Papuans Behind Bars: July 2013

In brief

At the end of July 2013 there were at least 57 political prisoners in Papuan jails. There were five new arrests this month; however four of those arrested have been released without charge. All five were detained due to their involvement in peaceful demonstrations or gatherings. New information received from local sources and newspaper reports sheds light on the severity of inadequate access to medical treatment faced by political prisoners.

The verdicts for the Yapen Indigenous Day celebrations case and the Abepura ammunitions case have been delivered, while the trials of Matan Klembiap, in the case of the Depapre arrests, and the Sarmi arrests continue. The trial of the Aimas  1 May case is set to begin in August. Recently received information has clarified the case of Atis Rambo Wenda who was mistakenly reported as Athys Wenda in our June Update.

Arrests

Four human rights activists detained in Waena and Abepura in police attempts to disperse demonstrations

On 29 July 2013, four human rights activists – Usama Usman Yogobi, Alius Asso, John Selegani and Benny Hisage – were arrested when Jayapura police dispersed a peaceful national demonstration organised by the Papuan Civil Society Organisation for Solidarity, Law and Human Rights (Solidaritas Hukum HAM dan Demokrasi Rakyat Papua, SHDRP). Online Papuan news site Tabloid Jubi reported that the demonstrations were in support of a number of international developments. They included the review by the UN Human Rights Committee of Indonesia’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), humanitarian aid from Australia, visits from foreign ministers of member states of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to Papua and Indonesia and a visit from the US Ambassador to Papua. Local newspaper Bintang Papua reports that police had used excessive force on protestors in Waena and Abepura in attempts to forcefully disperse the crowds.

An article written by Selphius Bobii and published on Majalah Selangkah reports that Yogobi, the head of SHDRP had submitted a notice to the Papuan Provincial police that the demonstration would be carried out on 29 July 2013. Upon not receiving a letter of acknowledgement of notice (Surat Tanda Terima Pemberitahuan, STTP), Yogobi headed to the Papuan Provincial police office where he was informed by Yas Maudul, a Papuan provincial intelligence officer that even though he had not received the letter, the demonstration could proceed peacefully. With this assurance, Yogobi decided to go ahead with the demonstration.

Papuan news site Tabloid Jubi reported that at around 09.45 Papuan time, Cenderawasih University students John Selegani and Benny Hisage were forcibly arrested in Waena as they were taking part in a long march heading towards Abepura to join the demonstration led by Yogobi and Alius Asso. Bobii reported that another student, Marthen Mote, was present during the arrests of Selegani and Hisage while they were taking turns to give speeches near the University. The report stated that before the arrests the three students were allegedly severely beaten and intimidated by armed police.  Selegani and Hisage were then taken to Abepura Regional police station for interrogation, allegedly because they had no permission from the police to demonstrate. In detention, police confiscated their handphones, ID cards, books, documents with account numbers, leaflets, letter of notification of the demonstration and a small gospel book for investigation. They were released several hours later at around 15.35 Papuan time and their items returned to them.

In Kamp Kei, Abepura, a long march of around 500 people led by Yogobi and Asso was harassed and eventually dispersed by hundreds of armed police. The demonstrators were stopped outside the office of the Legal Aid Institute (Lembaga Bantuan Hukum, LBH) where Yogobi attempted to negotiate with the police, reiterating the assurance the intelligence officer at the Papuan Provinical police station had given him. He was then forcibly arrested by armed police and put in a police truck, which then led to the demonstrators attempting to negotiate with police to release Yogobi. One of the leaders of the demonstration, Alius Asso, was then also forcibly arrested. This led to dozens of demonstrators attempting to enter the police vans in a move to join Yogobi and Asso under arrest. Police responded by making a deal with the demonstrators in promising to release the two men at the end of the interrogation.

The two men were then brought to Jayapura Regional Police Station for interrogation. 30 demonstrators waited outside the station to ensure that police upheld the deal. Yogobi and Asso were interrogated about the management of SHDRP, the leadership responsible for actions and demonstrations, the purpose of the demonstration and their backgrounds. The two activists were released around 17.25 Papuan time.

SHDRP has recently been the target of harassment and intimidation by Indonesian authorities on other occasions. On 25 July 2013, military personnel raided the SHDRP Secretariat when the office was unoccupied. Abner Asso, a human rights worker with SHDRP stated in Majalah Selangkah that when queried about the search, military officers claimed that the organisation was a threat to the security of Jayapura city. Asso also reported that four other SHDRP secretariat offices had also been raided by military officers.

