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.
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.
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 Nekenem, Narko 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.
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
|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
|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
|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|
|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|
|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
|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.