On 1 February 2014, 17 people were arrested following a large-scale military raid in Sasawa village in Yapen island, an area thought to have a heavy presence of TNPB (Tentera Nasional Papua Barat, West Papuan National Army). Seven out of the 17 people remain in detention – Salmon Windesi, Peneas Reri, Kornelius Woniana, Obeth Kayoi, Rudi Otis Barangkea, Jimmi Yermias Kapanai and Septinus Wonawoai. Those arrested were suspected of involvement with the TNPB. According to information received by human rights lawyers, it is common for armed groups to coerce local communities into providing them with material support such as food, transport and other assistance.
The raid was reportedly conducted by a joint military and police task force from the Papuan Provincial police, Sea Police, (Polisi Air, Polair), Siliwangi Military Unit and Serui Military Batallion. Residents of the surrounding villages of Kamanap and Kanawa were reportedly beaten, tortured and given death threats by security forces who forced them to reveal TNPB active areas. Security forces surrounded Sasawa village and shot indiscriminately at residents, leading to forced mass evacuations. Widespread damage was caused to ransacked houses, a school and a church.
Human rights lawyers with ALDP interviewed six of the seven detainees which revealed the torture they faced on arrest. Security forces chained the men together and tied their hands, making them crawl on the ground. When being forced into the police truck, Barangkea was threatened with a bayonet placed against his cheek and neck by a military officer. The officer repeatedly threatened him and said, “I’ll slice your neck until it snaps.” Kapanai was stamped on his ear until it was bloody. They were also electrocuted with stun batons. Windesi described the tying of their hands felt like “being splashed with hot water” and created blisters. He was also hit at the back of the head with a pistol which made him collapse and faint. The men were repeatedly kicked, beaten, hit with pistols and stomped on with jackboots. Reri stated that he was electrocuted in the mouth and then repeatedly elsewhere on his body. Police also confiscated IDR 900,000 and two handphones from him.
In May 2014, the seven detainees were moved to Sorong prison from Yapen Regional police station as they waited for their trial to begin. On 13 November, the seven detainees were sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment each after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit treason, rebellion and possession of sharp weapons. The Public Prosecutor in the case had demanded for a four year prison sentence.
According to defence lawyers, the trial could not be considered to be fair as only two witnesses were called to submit their testimonies. More importantly, lawyers argued that the court did not take into account the fact that the witnesses faced intimidation in Sasawa, where all aspects of social life is heavily controlled by the armed group headed by Fernando Worawoai.
Lawyers stated that the seven detainees have decided not to appeal their sentences for fear of potentially receiving longer sentences. However they have requested a transfer to Serui prison to be closer to their families. The Regional Office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights (Kantor Wilayah Kementerian Hukum dan HAM, Kanwil Hukum dan HAM), in Jayapura stated that this request may not be fulfilled as the local government lacks the funds for the transfer and that the associated costs may have to be met by the families themselves. Lawyers were told by Jayapura authorities that they would have to appeal to the Regional Office in Manokwari instead as Sorong is part of West Papua province and not Papua province.
“Saat Penggeledahan, Saksi Tidak Menemukan Kartu Anggota TPN/OPM”, ALDP, 8 September 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/saat-penggeledahan-saksi-tidak-menemukan-kartu-anggota-tpnopm/
“Penangkapan Terdakwa Berdasarkan Surat Perintah Kapolres Untuk Operasi Kamtibmas di Kampung Sasawa”, ALDP, 8 September 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/penangkapan-terdakwa-berdasarkan-surat-perintah-kapolres-untuk-operasi-kamtibmas-di-kampung-sasawa/
“Saksi Belum hadir, Sidang Kasus Sasawa Ditunda”, 2 September 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/saksi-belum-hadir-sidang-kasus-sasawa-ditunda/
“Selain Tuduhan Makar, Terdakwa Kasus Sasawa Dituduh Melakukan Pemberontakan,” ALDP, 27 August 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/selain-tuduhan-makar-terdakwa-kasus-sasawa-dituduh-melakukan-pemberontakan/
“Sidang Kasus Sasawa Direncanakan Akhir Juli,” ALDP, 14 July 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/sidang-kasus-sasawa-direncanakan-akhir-juli/
“Para Tersangka Peristiwa Sasawa Siap Menjalani Sidang Perdana,” ALDP, 4 June 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/para-tersangka-peristiwa-sasawa-siap-menjalani-sidang-perdana/
“Tersangka Kasus Sasawa Serui diberangkatkan Ke Sorong,” ALDP, 22 May 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/tersangka-kasus-sasawa-serui-diberangkatkan-ke-sorong-2/
“Tersangka Sasawa Menjalani Pemeriksaan Tambahan”, ALDP, 12 May 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/tersangka-sasawa-menjalani-pemeriksaan-tambahan/
“Penyiksaan : Terstruktur Ataukah Kasuistis?,” ALDP, 4 May 2014, http://www.aldp-papua.com/penyiksaan-terstruktur-ataukah-kasuistis/
Last updated 1 April 2015