basri if he still publishing story about the dusty road.
As he tried to save himself, Basri told them that he called Yusuf just to confirm about the road complained by local residents. “But they ignored my explanating. They were increasingly bet me," Basri said.
"When the incident occurred, the local police chief and his men just watching and not tried to intervene. I was greatly regret. Why didn’t the police say anything to stop beating on me. If at the police station they dare to do like this, how in other places," Basri said.
After that, both left the location as police didn’t try to catch them. Basri who was sick in the head leaving the police station to file a report about the incident to district police station.
Since the incident, Basri just staying at home because he still felt pain. He’s also afraid to covering stories because still trauma.
"I do hope that the law should be enforced and the police seriously investigating the case. If it is stopped, this is a bad precedent for press freedom in Aceh. Moreover, the beating took place at the police station," Basri said.
The new east Aceh police chief, Adj. Comm. Iwan Eka Putra, while confirmed about the incident said that he is still in the provicial capital Banda Aceh as he became the chief a few days ago and the handover has not been done yet. "I was at the meeting," he said as hung up the call.[]
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