Anti-Freeport demonstration, Abepura 2006

16/03/2006

Clashes broke out in front of Cenderawasih University at a demonstration demanding the closure of the Freeport mine. As police tried to storm a blockade they lost control of the situation, and four policemen and one air force officer were killed by the crowd. In retaliation, security forces swept through Abepura, arresting 73 people. In all, 24 people were later brought to trial in a highly tense and intimidating atmosphere, with a heavy police presence in courtrooms and threats made to lawyers. All the defendants had reportedly been tortured and threatened, and confessions made during torture were used as evidence, severely compromising the trials. Two men were sentenced to 15 years in prison, and the rest to between 5 and 6 years. A climate of fear was created around the Cenderawasih University campus, with many students fleeing the city.

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