Papuans Behind Bars: December 2013

In brief

At the end of December 2013, there were at least 70 political prisoners in Papuan jails. After a period of sustained demonstrations and 112 political arrests in November, this month saw fewer demonstrations and no political arrests.

As reported in our November update, on 1 December 2013, two Papua New Guinea nationals and one West Papuan were arrested in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, during a ceremony raising the Papuan Morning Star flag, held to commemorate the date which West Papuans consider to be their national day. The three men have been released on bail. The arrests show the curbing of free expression extending beyond Indonesia’s borders, and a PNG civil society group has criticised Indonesia’s alleged interference.

While the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared in November 2011 that detaining people for raising the Morning Star flag is a violation of international law, there has been an increase in the number of detentions relating to the Morning Star flag in 2013.

Six detainees in the Aimas 1 May case were sentenced to 1.5 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit treason under Articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. Isak Klaibin, who the court considered to be the leader of the gathering on 30 April, was sentenced to 3.5 years’ imprisonment under the same charges and an additional charge under the Emergency Law 12/1951. Yan Christian Warinussey, the Executive Director of LP3BH (Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid in Manokwari, Lembaga Penelitian, Pengkajian dan Pengembangan Bantuan Hukum), stated that the sentencing reflected poorly on the situation of human rights in Papua, particularly with regards to freedom of expression.

Despite attempts by the Provost and vice-Provost of Cenderawasih University (Universitas Cenderawasih, UNCEN) in November 2013 to suppress political activity on campus, students continued to protest against the detention of student leader Yason Ngelia, holding a further demonstration on 12 December.

West Papua attracted further international attention, with the completion of the ‘Pedalling for Papua’ campaign at Abepura prison, Jayapura, where human rights activist Jeremy Bally delivered global messages of support to the prisoners. There were concerns over distorted media coverage of his visit and Indonesian news outlets were criticised as misrepresentative.

Arrests

Aside from the arrest of three people in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 1 December 2013 (see Political Trials and Cases Overview below) as reported in our November Update, there were no other reported political arrests in December 2013. The Port Moresby arrests were not recorded as political arrests in the Papuans Behind Bars data as there is no evidence that they were carried out by or under the orders of Indonesian authorities.

Releases

Atis Rambo Wenda released

According to local human rights sources, Atis Rambo Wenda was released on parole from Abepura prison on 1 December 2013. Wenda was charged with Article 170 for violent crime and sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment on 20 July 2013. He suffered brutal torture while in detention and was denied a fair trial, access to lawyers and adequate medical care. He is required to report to the police for a month following his release.

Political trials and cases overview

Three arrested during Port Moresby rally granted bail

As reported in our November Update, on 1 December, three people were arrested by police in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, during a ceremony where the Morning Star flag was raised. The ceremony marked the date which West Papuans consider to be their national day, as well as the start of the Sorong to Samarai campaign, which aims to gather signatories from across Papua New Guinea in support of West Papua’s membership application to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

Online news site Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) reported that the three men were released on bail a few days after their arrest and were charged with organising an unlawful public assembly. They were granted bail on the condition that they refrained from political activities, avoided interference with state witnesses and cooperate with the court regularly until the start of their trial in March 2014. The same article stated that PNG police have warned the public to inform authorities of any intention to hold public gatherings. Kenn Mondiai, the Director of Partners with Melanesia (PWM), a Papua New Guinean NGO, has expressed his concerns over alleged Indonesian interference in freedom of expression and assembly in Papua New Guinea.

Seven in Aimas 1 May case sentenced to prison

On 3 December, the seven men detained in the Aimas 1 May case received prison sentences for charges of conspiracy to commit treason under Articles 106 and 110. Obaja Kamesrar, Jordan Magablo, Klemens Kodimko, Antonius Saruf, Obeth Kamesrar dan Hengky Mangamis each received sentences of 1.5 years’ imprisonment while Isak Klaibin, who faced an additional charge of possession of weapons under Emergency Law 12/1951, received a sentence of 3.5 years’ imprisonment.

According to an article by ALDP (Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua, Alliance for Democracy for Papua), the judges had considered Klaibin as being the leader of the gathering on 30 April 2013, which aimed to mark the 40th anniversary of the administrative transfer of Papua to Indonesia on 1 May 1963. Three people were killed when security forces opened fire into the crowd which had gathered outside Isak Klaibin’s house for a prayer session. Judges reportedly stated that Klaibin’s actions coordinating political activities were considered disruptive to public order and security. In his criticism of the sentencing, Yan Christian Warinussey, the Executive Director is LP3BH, stated that none of the witness testimonies received during the trial had proved that the seven men were guilty of treason.

