Indonesian police have apologised for using a snake to terrify a suspected thief after footage appeared online.
The suspect was believed to have stolen mobile phones.
The local police chief said it was unprofessional but defended the practice, saying the snake was tame and non-venomous.
“We have taken stern action against the personnel,” Tonny Ananda Swadaya reportedly said in a statement, adding that the officers had not physically beaten the man.
They had acted on their own initiative to try to draw a confession from the suspect, he said.
Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman tweeted footage of the event, claiming officers had recently put a pro-Papua independence activist in a cell with a snake.
The resource-rich area borders Papua New Guinea and became part of Indonesia in 1969.
- The children starving in a land of gold
- Indonesia country profile
In December Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe called on the army to leave the state amid a crackdown on rebels fighting for independence.
Troops sought members of the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement, who killed a number of construction workers earlier in the month.
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