October/November 2015: State accountability for abuses remain exception rather than the rule

In brief

At the end of October 2015, there were at least 42 political prisoners in Papua. At the end of November, there were at least 41 political prisoners in Papua.

On 19 November 2015, Filep Karma was released after 11 years in prison. He had consistently rejected offers of release via remission or clemency from the Indonesian government, stating that this would mean an admission of guilt. However, on the day of his release, Karma was not given a choice to remain in prison but was simply removed. Karma has stated that he will continue to peacefully express his political aspirations of an independent Papua. However, it remains to be seen if this would be tolerated by Indonesian security forces. Just a few days before Karma’s release, on 16 November 2015, a demonstration calling for democracy and media freedom was forcibly dispersed by Wamena police. The demonstration was led by five ex-political prisoners who were released in May 2015.

The four detainees arrested for demonstrating their support for a bid by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for membership within the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in May 2015 have been sentenced to 1.5 years’ imprisonment each. There are concerns that Narko Murib, one of the detainees, is not receiving adequate medical care for serious health complications that he is currently experiencing. Human rights lawyers representing this case, as well as another case in Biak also involving ULMWP supporters, have noted that there appears to be a substitution of treason charges with other criminal charges. In particular, detainees are charged with incitement, under Article 160 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.

Three soldiers were sentenced to imprisonment, with another awaiting verdict, over the killing of two Papuan men by Military District Command 1710 soldiers in Koperapoka, Mimika on 28 August 2015. While the prosecution of military officials for abuses are encouraging, they remain the exception rather than the rule. In the ‘Bloody Paniai’ incident, another high profile case of state violence, securing convictions has not been so easy. In spite of investigations carried out by the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) into the shootings that took place on 8 December 2014, there are no indications of progress in bringing perpetrators to account.

Arrests

Monks and human rights activists detained for demonstrating on Bloody Paniai; journalist beaten

On 8 October 2015, 18 people were detained for participating in a demonstration demanding accountability for the ‘Bloody Paniai’ shootings of December 2014. Amongst the detainees were five Franciscan monks, an Augustinian monk, and civil society members from local human rights organisations. Demonstrators were calling for President Jokowi to expedite the legal process for the Paniai case.

Reports from the Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (Sekretariat Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan, SKPKC Papua) stated that Jayapura City police forcibly dispersed the demonstration by beating protestors with rifle butts. Abeth You, a journalist with the Papuan news site Majalah Selangkah, was strangled and beaten by a police officer and had his photos erased from his camera when he attempted to report on the arrests.

The 18 detainees were forced onto two police trucks and were taken to the Abepura Police Station. They were held in the trucks for an hour and a half before being released without charge.

Three KNPB activists interrogated over French journalist visit

On 9 October 2015, three West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) Sentani activists were detained and interrogated for several hours by Sentani police over a visit by Marie Dhumieres, a Jakarta-based French journalist to Pegunungan Bintang regency. On 1 October 2015, Dhumieres, who reportedly received a police permit to visit Papua, visited Ohika district in Pegungunan Bintang regency to cover the inauguration of the executive board of the local KNPB chapter. The three KNPB activists – Agus Kossay, Bano Kalaka and Nodi Hilka – were released without charge.

Suara Papua reported that four days later, on 13 October, the KNPB Sentani secretariat was raided by Jayapura Regional police and Mobile Brigades (Brigade Mobil, Brimbob) officers under the instructions of the Head of Jayapura Regional Police (Kapolres) AKBP Sondang Siagian. During the raid, police painted over a wall that had an image of the Morning Star on it. No arrests were made during the raid.

15-year-old boy detained for wearing Morning Star flag t-shirt

On 8 October, Matheus Louw, a 15-year-old high-school student, was arrested in Sorong for wearing a t-shirt that had an image of the Morning Star flag and a slogan stating “Free West Papua.” He was detained at around 16:15 Papua time by an army officer while watching a football match at the Military Regional Command 171 Headquarters (Markas Komando Resort Militer 171, Makorem 171). He was questioned briefly at the military headquarters before being taken by eight police officers to be further interrogated by Criminal Investigation Unit (Reskrim) at the Sorong City Regional Police Station. Louw was reportedly forced to sign a statement stating that he would not repeat his actions and was forced to surrender his t-shirt as ‘evidence’. While charges were not brought against him, reports from local human rights sources stated that police threatened to shoot and imprison him if he wore clothing with the Morning Star motif and such slogans again. He was released after an hour of interrogation at Sorong City Regional Police Station.

Releases

Filep Karma released

On 19 November 2015, Papua’s most well-known political prisoner, Filep Karma, was released via a special decade remission. He had consistently rejected offers of remission or clemency from the Indonesian government, due to the implicit admission of guilt to which he does not subscribe. However, on the day of his release, he was not given a choice to remain in prison but was simply removed. In 2004, Karma was arrested and charged with treason for raising the Morning Star flag.

End of prison terms for Obed Korie and Jantje Wamaer

Papuans Behind Bars has removed Obed Korie and Jantje Wamaer from the list of political prisoners as it is likely that they have been released following the end of their prison terms.

