Ni Komang Erviani, Contributor, Denpasar | Sun, 06/26/2011 8:00 AM
Hundreds of inmates at Kerobokan prison went on a violent rampage at dawn Saturday following a botched attempt by National Anti-narcotics Body (BNN) officers to transport a convicted drug dealer.
Inmate A Riadi was a former member of the elite police counterterrorism squad Densus 88 and is currently serving a five-year prison sentence.
The angry inmates attacked the officers and punched and kicked the prison warden and his security chief before vandalizing prison facilities. No fatalities were reported and as of Saturday afternoon the situation inside Bali’s largest rehabilitation facility gradually returned to normal following the arrival of a large contingent of fully armed police officers.
Kerobokan warden Siswanto stated that at around 2 a.m, a BNN team led by Brig. Gen. Benny Mamoto entered the prison to pick up Riadi. The BNN believes Riadi was still an active drug dealer and had links with a recent drug case in Jakarta. Riadi has been incarcerated in Kerobokan since 2010. The BNN officers were accompanied by Jakarta-based television reporters.
“We escorted the team to block Cempaka 2, where Riadi is held,” Siswanto said. Upon their arrival at the block, the BNN officers tried to handcuff Riadi, who resisted, and on hearing the commotion other inmates stormed out of their cells to help Riadi.
Kerobokan was designed to hold 300 inmates, but currently houses more than 1,000 felons and suspects.
“I asked the BNN officers to immediately vacate the cell block, leaving my security chief, a BNN public relations officer and myself behind,” Siswanto said, adding that he made the decision in order to prevent violent clashes between the inmates and the outnumbered BNN team.
Prison warden Siswanto was kicked in the head by several inmates and suffered bruises to his arms and contusions to his head, while the BNN officer was taken to hospital. The inmates then attacked the prison’s administrative section, ransacking the building and hurling stones at the windows.
“The inmates caused extensive physical damage to the cafeteria, meeting hall and administrative office,” Siswanto said. The riot was quelled following the arrival of armed police officers. “We deployed additional forces, including antiriot forces, to assist prison authorities cope with the problem,” Badung Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dwi Suseno said.
The head of the Bali office of the Law and Human Rights Ministry, Taswem Tarib, criticized the BNN’s methods. “The BNN team breached standard operating procedures by conducting an operation inside a prison without first notifying and coordinating with the ministry’s directorate general of correctional facilities,” he said. “The BNN team forced its way in, pressuring the warden and prohibiting him from notifying us about the pick up.” Tarib disclosed said the BNN team turned down the warden’s suggestion to summon Riadi to his office instead of sending officers to his block to arrest him. “The BNN officers also brought along scores of journalists from Jakarta. The whole operation was carried out when the inmates were asleep,” he said, adding that a formal report on the BNN team’s behavior had been sent to the Law and Human Rights Ministry.
Following the riot, Kerobokan prison was placed on lockdown until Monday.