Human rights activist detained in relation to Biak massacre memorial

On 5 July 2013, Biak police issued a ban against a memorial planned by the Biak Massacre Survivor Community (Komunitas Korban Peristiwa Biak Berdarah) in remembrance of the massacre on the island of Biak on 6 July 1998 in which dozens of unarmed protesters were killed by the security forces. Despite the ban, local activists reported that members of the survivor community went ahead with the memorial, gathering at the Tower where the massacre took place 15 years ago. The memorial took place from 09.00 to 13.00 Papuan time and was attended by members of the survivor community, the Biak Indigenous Representative Council, church groups, NGOs and the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) Biak. Local newspapers reported that Marthinus Morin, the coordinator of the memorial, was detained by the police for interrogation. It is unclear if he remains in detention.

Releases

There were no reported releases of political prisoners in July 2013.

Political trials and cases overview

Verdict delivered for Yapen Indigenous Day Celebrations case

On 17 July 2013, Edison Kendi and Yan Piet Maniamboi were released from custody reportedly due to their having spent the maximum amount of time allowed in detention. Information received by another local human rights source reported that on 24 July 2013, Public Prosecutor Matius Matulesi and three plainclothes police officers arrived at the home of Edison Kendi allegedly forcing Kendi and Maniamboi to attend a court hearing delivering their verdict. The source reports that when Kendi refused because their lawyer was not present, the armed police officers forced the two men into vehicles parked outside Kendi’s house under instruction from Matulesi. Kendi was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence while Maniamboi was sentenced to an 18-month prison sentence.

Defense lawyer Elieser Murafer stated in local newspaper Bintang Papua that the actions of the Public Prosecutor and the judges deviated from regulations in the Criminal Procedure Code, violating the rights of the two men.  He stated that both the Prosecutor and Judges had not followed court regulations due to the Prosecutor submitting his arguments in the absence of the two defendants in court and the defence then not being given the opportunity to reply to the Prosecutor’s arguments.

Prosecutor demands eight months imprisonment for Matan Klembiap

Information received via email from a human rights activist has reported that the Public Prosecutor has demanded an eight months prison sentence for Matan Klembiap, one of the two men arrested on 15 February 2013 in connection with the search for pro-independence activists Terianus Satto and Sebby Sambom. Klembiap, who is facing charges under Article 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code and Article 2 of the Emergency Law 12/1951, has been subjected to extensive torture. Local human rights activists have voiced about Klembiap’s physical and mental health being at risk after he endured severe torture during his detention at Jayapura Regional police station from 15 to 18 February 2013.

Sarmi arrests trial continues

The trial of Alex Makabori (alias Isak Demetouw), Daniel Norotouw, Niko Sasomar and Sileman Teno has been postponed to 13 August 2013, after witnesses failed to appear at a hearing on 23 July 2013. A local human rights source has informed us that despite the absence of the witness, the Prosecutor read their testimony in court as recorded in the police Investigation Report. According to the same source, even though this was against court regulations, it is reportedly common in trials involving charges of treason.

Verdict delivered in Abepura ammunition case

A report sent to us via e-mail by a local human rights activist has revealed new details regarding the Abepura ammunition case. On 31 July 2013, Denny Immanuel Hisage, Anike Kogoya (female), Jhon Pekey, Rendy Wetapo, Jimmy Wea and Oliken Giay were sentenced to ten months imprisonment after being charged under the Emergency Law 12/1951 and Article 55 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.

The report stated that on 29 October 2012 Hisage, Pekey, Kogoya and Wea stayed the night at Wea’s home in Abepura. At around 21.00 Papuan time, a joint security task force consisting of Papuan provincial police, Jayapura regional police and Detachment 88 forces entered the house, warning the four that they would be shot if they did not comply with their orders. The security forces confiscated several handphones, three external hard drives and two laptops, reportedly without a notice of seizure.

At around 07.30 Papuan time on 30 October 2012, Rendy Wetapo was arrested by officers from the Papuan provincial police and Detachment 88. He was reportedly arrested in a brutal manner and was similarly threatened if he did not comply with the authorities. Wetapo was then brought to the Papuan provincial police station, where Hisage and the three others were detained. In detention, Wetapo reportedly found out that they faced charges of possession of ammunition. Giay was arrested on the same day and taken to the Papuan provincial police station, reportedly after security forces forced Wetapo into calling him and revealing his location. All six were arrested without an arrest warrant.