Obed Korie was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment and was scheduled to be released on 15 October 2015. He was arrested on 15 May 2015 for participating in a demonstration against palm oil plantation company PT Permata Putera Mandiri (PPM) in Sorong.

Jantje Wamaer is believed to have been released on 1 October 2015, following the end of his prison sentence of 2.5 years.  Like Obed Korie, his release is yet to be confirmed. He was arrested on 1 May 2013 for participating in an event in Biak commemorating the 50th anniversary of the administrative transfer of Papua to Indonesia. Three other men – Oktovianus Warnares, George Syors Simyapen and Markus Sawias – in this case are still behind bars in Biak prison.

Political trials and cases overview

MSG Manokwari demonstrators sentenced to 1.5 years’ imprisonment

Lawyers with LP3BH (Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid) reported that on 27 November 2015, Alexander NekenemNarko Murib, Maikel Aso (alias Othen Gombo) and Yoram Magai were sentenced to 1.5 years’ imprisonment each. The prosecution had previously demanded a prison sentence of two years each for the four detainees.

LP3BH lawyers have argued that the Public Prosecutor in this case, Syahrul, SH, committed contempt of court when he failed to provide sufficient medical care for Narko Murib, who is suffering from stomach complications arising from malaria and tuberculosis. During a court hearing on 9 November 2015, Head Judge Maryono, SH, ordered the Public Prosecutor to ensure that Murib received adequate medical attention after he was unable to attend the hearing due to his poor health. Instead of sending Murib to a hospital, the Public Prosecutor ordered a police officer to give him painkillers and to examine his blood pressure.

The four men were amongst 75 people arrested on 20 May 2015 for taking part in a demonstration in Manokwari in support of the bid by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

Public Prosecutor demands 1.5 years’ imprisonment for ULMWP supporters

Human rights lawyers accompanying Apolos Sroyer, Dorteus Bonsapia and Wamoka Yudas Kossay, reported that on 25 November 2015, the prosecution demanded prison sentences of 1.5 years each for the three detainees who face charges of incitement and spreading lies under Article 160 of the Indonesian Criminal Code and Article 14 of Law 1/1946 respectively. They were expected to receive a verdict in early December 2015. On 21 May 2015, the three detainees were arrested alongside 14 others in Biak for demonstrating their support for a bid by the ULMWP for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

Cases of concern

Three soldiers sentenced to imprisonment, one more awaiting verdict

In our last update we reported on the fatal shooting of two Papuan men by two soldiers from Military District Command 1710 (Komando Distrik Militer 1710, Kodim 1710) in Koperapoka, Mimika regency on 28 August 2015. Media reports stated that three soldiers have been sentenced to imprisonment for their involvement in the incident. First Private Makher Rehatta was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, while First Sergeant Ashar was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment. The two soldiers were found responsible for opening fire on 28 August 2015, which led to the deaths of two Papuan men. Chief Private Gregorius R. Geta was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for his involvement in the shootings. Another soldier, First Private Imanuel Imbiri, is currently awaiting the verdict of his trial. The four soldiers were believed to have been under the influence of alcohol when the shootings occurred.

Demonstration led by five ex-political prisoners curbed by Wamena police

On 16 November 2015, a demonstration led by five ex-political prisoners was stopped from taking place by Jayawijaya Regional police. Domi Mecky Meaga, one of the coordinators of the demonstration, told Suara Papua that police dispersed the demonstration even though a Notice of Demonstration had previously been submitted to the police. Meaga stated that at the time of dispersal, police had beaten demonstrators and that at least one gunshot was heard. The demonstration called for the opening of democratic space in Papua, a guarantee of safety for Papuans, and to allow foreign journalists to enter and report on Papua.

Police disperse activists visiting Theys Eluay grave

On 10 November 2015, Jayapura Regional police dispersed a group of activists and university students who were visiting the tomb of Theys Eluay to mark the 14th anniversary of his assassination. KNPB leader Victor Yeimo told local media that armed police intimidated the activists and forbade them from cleaning the grave site or taking photographs. On 10 November 2001, Theys Eluay was murdered by Kopassus special forces officers. His driver, Aristoteles Masoka, disappeared the same night.

Kopassus officer opens fire and beats villagers while intoxicated

Reports from local human rights investigators stated that on 2 October 2015, a Kopassus officer with the initials ‘MK’ severely beat Kaspar Merom, a local villager in Merauke, after wrongly accusing him of theft. The officer, who was reportedly under the influence of alcohol, began beating Merom with a baton when he denied any wrongdoing. The youth sustained a deep cut on the mouth. When Merom and his friend, who was also present at the time, retaliated, the Kopassus officer retreated and ran away to a Kopassus post nearby. The officer then reportedly returned with a pistol, but failed to find the two youths. He then allegedly proceeded to fire shots in the local residential area. He also reportedly strangled another youth, Theo Torip, and threatened him at gunpoint to reveal the whereabouts of Merom and his friend. The following day, several Kopassus officers reportedly returned to the area and warned residents not to launch any reports on the incident.

