At the end of December 2015, there were at least 35 political prisoners in Papua.
Indonesian security forces reacted to commemorative events of 1 December with killings, torture, mass arrest, ill-treatment and excessive use of force against indigenous Papuans. 1 December marks the date which West Papuans consider to be their national day, although this is not recognised by the Indonesian Government. On Yapen Island, four people were killed and at least eight others injured as a result of shootings by Yapen Regional Police during a raid on a commemorative flag-raising ceremony in an area where National Liberation Army/Free Papua Movement (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional, TPN / Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM) members were allegedly active. In Jakarta, at least 306 people were arrested and at least 133 suffered serious injuries due to police brutality. Two female Papuan protestors faced sexual abuse by Jakarta Metro police officers (Polda Metro Jaya) and two foreign journalists who attempted to report on the event faced police intimidation. In Nabire, 49 people were arrested in two separate incidents in relation to peaceful commemorative activities. Many of those involved were severely beaten by Nabire police and Mobile Brigade (Brigade Mobile, Brimob) officers, including a Papuan journalist attempting to report on the arrests.
While this recent spate of arrests is unsurprising given the pattern of systematic repression of freedom of assembly and expression during significant commemorative dates, the scale of arrests recorded this year is far greater than that of recent years. In the last three years, from 2012-2014, at least 11 people have been arrested for commemorating 1 December, while 42 people have been arrested for commemorating 1 May, which marks the administrative transfer of Papua to Indonesia. By comparison, in 2015 alone, 264 people were arrested in relation to 1 May while 355 people were arrested, four killed and at least 145 suffered injuries due to police and military action on 1 December. The huge jump in the number of arrests of peaceful demonstrators commemorating significant dates this year is at odds with President Jokowi’s message of securing human rights and bringing peace to Papua. Additionally, police action in Jakarta confirms that Papuans who express their opinions remain at risk of arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment throughout Indonesia, and not only in their home region.
The extrajudicial execution and torture of four people in Yapen island, two of whom are reported to have belonged to a faction of the armed pro-independence group, TPN-OPM, is of particular concern. Such reckless and cruel methods used by security forces demonstrate their complete lack of respect for the basic human rights of Papuans living in areas reported to be high in pro-independence activity.
355 arrested for commemorating 1 December
Papuan and Jakarta-based civil society groups reported that 355 people were arrested and at least 145 were injured due to excessive use of force by state security forces towards participants commemorating 1 December in Jakarta and Nabire. 1 December marks the date which West Papuans consider to be their national day.
In a separate incident, four people were killed and eight others seriously injured during a military raid on a commemorative flag raising ceremony in Wanampompi village in Anggaisera District, Yapen Island. As there were no arrests in this case, we have filed this case under ‘Cases of Concern’.
On 1 December 2015, 306 people were arrested in Jakarta after attempting to conduct a long march. Most of those arrested were Papuan students who were members of the Papuan Student Alliance (Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua, AMP). According to comprehensive reports from AMP, at least 133 people suffered injuries and/or health complications when Jakarta Metro police officers (Polda Metro Jaya), uniformed and plainclothes intelligence officers, and Brimob officers attempted to forcibly disperse demonstrators by beating them and firing tear gas in their direction. Two female protestors faced sexual abuse by police officers when they were stopped on their way to join the demonstration. Two foreign journalists faced police intimidation and harassment. One of them, Archicco Guilianno from Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was beaten by a police officer.
According to credible information from local human rights sources, arbitrary arrests, detention and excessive use of force occurred in different locations close to the Hotel Indonesia traffic roundabout in Central Jakarta. Demonstrators had intended to gather at the roundabout before embarking on a march headed towards the Presidential Palace.
At around 08:30, the first group of demonstrators had gathered outside BCA bank, close to the Hotel Indonesia traffic roundabout. They were closely guarded and contained by Jakarta Metro police officers, Public Order police (Sabhara), traffic police and intelligence officers. Representatives from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Jakarta, LBH Jakarta), who provided legal accompaniment for AMP, attempted to negotiate with police officers to allow demonstrators to continue with the planned march. During the containment, police officers attempted to force demonstrators to remove articles of clothing and decoration which displayed the Morning Star flag, a symbol of Papuan independence.
