On January 29, 2013, the Executive Director of WALHI South Sumatra was arrested and beaten by the South Sumatra Regional Police. Anwar Sadat linked was assisting the peasants of the Betung village (District of Lubuk Keliat, Ogan Ilir regency) after the arrest and the persecution of some peasants, including mosque vandalism by Police, on January 25, 2013 They also asked investigations on the police officers involved in a shooting at the Cinta Manis sugar plantation in South Sumatra last year, which left one teenager dead and three people injured.

Around 500 people protested in front of the South Sumatra Police headquarters, and more than 20 people were arrested during the demonstration including Anwar Sadar, the head of the South Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi).  Anwar Sadat and the others were beaten to bleeding wounds. Without prior treatment, he instead kept examined the status of the arrest.

The sugar plantation there has been a source of tension since state-owned plantation company PTPN VII forcefully evicted 22 villages in the district to set it up in 1982. Rights activists say PTPN VII used security forces to pressure residents into giving up their farms, while failing to provide adequate compensation for the land.

This was not the first time locals had come into conflict with the authorities over the plantation, which is run by state-owned plantations firm Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN).

During a protest in December 2009, a villager was shot by a member of the police’s Mobile Brigade. The same force involved in the latest incident, in which security forces fired live ammunition into a crowd of rock-throwing protesters near the Cinta Manis sugar factory. A 12-year-old boy was shot in the head and died, while four other people, including two women, had to be hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

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