Papuan suspect killed during police detention in Sorong – Police Chief blames detainee

A homicide suspect, 21-year-old Georg Karel Rumbino, died during police detention at the Sorong Municipality Police Headquarters (Mapolres Sorong) in the province of Papua Barat. On 27 August 2020, relatives brought Georg Rumbino to the police in connection with the murder of an elderly woman in their neighbourhood. The family members had found a mobile phone in Georg’s room, and they believed it belonged to the victim. According to the police investigator, Misbhacul Munir, Georg Rumbino claimed to be innocent during the interrogation. Eight hours later, while he was still in custody, the family received the information that Georg Rumbino had passed away. The Chief of the Sorong Municipality Police (Kapolres), Ary Nyoto, claimed in a media statement that Georg Rumbino was attacked by another detainee inside the detention cell and died shortly afterwards. The case has drawn attention in the national and social media because Georg Rumbino was related to the Papuan singer, actor and politician, Edo Kondologit.

According to media information, the relatives accompanied Georg Rumbino to the police station around 11.00 pm, where the police officers interrogated him. Edo Kondologit and other relatives believe that police officers tortured Georg Rumbino during the interrogation at the police station because he did not make a confession. Kondologit claimed that Rumbino was handcuffed during detention. They also noticed wounds in both of the victim’s legs which appeared to be bullet injuries. Georg Rumbino’s relatives urged the police to conduct an autopsy of the body and demanded an independent and effective investigation into the killing.   

Police representatives claimed that they had acted in accordance with the criminal procedure code. Kapolres Ary Nyoto explained that his men shot Georg Rimbino in the leg as he attacked a police officer because he resisted the arrest. Thereupon, officers took him to the Sele Be Solu Hospital, said Nyoto. After receiving medical treatment, the officers detained Georg Rumbino in a cell at the police station. Nyoto said that the surveillance camera recording revealed that another detainee beat Georg Rumbino in the face and chest. When the officer came to check the detention cell, Rumbino was already dead.

A video showing Edo Kondologit demanding justice for the loss of his brother-in-law went viral on social media (see intro image). “I am already so disappointed with the treatment in this country. We are demanding justice. We, the family, will sue the Papuan Regional Police and the Municipality Police”, Kondologit shouts loudly and full of emotion into the camera.