According to the report, Hisage claimed that during the investigation, ammunition in the form of nine 7.62 mm calibre bullets, 199 5.66mm calibre bullets and 20 5.5mm calibre bullets were planted and used as evidence to prosecute them, alongside the electronic items earlier seized by police.

Aimas 1 May trial to begin in August

On 31 July 2013, the case of Isak Klaibin, Klemens Kodimko, Obeth Kamesrar, Antonius Safuf, Obaja Kamesrar, Yordan Magablo and Hengky Mangamis in the Aimas 1 May case was transferred to the Sorong District Court. They are facing charges of treason under Article 106, 108 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. According to sources from the Institute of Research, Analysis and Development for Legal Aid (LP3BH), Isak Klaibin is also facing an additional subsidiary charge under Article 1 paragraph 1 of Emergency Law 12/1951. The trial is set to begin on 19 August 2013.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) visited Aimas in Sorong district as part of  its investigations into the shootings on 30 April 2013 which led to the deaths of three civilians. Information received from LP3BH states that the investigations remain inconclusive.

Correction: Atis Rambo Wenda and Athys Wenda

New information from various local sources has revealed that the individual reported as arrested on 4 April 2013 in Waena in our previous Update was Atis Rambo Wenda.  He is not the same person as KNPB Lanny Jaya activist Athys Wenda, who was arrested on 1 December 2012 in Wamena for his alleged involvement in the Wamena explosives case.

A local human rights source confirmed the death of Athys Wenda on 1 June 2013. On 1 December 2012, Athys Wenda was arrested but on 17 April 2013 was reportedly released from detention in Jayawijaya Regional police station due to a lack of evidence against him. On 1 June 2013, Athys Wenda died under mysterious circumstances. Information received by the same source claims that there is overwhelming evidence that Athys Wenda was poisoned. Local activists have previously reported deaths of civilians from consuming toxic alcohol containing Formalin, a lethal chemical.

Information received from another local source confirmed the ongoing detention of Atis Rambo Wenda, a KNPB activist, in Abepura prison. On 17 July 2013, the Prosecutor called for a sentence of one year imprisonment for Atis Rambo Wenda under charges of violent crime under Article 170 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. Atis Rambo Wenda has allegedly been targeted due to his frequent activity with the KNPB in organising peaceful demonstrations from 2010 to 2012. The same source has also reported that Wenda is declining medical treatment in Abepura prison as he is fearful of potential abuse that he may suffer at the hands of the authorities, similar to the brutal treatment he previously endured in detention in Waena. Another detainee in Abepura prison, Andinus Karoba, is reportedly rejecting treatment due to similar fears.

Cases of concern

Three Timika 1 May detainees suffer from deteriorating health conditions

Local online news site Majalah Selangkah has reported the waning health of three of five men currently detained for their involvement in a flag-raising ceremony on 1 May 2013 in Timika commemorating the 50th anniversary for the administrative transfer of West Papua to Indonesia. On 1 August 2013, local church leader Reverend Izak Onawame reported to the families of Musa Elas, Yacob Onawame and Alfisu Wamang of their deteriorating health. Elas is reported to be suffering from breathing difficulties and chest pains. Onawame is experiencing bleeding and acute pain in the chest area while Wamang is experiencing bleeding from the mouth and anus. Their families are requesting police officials to give the three men access to adequate medical treatment at a hospital.

The three men, alongside Domi Mom and Eminus Waker are currently still detained at Mimika Regional police station, and face charges of treason. It is unclear if the five men currently have legal representation.

Jefrai Murib in need of immediate medical treatment

According to an article in Tabloid Jubi, Baguma, a human rights activist with BUK (Bersatu Untuk Kebenaran – United for Truth) has asked the government and the Department of Law and Human Rights in Papua to turn their attention to political prisoners’ inadequate access to medical facilities in Abepura prison. Baguma has reported on the deteriorating health of Jefrai Murib, who has been in detention since 12 April 2003 and is serving a life sentence in Abepura prison.

Murib suffered from a stroke which requires regular electronic treatment at Dian Harapan hospital. Information from the BUK activist stated that the scheduled hospital appointments are sometimes not met, allegedly due to a lack of transportation at Abepura prison. A doctor at Dian Harapan hospital has advised  regular therapy there, but Abepura prison authorities have reportedly transferred Murib’s treatment to the Jayapura General Hospital, citing high costs of treatment at Dian Harapan. The right side of Murib’s body has reportedly shut down, making it difficult for him to move his right arm or walk. Baguma has called on the authorities to pay greater attention to the health conditions of the political prisoners and to improve the facilities in Abepura prison.