Trial of student leader to start in January

Information from local human rights workers reported that the trial for Yason Ngelia, an UNCEN student who was active in leading demonstrations, may start in January. Arrested at protests against the new Special Autonomy Plus bill in November 2013, Ngelia has reportedly been charged with assault under Article 351 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. Previous reports indicate that, subsequent to his arrest at the demo, he was charged on the basis of accusations of assault against another UNCEN student. Under instructions of the police, he has suffered beatings from other detainees during detention in Jayapura Regional police station, and has had his head forcibly shaved. On 11 December, students from the Papuan Student Youth Society Movement (Gerakan Mahasiswa Pemuda dan Masyarakat, GEMPAR) gathered outside the UNCEN campus in Waena calling for Ngelia’s immediate and unconditional release.

Demonstrators caught in clashes on 26 November to receive legal aid

Human rights lawyers reported that the 12 demonstrators detained on 26 November 2013 for their involvement in a demonstration in support of the Sorong to Samarai campaign are receiving legal accompaniment from the Legal Aid Post (Pos Bantuan Hukum, Posbakum). The 12 men – Pendius Tabuni, Muli Hisage, Karmil Murib, Tomius Mul, Nikson Mul, Nius Lepi, Tinus Meage, Mathius Habel, Agus Togoti, Natan Kogoya, Nikolai Waisal and Penius Tabuni – are facing charges under Articles 170 and 135 of the Indonesian Criminal Code and Emergency Law 12/1951 for possession of homemade weapons and ammunition. A total of 28 people were arrested and nine injured during clashes between security forces and demonstrators.

News

Verdict delivered for Biak Massacre citizens’ tribunal in Sydney

On 16 December, the verdict for the findings of a citizens’ tribunal on the Biak Massacre, held at the University of Sydney, were announced. The tribunal began in July 2013 to mark the 15th anniversary of ‘Bloody Biak,’ which occured on 2 July 1998. The tribunal heard witness testimony detailing allegations of mass murder, rape and torture. Filep Karma, who was first convicted for treason after leading the gathering in Biak from 2 to 6 July 1998, provided testimony via video from his cell in Abepura prison, where he is currently serving a second prison sentence for treason. The tribunal has recommended that the Indonesian Government to be called upon to hold an independent judicial inquiry into the crimes against humanity which occurred.

Campaigning through art

On 1 December, a flag-raising event was held in Melbourne to commemorate the date which West Papuans consider to be their national day and the Australian leg of the ‘Pedalling for Papua’ campaign. To mark the occasion, Australian human rights advocate and artist Peter Woods painted a series of portrait paintings of Papuan political prisoners. Half of the proceeds from sales of the paintings will go towards supporting political prisoners in Papua.

‘Pedalling for Papua’ activist meets political prisoners in Abepura

Human rights activist Jeremy Bally brought the Canadian campaign ‘Pedalling for Papua’ to an end in December 2013 with a visit to Abepura prison, Jayapura. Bally met with political prisoners in Abepura prison, passing them messages of support in the form of postcards and a video put together during his six-month cycle tour that spanned 12,000 kilometres across seven countries. The campaign told the stories of the Papuan diaspora and highlighted the plight of Papuan prisoners internationally.

His visit was warmly received by the political prisoners, who expressed their thanks and appreciation to the activist. Filep Karma, currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for treason, stated that Bally’s efforts helped to bring attention to the Papuan cause. The coverage of his visit by two Indonesian newspapers, the Jakarta Post and the Jakarta Globe, was criticised by Bally as misrepresentative. Bally claims that the papers falsely attributed comments to him stating that the situation in Abepura prison was not as bad as he had expected. Whereas in reality Bally was challenging the basis for the detention of these people, as well as the beatings, torture, poor conditions and lack of access to healthcare which many of them have suffered.

December 2013 Papuan political prisoners

Prisoner Arrested Charges Sentence Case Accused of violence? Concerns reported re legal process? Prison / Place of detention

1 Pendius Tabuni 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

2 Muli Hisage 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

3 Karmil Murib 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

4 Tomius Mul 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

5 Nikson Mul 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

6 Nius Lepi 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

7 Tinus Meage 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

8 Mathius Habel 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

9 Agus Togoti 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

10 Natan Kogoya 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

11 Nikolai Waisal 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

12 Penius Tabuni 26 November 2013 170, 135, Emergency Law 12/1951 Under investigation Demonstration in support of FWPC PNG office arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

13 Yason Ngelia 7 November 2013 351 Under investigation Demonstration against Otsus Plus arrests Yes Yes Jayapura Regional police station

14 Piethein Manggaprouw 19 October 2013 106, 110 On trial Third Papuan Congress demo in Biak No Trial pending Biak Regional police station

15 Apolos Sewa* 28 August 2013 106, 110 Under investigation Freedom Flotilla arrests in Sorong No Yes On bail

16 Yohanis Goram Gaman* 28 August 2013 106, 110 Under investigation Freedom Flotilla arrests in Sorong No Yes On bail

17 Amandus Mirino* 28 August 2013 106, 110 Under investigation Freedom Flotilla arrests in Sorong No Yes On bail

18 Samuel Klasjok* 28 August 2013 106, 110 Under investigation Freedom Flotilla arrests in Sorong No Yes On bail

19 Victor Yeimo 13 May 2013 160 3 years (handed down in 2009) 2009 demo; 13 May Jayapura demo No Yes Abepura

20

Astro Kaaba 3 May 2013 Treason Unknown Yapen police death Yes Trial pending Serui police station

