Jon Afrizal, The Jakarta Post, Jambi | Tue, March 03 2015 – Environmental group Greenpeace has suspended cooperation with giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) as police are trying to prevent further violence after a farmer was allegedly beaten to death in Jambi by guards linked to the company.
Bustar Maitar, the head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaign, told Agence France-Presse on Monday that the group was temporarily withdrawing support for the company’s initiatives on forest conservation.
Maitar said support for APP would be suspended until the case was “settled in a transparent and fair manner”.
“They have declared themselves to be a responsible company. If APP doesn’t take this seriously, it will cost them their reputation,” he said.
The green lobby group had once been one of the strongest critics of APP, accusing it of destroying vast swathes of carbon-rich forests that were home to endangered species such as Sumatran orangutans and tigers.
Police said the farmer, Indra Pelani, was allegedly killed on Friday afternoon near an acacia plantation by the company’s Kembar 803 post in Tebo regency in Jambi province after being beaten by a rapid response unit (URC) team from a security firm contracted by Wira Karya Sakti (WKS), a pulpwood supplier owned by APP, a member of the Sinarmas Group of companies.
Jambi Police chief Brig. Gen. Bambang Sudarisman said the beating started when Indra and Nick Karim of the Jambi branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) passed the post on a motorcycle and became involved in an argument with the URC team members.
The argument ended with the team members beating Indra while Nick was reportedly told by locals to run away. Indra died in the incident and his body was dumped some 5 kilometers from the company’s District 8 area.
“There were seven of them who did the beating, namely Asmadi, Febrian, Ayatullah, M. Ridho, Zaidian, Depsa and Jimmi,” Bambang said.
He said he had undertaken some measures to prevent people from getting provoked by the incident.
Meanwhile, APP said in a statement that it had ordered WKS Sakti to suspend all personnel allegedly involved in the incident.
“We condemn violence and we support Greenpeace’s decision to focus its efforts on this issue,” it said, adding that efforts would be made “to ensure that justice is done”.
APP’s pledge to stop using logs from Indonesia’s natural forests followed years of campaigning by green groups, which had led to the company losing packaging contracts with big brands such as food maker Kraft and Mattel, manufacturer of the popular Barbie doll.
Bambang has written a letter to the National Police informing deputy chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti of Indra’s death. –