Police Officers, Military give Citizens without Face Masks Punishments

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Citizens of Indonesia found without face masks have been reportedly punished by police officers and military men.

Citizens caught without face masks are usually given punishments such as push-ups, pulling weeds, cleaning river banks, digging graves, and lying in an open coffin.

According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, the nation has the highest Covid-19 death toll in south-east Asia, with more than 10,300 deaths and 271,000 confirmed cases as of Saturday.

Evani Jesselyn, a coffee shop owner in Jakarta, was asked to clean public sewers or pay a fine after she was pulled over for not wearing a mask in her car.

She explained, “I was alone, in the car, wearing my mask. However, suddenly I felt it was a bit hard to breathe, so I pulled my mask a bit to breathe some fresh air.”

After being pulled over, Evani was sent straight to a hearing where she spent an hour in a crowded hall waiting to see the judge.

“I was scared to jump into the crowd, and quite upset as well because I was alone inside the car and healthy and they asked me to go to the crowd with no social distancing,” she added.

She was eventually handed a fine.

Meanwhile, a human rights group has claimed that “degrading” punishments are being given to Indonesians who do not follow coronavirus regulations.

Rivanlee Anandar, who is a staff member of the rights group Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, told VOA Indonesia that police officers and members of the military are being used to oversee the punishments.

He said, “The military should focus on national defense. There [are] no indicators or instruments to measure the effectiveness of involving the military in handling the pandemic.

“Their role in picking up people who have tested positive [for] Covid-19 is too much. In several malls, they even take people’s temperature.”