Asia-Pacific

Indonesia investigates police 'torture footage'

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Indonesian police are investigating whether or not a video allegedly showing Indonesian soldiers torturing indigenous Papuans is authentic.

A Hong Kong-based human rights group has uploaded the graphic video on its website, and it was filmed recently.

Papua is one of the least developed and most remote provinces in Indonesia, despite its rich natural resources.

A small group of rebels has waged a war for independence from Indonesia for the last few decades.

The grainy and badly shot footage shows men dressed in what appear to be military uniforms, kicking and abusing indigenous Papuan villagers.

The men are seen interrogating the villagers, and accusing them of having links to rebel groups and separatists.

The graphic video was uploaded on the website of the Asian Human Rights Commission.

The second part of the video shows a Papuan man tied up on the ground, being tortured by a group of unidentifiable men.

A man holds a knife to the victim's neck as he is repeatedly kicked and questioned.

The video momentarily shows his genitals being scorched with a burning stick.

But the rest of the footage is edited out because, according to a statement on the website, the images are too disturbing.

Indonesia's national police spokesman has said the Papuan police are now investigating the case and their first priority is to find out whether the video is authentic.

Marwoto Soeto says that if the video has been made by people who are trying to taint the image of Indonesia, then the police investigation will focus on them.

There is a significant military presence in Papua, which the government says is necessary to maintain security in the province because of the existence of separatist groups.

Human rights groups have long accused the military of grave abuses in the area - claims the military has consistently rejected.

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