News

International community expresses concern over lack of freedom of expression in Papua

On 10 and 11 July 2013, the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva reviewed Indonesia’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), highlighting the   serious concerns about freedom of expression in Papua. Bambang Darmono, chief of the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) responded to the Committee’s concerns by stating that “freedom of expression is not absolute”. The Committee had highlighted the plight of political prisoners in Papuan jails, prompting the response from Indonesian government officials that Filep Karma, Kimanus Wenda and other prisoners are lawfully imprisoned due to their separatist aims, and that the limitation of freedom of expression is necessary to maintain state sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Indonesia.

However, international concerns are growing over the situation of freedom of expression in Papua. On 26 July 2013, in a House of Lords debate on the question of West Papua, the UK’s Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baronness Warsi stated that freedom of expression in Papua is too often stifled and that the British government hoped a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression would soon take place. Lord Harries of Pentregarth, who initiated the debate, spoke on the arbitrary arrests of peaceful protestors and the particular targeting of KNPB leaders. Referring to the point made by Darmono at the UN in Geneva, Lord Collins of Highbury stated that as a signatory to the ICCPR, all provisions have to be fully implemented. In a visit to the Papua NGOs Cooperation Forum (Foker LSM Papua) Secretariat, the second Secretary to the US Ambassador to Indonesia, James Feldmayer expressed his concerns about the need for greater freedom for the international press  to bring accurate and balanced reporting of events  in Papua.

On 3 July, Jayapura police stopped the distribution and confiscated copies of the first edition of “Papua Pelita,” a magazine that had the Morning Star symbol on its front cover. Dian Kandipi, the Secretary of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, AJI) stated that this police action violates freedom of expression as guaranteed in Law No. 40/1999 on the Press and Journalistic Code of Ethics.

Big prison, little prison

A contributor to Papuans Behind Bars has published an article in the quarterly online magazine Inside Indonesia, telling the stories of Papuan prisoners. The article analyses the targeting of peaceful political activists and ordinary people, many based on contentious charges. One such story is of farmers Meki Elosak, Wiki Meaga, Oskar Hilago and Obed Kosay, who were arrested in November 2010 on their way to a funeral of a relative for carrying the Morning Star flag. The article highlights the constant harassment and surveillance faced by ex-political prisoners who are often at risk of arbitrary arrest and re-imprisonment.

July 2013 Papuan political prisoners

  Prisoner Arrested Charges Sentence Case Accused of violence? Concerns reported re legal process? Prison
1 Victor Yeimo 13 May 2013 160 3 years 2009 demo; Jayapura demo demanding accountability in relation to 1 May commemoration No Yes Abepura
2 Astro Kaaba 3 May 2013 Treason Unknown Yapen police death Yes Pending Serui police station
3 Hans Arrongear Unknown Treason Unknown Yapen police death Yes Pending Serui police station
4 Unknown 1 May 2013 Unknown Unknown Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Biak police custody
5 Oktofianus Warnares 1 May 2013 Unknown Unknown Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Biak police custody
6 Yosepus Arwakon 1 May 2013 Unknown Unknown Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Biak police custody
7 George Syors Simyapen 1 May 2013 Unknown Unknown Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Biak police custody
8 Yona Rumawak 1 May 2013 Unknown Unknown Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Biak police custody
9 John Sauyas 1 May 2013 Unknown Unknown Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Biak police custody
10 Domi Mom 1 May 2013 Treason Unknown Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Mimika police station
11 Alfisu Wamang 1 May 2013 Treason Unknown Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Mimika police station
12 Musa Elas 1 May 2013 Treason Unknown Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Mimika police station
13 Eminus Waker 1 May 2013 Treason Unknown Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Mimika police station
14 Yacob Onawame 1 May 2013 Treason Unknown Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Pending Mimika police station
15 Hengky Mangamis 30 April 2013 106, 108 and 110 Trial ongoing Aimas shootings, 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong police station
16 Yordan Magablo 30 April

2013

106, 108 and 110 Trial ongoing Aimas shootings, 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong police station
17 Obaja Kamesrar 30 April

2013

106, 108 and 110 Trial ongoing Aimas shootings, 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong police station
18 Antonius Safuf 30 April