At 10:43, the first group of demonstrators attempted to join another group of demonstrators that had gathered at a second location nearby, but were blocked by security forces. At 11:00, after another failed attempt at negotiating with the police, demonstrators attempted to break out of the police blockade three times. Police reportedly reacted by firing tear gas, throwing sticks and stones, and firing one blank round and one live round at demonstrators. Niko Suhun, a 23-year-old Papuan student and AMP member, was shot in the head with a rubber bullet and collapsed on the spot. Police continued to beat him with batons when he was unconscious. Zet Tabuni, a 26-year-old AMP member, was beaten when he attempted to help Niko Suhun when he collapsed. Tabuni was reportedly punched on the temple by a police officer wearing a knuckleduster ring. Reports stated that from 11:00 to 12:20, police continued to contain the group of demonstrators, kicking and beating them with rattan canes. At around 12:20, police began rounding up demonstrators and forcing them onto buses to be detained in Jakarta Metro Police Headquarters (Polda Metro Jaya).
According to an AMP report, at least 133 people suffered injuries from tear gas inhalation and excessive use of force employed by police officers. Local sources collected detailed information on 13 demonstrators that suffered ill-treatment during the demonstration. Two female demonstrators – Eka Kosay and Martina Douw – faced sexual assault and harassment by police officers when they were on their way to join other demonstrators at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout.
Information received by credible local human rights sources reported that at around 08:35, a second group of demonstrators gathered outside the German Embassy, close to the Hotel Indonesia traffic roundabout, were similarly contained and guarded by Jakarta Metro police and Brimob officers. Attempts to negotiate with police to allow them to continue with the planned march were unsuccessful. At around 11:10, police announced to demonstrators that the gathering was only allowed until 12:00. At 12:00, at least 151 demonstrators were rounded into Crowd Control (Pengendalian Massa, Dalmas) vehicles to be detained in Jakarta Metro Police Headquarters. 22 demonstrators gathered at a third location were similarly arrested and brought to Jakarta Metro Police Headquarters.
Two foreign journalists faced intimidation and harassment while reporting on the AMP demonstration in Jakarta. Archicco Guilliano from Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) was struck by police officers when he refused to cede to their demands of erasing footage he had recorded that documented violence inflicted on demonstrators. Stephanie Vaessen from Al Jazeera was reportedly filming the demonstration on her mobile phone when she was approached by five police officers who ordered her to delete the footage. When she refused, the police officers reportedly snatched her phone and deleted the footage before returning it to her.
According to AMP demonstrators who were detained in Jakarta Metro Police Headquarters, police intimidated and threatened the detainees. At around 17:00, all but 22 demonstrators were released from detention. The 22 people remaining in detention underwent further interrogation. At 11:00, 20 of the 22 detainees were released. The two remaining detainees, Enos Suhun and Eliakim Itlay, were charged with violence against persons or property, incitement, violence or threat of violence against a state officer and maltreatment under Articles 170, 170, 212 and 351 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. On 4 December, the two men, who are students at a vocational teaching college in Tangerang (STKIP Surya Tangerang) were released from detention at Jakarta Metro Police Headquarters. According to lawyers with LBH Jakarta, their case has been dropped by the police.
According to reports from a Nabire human rights investigator, 49 people were arrested in two separate incidents in relation to activities commemorating 1 December.
On 28 November 2015, 17 Papuans were detained by Nabire police and Brimob officers when they attempted to clean a site at Bunga Bangsa Papua Field in preparation for a prayer session in commemoration of 1 December. The 17 men were detained overnight and released the following day.
On 1 December 2015, 32 Papuans were arrested when they assembled at Bunga Bangsa Papua Field to participate in the commemorative prayer session. Police officers forcibly dispersed the crowd, reportedly beating people with rifle butts and wooden beams. The 32 detainees were interrogated at Nabire Regional Police Station before being released without charge. Reports from local human rights sources stated that at least four of the detainees sustained injuries due to police beatings.
According to a report, Topilus B Tebai, the editor of Papuan news site Majalah Selangkah, was intimidated and harassed by Nabire Regional police officers while reporting on the planned prayer session. Tebai was taking photos of police activity at the scene when he was approached by two police officers who stopped him and asked for his camera. The report further states that one of the police officers then tried to kick him. When he told the police officers that he was a journalist and showed his press card, they began yelling at him and demanded to speak to his superiors. When Tebai protested, five more police officers forcibly removed his camera, kicked him and removed him from the area.
