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Police Officers Linked to Two Student Deaths in Indonesia Protests Are Basically Off the Hook

Students in Kendari, where the two students were killed, are not taking this lightly.
indonesia protests
A display at the student protests on October 28 calling for justice for the two Halu Oleo students who were killed in September. Photo via ADEK BERRY/AFP

This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.

The protests against the introduction of controversial laws that took over Indonesia last month have subsided in most of the nation. But in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, the youth continue to take to the streets to demand justice for Immawan Randi and Muhammad Yusuf Kardawi, two student protesters who were killed in the demonstrations.

Six police officers in the city have been accused of misusing their firearms at the September 26 rally. But despite calls for justice, these six officers only received a slap on the wrist in the form of “disciplinary sanctions.”


Police officers Diki Kurniawan, Muhammad Arifuddin, Muhammad Iqbal, Abdul Malik, Hendrawan, and Fatur Rochim, underwent these sanctions in October.

The consequences they faced were light, as they were not accused of killing the two students per se, but only of violating orders from superiors, who prohibited the use of firearms at the protest.

“Officer Diki Kurniawan and the five other suspects have been given a punishment in the form of a written warning, a postponement of the promotion and pay raise for one year, a postponement of their education for one year, and placement in a special division for 21 days,” Agus Mulyadi, a police spokesperson, told BBC Indonesia.

A number of the six police officers are suspected of being directly responsible for the two student deaths. Police confirmed that three of the accused fired shots into the air during the protest. But instead of identifying who these are, police are dismissing their actions as misdemeanours and refusing to point fingers.

Randi, a Fishery Affairs student at Halu Oleo University, was shot on the chest while protesting in front of the city’s Parliament building on September 26.

“The victim was brought in with a 5 centimetre-wide gunshot wound in his right chest, roughly 10 centimetres deep. The wound prevented him from breathing,” Yudi Ashari, the doctor who treated Randi, told local media. It was later revealed that the bullet extracted from his chest was a live one.

Kardawi, a civil engineering major at Halu Oleo University, was shot at the same protest. Based on the appearance of his wounds, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) believes Kardawi was further beaten after being shot in the head. KontraS continues to independently investigate the two student deaths.

The protests sparked by Randi and Kardawi’s deaths show no signs of stopping. On Monday, tensions rose when police fired water cannons at protesters; they retaliated by hurling bags of cow dung at the authorities.