2013

106, 108 and 110 Trial ongoing Aimas shootings, 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong police station
19 Obeth Kamesrar 30 April

2013

106, 108 and 110 Trial ongoing Aimas shootings, 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong police station
20 Klemens Kodimko 30 April

2013

106, 108 and 110 Trial ongoing Aimas shootings, 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong police station
21 Isak Klaibin 30 April

2013

106, 108 and 110 Trial ongoing Aimas shootings, 1 May commemoration; accused of being TPN/OPM No Yes Sorong police station
22 Yahya Bonay 27 April 2013 Unknown Unknown Yapen police

death

Yes Pending Serui police custody
23 Athys Wenda 4 April 2013 170 Awaiting trial Accused of violent crime Yes Yes Abepura
24 Yogor Telenggen 10 March 2013 340, 338, 170, 251, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial not yet started Puncak Jaya shootings 2012 Yes Yes Papua Provincial police station
25 Isak Demetouw(alias Alex Makabori) 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Accused of being TPN/OPM No Pending Sarmi
26 Daniel Norotouw 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Accused of being TPN/OPM No Pending Sarmi
27 Niko Sasomar 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Accused of being TPN/OPM No Pending Sarmi
28 Sileman Teno 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Accused of being TPN/OPM No Pending Sarmi
29 Boas Gombo 28 February 2013 Unknown Trial ongoing Indonesian flag at PNG border No Pending Abepura
30 Matan Klembiap 15 February 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Terianus Satto and Sebby Sambom affiliation No Yes Police detention, Jayapura
31 Daniel Gobay 15 February 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Terianus Satto and Sebby Sambom affiliation No Yes Police detention, Jayapura
32 Andinus Karoba 10 October 2012 365(2), law 81/81 1 year 10 months Demmak activist accused of theft Yes Yes Abepura
33 Yan Piet Maniamboy 9 August 2012 106 18 months Indigenous people’s day celebrations, Yapen No Yes Serui
34 Edison Kendi 9 August 2012 106 2 years Indigenous people’s day celebrations, Yapen No Yes Serui
35 Jufri Wandikbo 7 June 2012 340, 56, Law 81/81 8 years Murder of Wamena taxi driver Yes Yes Abepura
36 Timur Wakerkwa 1 May 2012 106 2.5 years 1 May demo and flag-raising No No Abepura
37 Darius Kogoya 1 May 2012 106 3 years 1 May demo and flag-raising No No Abepura
38 Bastian Mansoben 21 October 2012 Emergency Law 12/1951 3 years Biak explosives case Possession of explosives No Biak
39 Forkorus Yaboisembut 19 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura
40 Edison Waromi 19 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura
41 Dominikus Surabut 19 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura
42 August Kraar 19 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura
43 Selphius Bobii 20 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura
44 Wiki Meaga 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
45 Oskar Hilago 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
46 Meki Elosak 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
47 Obed Kosay 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
48 Yusanur Wenda 30 April 2004 106 17 years Wunin arrests Yes No Wamena
49 Dipenus Wenda 28 March 2004 106 14 years Bokondini election boycott Unclear No Wamena
50 George Ariks 13 March 2009 106 5 years Unknown Unknown No Manokwari
51 Filep Karma 1 December 2004 106 15 years Abepura flag-raising 2004 No Yes Abepura
52 Ferdinand Pakage 16 March 2006 214 15 years Abepura case 2006 Yes Yes Abepura
53 Jefrai Murib 12 April 2003 106 Life Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Abepura
54 Linus Hiel Hiluka 27 May 2003 106 20 years Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Nabire
55 Kimanus Wenda 12 April 2003 106 20 years Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Nabire
56 Numbungga Telenggen 11 April 2003 106 Life Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Biak
57 Apotnalogolik Lokobal 10 April 2003 106 20 years Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Biak

Papuans Behind Bars aims to provide accurate and transparent data, published in English and Indonesian, to facilitate direct support for prisoners and promote wider debate and campaigning in support of free expression in West Papua.

Papuans Behind Bars is a collective project initiated by Papuan civil society groups working together as the Civil Society Coalition to Uphold Law and Human Rights in Papua. It is a grassroots initiative and represents a broad collaboration between lawyers, human rights groups, adat groups, activists, journalists and individuals in West Papua, as well as Jakarta-based NGOs and international solidarity groups.

Questions, comments and corrections are welcomed, and you can write to us at info@papuansbehindbars.org

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