News

Note regarding the removal of Kamori Murib from the political prisoner list

Information received from Wamena-based human rights groups reported that in early October 2015, Kamori Murib escaped Wamena prison. In light of this he has been removed from the list of political prisoners. On 9 December 2014, Kamori Murib was arrested and tortured in relation to the possession of a pistol. He had intended to handover to the authorities a pistol belonging to a deceased relative, but was instead detained and charged under Emergency Law 12/1951. On 20 August 2015, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. We will continue to report on this case should any new developments come to light.

November 2015 Papuan Political Prisoners

No Prisoner Arrested Charges Sentence Case Accused of violence? Concerns reported re legal process? Prison/

Place of detention

1 Arnes Silak 15 June 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending KNPB Sentani Airport arrest Uncertain Uncertain Papuan Police Headquarters
2 Yafet Keiya 28 May 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending MSG demo in Nabire Uncertain Uncertain Nabire

 

 

3 Ottis Munipa 28 May 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending MSG demo in Nabire Uncertain Uncertain Nabire

 

 

4 Wamoka Yudas Kossay 22 May 2015 Article 160 Indonesian Criminal Code, Article 14 of Law 1/1946 Verdict in early December

 

MSG demo in Biak

 

Uncertain  Yes Biak
5 Apolos Sroyer 20 May 2015 Article 160 Indonesian Criminal Code, Article 14 of Law 1/1946 Verdict in early December MSG demo in Biak

 

Uncertain  Yes Biak
6 Dorteus Bonsapia 20 May 2015 Article 160 Indonesian Criminal Code, Article 14 of Law 1/1946 Verdict in early December MSG demo in Biak

 

Uncertain  Yes Biak
7 Narko Murib 20 May 2015 Article 160 1.5 years MSG demo in Manokwari Uncertain Yes Manokwari
8 Alexander Nekenem 20 May 2015 Article 160 1.5 years MSG demo in Manokwari Uncertain Yes Manokwari
9 Yoram Magai 20 May 2015 Article 160 1.5 years MSG demo in Manokwari Uncertain Yes Manokwari
10 Othen Gombo 20 May 2015 Article 160 1.5 years MSG demo in Manokwari Uncertain Yes Manokwari
11 Odie Aitago 15 May 2015 Article 170 7 months Sorong demo against PT PPM Yes Uncertain Sorong
12 Ruben Furay 1 May 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending Kaimana 1 May 2015 Uncertain Uncertain Kaimana
13 Sepi Surbay 1 May 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending Kaimana 1 May 2015 Uncertain Uncertain Kaimana
14 Dr Don Flassy* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 55(1),53(1) On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
15 Dr Lawrence Mehue* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 55(1),53(1) On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
16 Mas Jhon Ebied Suebu* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 108(2), 55(1), 53(1) On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
17 Onesimus Banundi* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 108(2), 55(1), 53(1) On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
18 Elias Ayakeding* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 160 On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
19 Yosep Siep 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Supreme Court appeal being considered Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Released pending appeal
20 Marthen Marian 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Supreme Court appeal being considered Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Released pending appeal
21 Jhoni Marian 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Supreme Court appeal being considered Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Released pending appeal
22 Alapia Yalak 4 June 2014 Uncertain Police investigation pending Yahukimo arrests Yes Yes Papua Police Headquarters
 23

 

 

Jemi Yermias Kapanai 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Serui Prison
24 Septinus Wonawoai 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Serui Prison
25 Rudi Otis Barangkea 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Serui Prison
26 Kornelius Woniana 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Serui Prison
27 Peneas Reri 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Serui Prison
28

 

Salmon Windesi 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Serui Prison
29 Obeth Kayoi 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Serui Prison
30 Soleman Fonataba* 17 December 2013 Articles 106, 110)1, 53, 55 1.5 years city arrest, appeal pending Sarmi 2013 Melanesian flag arrests No / not yet clear No City arrest ends on 23 January 2016
31 Edison Werimon* 13 December 2013 Articles 106, 110)1, 53, 55 1.5 years city arrest, appeal pending Sarmi 2013 Melanesian flag arrests No / not yet clear No City arrest ends on 23 January 2016
32 Piethein Manggaprouw 19 October 2013 Articles 106, 110 3 years Third Papuan Congress demo in Biak No Yes Biak
33 Oktovianus Warnares 1 May 2013 Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 7 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
34 Markus Sawias 1 May 2013 Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 4 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
35 George Syors Simyapen 1 May 2013 Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 4.5 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
36 Isak Klaibin 30 April

2013

Articles 06, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 3 years and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong
37 Jefri Wandikbo 7 June 2012 Articles 340, 56,  Law 8/1981 8 years KNPB activist tortured in Jayapura Yes Yes Abepura
38 Darius Kogoya 1 May 2012 106 3 years 1 May demo and flag-raising No No Abepura
39 Wiki Meaga 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
40 Meki Elosak 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
41 Yusanur Wenda 30 April 2004 106 17 years Wunin arrests Yes No Wamena

* While these detainees have been bailed and are not currently behind bars, they continue to face charges and are currently undergoing investigation. As they are vulnerable to re-arrest, we will continue to monitor any developments in these cases.

 

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