KNPB Merauke activist detained for possession of Morning Star flags
According to local human rights sources, on 2 December 2015, KNPB Merauke activist Emerikus Kakupu was arrested for possession of Morning Star and KNPB flags by Merauke Regional Police. He was detained by five police officers outside an embroidery shop where he had collected the flags. According to KNPB sources, the owner of the embroidery shop allegedly reported Kakupu to police when he collected the flags from the shop. Kakupu was questioned for several hours before being released without charge. He was reportedly required to report to the Criminal Investigation Unit (Kasat Reskrim) the following day.
23 AMP student activists arrested in Jakarta for organising protest against 1961 Operation Trikora
On the morning of 19 December, at least 23 student activists belonging to the AMP were detained by Metro Jaya District Police (Polisi Daerah Metro Jaya, Polda Metro Jaya) and Brimob officers in Jakarta. AMP activists had gathered in remembrance and protest of Operation Trikora that took place 54 years ago on 19 December 1961. Operation Trikora was an Indonesian military operation aimed at seizing what was then Dutch New Guinea. The 23 student activists were detained for several hours at the Metro Jaya District Police Station before being released at 17:30 the same day. According to representatives from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Jakarta, LBH Jakarta), police stated that the reason for their detention was that the activists had not submitted a notice of demonstration and that the demonstration contained pro-independence sentiment.
End of prison term for Odie Aitago
Odie Aitago was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment and is likely to have been released on 15 December. He was arrested on 15 May 2015 alongside Obed Korie, who was released in October, for participating in a demonstration against palm oil plantation company PT Permata Putera Mandiri (PPM) in Sorong.
Political trials and cases overview
ULMWP supporters sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment
Human rights lawyers accompanying Apolos Sroyer, Dorteus Bonsapia and Wamoka Yudas Kossay reported that on 7 December 2015, the three detainees were sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment each after being found guilty of incitement under Article 160 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. On 20 May 2015, the three men were arrested for demonstrating their support for a bid by ULMWP for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). On 28 December 2015, recently freed ex-political prisoner Filep Karma visited the three detainees in Biak prison to express his solidarity.
Cases of concern
Four killed, two from torture, eight seriously injured during raid in Wanampompi village in Yapen island
Information received by local human rights investigators stated that on 1 December 2015, four people were killed and eight others seriously injured by military officers from Military District Command 1709 and Yapen Regional Police during a security raid in Wanampompi village in Anggaisera District, Yapen Island regency. The local community were reportedly taking part in a flag-raising ceremony in commemoration of 1 December when the raid took place.
On 1 December 2015, at 06:00, a joint security task force conducted a patrol in Wanampompi village in Anggaisera District, Yapen Island Regency. The task force consisted of officers from the Yapen Regional Police (Polres Yapen) and Military District Command 1709. Reports received stated that the local community and members of the TPN/OPM had participated in the flag-raising ceremony.
According to reports from local sources, Yonas Manitori, reportedly a TPN-OPM member, was shot and killed when he approached the security convoy and questioned the purpose of the patrol. Upon seeing this, Herik Manitori, a local TPN/OPM leader, and another man, Yulianus Robaha, attempted to come to the aid of Yonas Manitori, but were both shot. When other villagers attempted to help the three men, security forces allegedly reacted by firing shots at them. The shootings led to death of another villager, Darius Andiribi, and seriously injured eight other people. Upon being shot, Herik Manitori and Yulianus Robaha were both dragged onto trucks and tortured to death. Herik Manitori’s stomach was torn open with a bayonet and his right eye was reportedly dug out. Both of Yulianus Robaha’s legs were reportedly amputated. According to KNPB report, his amputated left leg was never found. His stomach was reportedly ripped open. Eight other people suffered serious gunshot injuries. Reports stated that Wanampompi villagers fled the shootings and that many were still hiding in surrounding forests up to a week after the incident.
Komnas HAM Papua representative Frits Ramandey stated in media reports that a team had been sent to Wanampompi village to investigate the incident. He stated that investigations showed that a gunfight had erupted between the security convoy and TPN/OPM following the flag-raising ceremony. Sr. Comr. Rudolf Patrick told the Jakarta Post that the internal affairs division of the Papua Police, or Propam (Provos Pengamanan, Provost Security) had examined 25 police personnel involved in the raid.