21

Hans Arrongear Unknown Treason Unknown Yapen police death Yes Trial pending Serui police station

22 Oktovianus Warnares 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak

23 Yoseph Arwakon 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak

24 Yohanes Boseren 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak

25 Markus Sawias 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak

26 George Syors Simyapen 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak

27 Jantje Wamaer 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 Trial ongoing Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak

28

Domi Mom 1 May 2013 106, 110 Trial ongoing Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Trial pending Timika

29 Alfisu Wamang 1 May 2013 106, 110 Trial ongoing Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Trial pending Timika

30 Musa Elas 1 May 2013 106, 110 Trial ongoing Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Trial pending Timika

31 Eminus Waker 1 May 2013 106, 110 Trial ongoing Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Trial pending Timika

32 Yacob Onawame 1 May 2013 106, 110 Trial ongoing Timika flag-raising, 1 May commemoration No Trial pending Timika

33 Hengky Mangamis 30 April 2013 106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 1 year and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong

34 Yordan Magablo 30 April
2013 106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 1 year and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong

35

Obaja Kamesrar 30 April
2013 106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 1 year and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong

36 Antonius Saruf 30 April
2013 106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 1 year and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong

37 Obeth Kamesrar 30 April
2013 106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 1 year and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong

38 Klemens Kodimko 30 April
2013 106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 1 year and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong

39 Isak Klaibin 30 April
2013 106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 3 years and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong

40 Yahya Bonay 27 April 2013 Unknown Unknown Yapen police
death Yes Trial pending Serui police custody

41 Yogor Telenggen 10 March 2013 340, 338, 170, 251, Emergency Law 12/1951 Awaiting trial Pirime shootings 2012 Yes Yes Papua Provincial police station

42 Isak Demetouw (alias Alex Makabori) 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Sarmi

43 Daniel Norotouw 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 1 year Sarmi treason No Yes Sarmi

44

Niko Sasomar 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Sarmi

45 Sileman Teno 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Sarmi

46 Bastian Mansoben 21 October 2012 Emergency Law 12/1951 3 years 6 months Biak explosives case Possession of explosives No Biak

47 Andinus Karoba 10 October 2012 365(2), Law 8/1981 1 year 10 months Jayapura Demmak activist Yes Yes Abepura

48 Yan Piet Maniamboi** 9 August 2012 106 18 months (verdict being appealed) Indigenous people’s day celebrations, Yapen No Yes On bail

49 Edison Kendi** 9 August 2012 106 2 years (verdict being appealed) Indigenous people’s day celebrations, Yapen No Yes On bail

50 Jefri Wandikbo 7 June 2012 340, 56, Law 8/1981 8 years KNPB activist tortured in Jayapura Yes Yes Abepura

51 Timur Wakerkwa 1 May 2012 106 2.5 years 1 May demo and flag-raising No No Abepura

52 Darius Kogoya 1 May 2012 106 3 years 1 May demo and flag-raising No No Abepura

53 Selpius Bobii 20 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura

54 Forkorus Yaboisembut 19 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura

55 Edison Waromi 19 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura

56 Dominikus Surabut 19 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura

57 August Kraar 19 October 2011 106 3 years Third Papua Congress No Yes Abepura

58 Wiki Meaga 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena

59 Oskar Hilago 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena

60 Meki Elosak 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena

61 Obed Kosay 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena

62 George Ariks 13 March 2009 106 5 years Unknown Unknown No Manokwari

63
Ferdinand Pakage 16 March 2006 214 15 years Abepura case 2006 Yes Yes Abepura

64 Filep Karma 1 December 2004 106 15 years Abepura flag-raising 2004 No Yes Abepura

65 Yusanur Wenda 30 April 2004 106 17 years Wunin arrests Yes No Wamena

66 Linus Hiel Hiluka 27 May 2003 106 20 years Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Nabire

67 Kimanus Wenda 12 April 2003 106 20 years Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Nabire

68
Jefrai Murib 12 April 2003 106 Life Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Abepura

69 Numbungga Telenggen 11 April 2003 106 Life Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Biak

70 Apotnalogolik Lokobal 10 April 2003 106 20 years Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Biak

* Apolos Sewa, Yohanis Goram Gaman, Amandus Mirino and Samuel Klasjok are currently facing charges of conspiracy to commit treason. Even though they were bailed a day after their arrest, they are currently undergoing investigation and are vulnerable to re-arrest. They are currently obliged to report to the police twice a week.
** Even though Edison Kendi and Yan Piet Maniamboi have now been released from detention, they are still facing a prison sentence of 2 years’ and 18 months’ imprisonment respectively. The verdict is currently being appealed. As reported in our September update, Kendi was again detained and questioned in relation to peaceful demonstrations before being released.

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 effort 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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