Indonesia justice: Foreign tourists in Gili island ‘walk of shame’

Western man and woman being paraded by Indonesian police and security guards with a sign around their necks reading "I am thieve [sic] don't do what I did...!!!"Image copyright
Facebook: Gili Trawangan, Meno, Air

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It is not clear whether those paraded admitted any guilt

Last week photos surfaced of two unidentified Western tourists being paraded around an Indonesian island in a “walk of shame” for alleged theft.

The images show a foreign man and woman walking alongside uniformed officers on the island of Gili Trawangan, with cardboard signs around their necks.

The signs read: “I am thieve [sic]. Don’t do what I did…!!!”

The practice of parading those deemed to have committed crimes on the Gili Islands has gone on for many years although its exact origins are unclear.

After pictures of the incident appeared on social media, including an official Facebook page for the tiny islands, a number of questions have been asked about this unusual ritual.

What is the ‘walk of shame’?

The head of West Nusa Tenggara province tourism office, Lalu Muhamad Fauzal, told the BBC that the practice of parading those considered to have committed crimes on the islands came out of an agreement between locals and police on the mainland.

Most such walks happen on Gili Trawangan, the largest and most developed of the three Gili Islands, off the coast of Lombok, about 40km (25 miles) east of Bali.

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AFP

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The idyllic islands are said to have low crime rates

One circuit of the island is about 7km (4.3 miles).

Why is it done?

The police do not have a permanent presence on the tiny islands of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno or Gili Air. Instead, private security officers generally guard the islands, with support from mainland authorities when necessary.

Most of the uniformed men in pictures of the latest parade appear to be such private guards, although at least one man appears to be wearing a police uniform.

The parades are considered effective, Mr Fauzal said, as very little crime is recorded on the islands. He added that most of those paraded are locals, although some are foreign tourists who were drunk or “forced to steal purses” as they had run out of money.

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Oji Nuria Manggala

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Reports say the pair are Australian

Is it legal?

It is not clear whether there is any formal legal basis for the parades, but as the accused generally avoid more serious sanction, some observers have suggested that embarrassment and a ban from the islands is preferable to a court battle and the possibility of a fine or worse.

Oji Nuria Manggala, who witnessed the parade, told the BBC that the guards accompanying the foreigners said the pair had been caught on security camera stealing a bike, and could not deny it.

However, it has not been possible to identify them to confirm the accusations, nor is it clear if they were given any opportunity to mount any kind of defence.

And their rights?

The island’s seemingly unsophisticated form of justice has shocked some with its deliberate lack of concern for the privacy of the accused or seemingly much in the way of clear legal process.

While locals the BBC spoke to did not share any doubts about the parade, others have suggested that even the innocent might be tempted to opt for public humiliation rather than face formal charges under the Indonesian justice system, which is sometimes criticised for corruption and a lack of transparency.

Indonesia justice: Foreign tourists in Gili island ‘walk of shame’}

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