A year on from ‘Bloody Paniai’: Perpetrators still not held to account
On 8 December 2015, Papuan human rights coalition SKP HAM Papua (Solidaritas Korban Pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusia, Solidarity for Victims of Human Rights Violations) held a film screening and press conference in commemoration of the first anniversary of the ‘Bloody Paniai’ incident. On 8 December 2014, four teenagers were killed and at least 17 others were injured when security forces opened fire into a crowd in Enarotali district, Paniai regency. The crowd had gathered to protest the ill-treatment of three boys by military officers the day before.
Komnas HAM investigations into the incident has been fraught with irregularities. After four months of investigations, Komnas HAM recommended the formation of a pro-justicia inquiry team but little progress has been made since. Investigations had reportedly stalled due to a shortage in funding and an unwillingness from victims’ families to conduct exhumations and allow autopsies. While police and military authorities have also conducted their own internal fact-finding investigations into the incidents, the results of these have not been made public.
Note regarding the removal of five men in KIP treason arrest case from the political prisoner list
Human rights lawyers from KontraS Papua reported that Jayapura police investigating the case of Dr Don Flassy, Dr Lawrence Mehue, Mas Jhon Ebied Suebu, Onesimus Banundi and Elias Ayakeding were not able to secure evidence needed to prosecute them under charges of treason. On 14 April 2015, the five men were arrested following a meeting days earlier with the Indonesian Minister of Defense, General Ryamizard Ryacudu. On 5 May 2015, the five men were released on bail but remained under city arrest and were obliged to report weekly to the police. It is unclear if the police will continue to pursue this case. Reports from their lawyers indicate that it seems unlikely that the five ex-detainees will be taken to trial. We will continue to report on this case should any new developments come to light.
December 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 Cod||10 months
|MSG demo in Biak
|5||Apolos Sroyer||20 May 2015||Article 160 Indonesian Criminal Code||10 months||MSG demo in Biak
|6||Dorteus Bonsapia||20 May 2015||Article 160 Indonesian Criminal Code||10 months||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||Ruben Furay||1 May 2015||Uncertain||Police investigation pending||Kaimana 1 May 2015||Uncertain||Uncertain||Kaimana|
|12||Sepi Surbay||1 May 2015||Uncertain||Police investigation pending||Kaimana 1 May 2015||Uncertain||Uncertain||Kaimana|
|13||Yosep Siep||9 July 2014||Articles 187, 164||Supreme Court appeal being considered||Pisugi Election Boycott||Yes||Yes||Released pending appeal|
|14||Marthen Marian||9 July 2014||Articles 187, 164||Supreme Court appeal being considered||Pisugi Election Boycott||Yes||Yes||Released pending appeal|
|15||Jhoni Marian||9 July 2014||Articles 187, 164||Supreme Court appeal being considered||Pisugi Election Boycott||Yes||Yes||Released pending appeal|
|16||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|
|18||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|
|19||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|
|20||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|
|21||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|
|23||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|
|24||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|
|25||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|
|26||Piethein Manggaprouw||19 October 2013||Articles 106, 110||3 years||Third Papuan Congress demo in Biak||No||Yes||Biak|
|27||Oktovianus Warnares||1 May 2013||Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951||7 years||Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration||Yes||Yes||Biak|
|28||Markus Sawias||1 May 2013||Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951||4 years||Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration||Yes||Yes||Biak|
|29||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|
|30||Isak Klaibin||30 April
|Articles 06, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164||3 years and 6 months||Aimas 1 May commemoration||No||Yes||Sorong|
|31||Jefri Wandikbo||7 June 2012||Articles 340, 56, Law 8/1981||8 years||KNPB activist tortured in Jayapura||Yes||Yes||Abepura|
|32||Darius Kogoya||1 May 2012||106||3 years||1 May demo and flag-raising||No||No||Abepura|
|33||Wiki Meaga||20 November 2010||106||8 years||Yalengga flag-raising||No||Yes||Wamena|
|34||Meki Elosak||20 November 2010||106||8 years||Yalengga flag-raising||No||Yes||Wamena|
|35||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.