Yan Piet Maniamboi, from Yapen island, is an activist involved with the West Papuan National Authority (Otoritas Nasional Papua Barat, WPNA). He was also reportedly appointed chief of Yawama Regency by the Federal Republic of West Papua, after that group declared the restoration of independence at the Third Papuan People’s Congress in October 2011.
Maniamboi was arrested on 9 July 2012 in Serui, on Yapen Island on a march to commemorate the United Nations Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.’ Amnesty International has reported that police and military troops dispersed the demonstration by firing into the air. They then arbitrarily arrested at least six demonstrators, in some cases using violence. Police then travelled to another village to arrest one of the organisers. When they couldn’t find him, they arrested his wife, who was reportedly eight months pregnant at the time.
An email received from local activists alleges that Yan Piet Maniamboi was among those beaten by the police, although no further details are given. An update the following day states that all but two of those arrested were released at 22:00 the same evening. However Maniamboi was held in Serui City Police Headquarters together with Edison Kendi, where the two men were apparently charged with treason and incitement.
Several videos were posted on Youtube on 20 November of the two men still in police detention (where prisoners are often believed to face a greater risk of ill-treatment than in prison). The author claims at that time the status of their detention was still unclear. A Facebook update posted by West Papua Media alerts on 27 August alleges that they were only being fed once a day on many days, and their families were not being permitted to bring food or drink. As a result, two of the four political prisoners in Serui at that time were suffering from stomach complaints. Local human rights defenders who visited the two men said that they were ill due to the prison conditions and the torture they have suffered.
On 28 February 2013, the Serui District Court rejected the demurrer presented by the Defence Counsel for pro-independence activists Edison Kendi and Yan Piet Maniamboi, which argued that the indictment was inaccurate, unclear and incomplete. Prosecutor Matius Matulesi had allegedly threatened two of the witnesses who testified on 9 April 2013 about their mistreatment in detention. While the hearing on 23 April was scheduled for the testimony of two police officers, their absence resulted in Prosecutor Matulesi calling on ex political prisoners Jon Nuntian and Jamal Omrik Manitori. Local human rights sources report that Manitori was pressured by Matulesi to sign a letter agreeing to be a witness to the case. Manitori refused to agree and did not testify against Kendi and Maniamboi. However, local sources report that statements allegedly made by Jon Nuntian against Kendi and Maniamboi as recorded in police minutes of the case were read out by the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor reportedly declared that the examination of witnesses was complete though there were four other witnesses who were not present as they were out of town.
At a hearing on 8 May 2013, Matulesi asked police who were present to confiscate all cameras and mobile phones belonging to observers, resulting in tension in the courtroom. Local activists reported that a hearing on 20 May revealed that the police investigation report was flawed and thus rejected by the defendants. It also became clear that Kendi and Maniamboi did not receive legal accompaniment during the investigation and that despite this, the police informed them that the legal investigation report had already been signed by a lawyer representing them. The hearing also reportedly saw the Prosecutor putting forth photographic and video evidence of a demonstration led by the two accused in Jayapura while claiming that the material showed evidence of their participation in a demonstration in Serui. This was rejected by the lawyers of the two activists as it was factually incorrect. They stated that the so-called evidence had no relation to the case at hand which involved the demonstrations held on 1 May 2012 and 9 August 2012 in Serui, Yapen island.
In June 2013, the Public Prosecutor in the case of the Yapen Indigenous People’s Day Celebrations demanded a sentence of 6 and 5 years’ imprisonment respectively for Edison Kendi and Yan Piet Maniamboi. Their lawyers submitted a plea on 27 June 2013. On 24 July 2013, Edison Kendi and Yan Piet Maniamboi were sentenced to 2 years’ and 1.5 years’ imprisonment respectively.
“Yapen treason trial accused testify of torture in custody,” West Papua Media, 15 April 2013, http://westpapuamedia.info/2013/04/16/yapen-treason-trial-accused-testify-of-torture-in-custody/
Amnesty International, Statement ASA 21/031/2012, https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA21/031/2012/en/7208a8db-2295-4c87-8fe5-ffb46cc983e7/asa210312012en.html
Email to Komunitas Papua List, “Serui Darurat,” 9 August 2012, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Komunitas_Papua/message/30306
Email to Komunitas Papua List, “Laporan Lanjutan Serui Darurat,” 10 August 2012, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Komunitas_Papua/message/30320
West Papua Media Alerts (via Facebook), 27 August 2012, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1137343&l=ce52e178d4&id=139976689384585
Youtube, Kesaksian Tuan Yan Manimboy Tahanan Kepolisian Kepulawan Yapen, 20 November 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c4PBSUSOy0