On 26 November, 25 men were arrested following violent clashes in Jayapura between demonstrators and police during a demonstration in support of a new Free West Papua Campaign office in Papua New Guinea and the launch of the Sorong to Samarai campaign on the same day. 16 detainees were eventually released later that day, while 12 remained in detention and were later charged with manslaughter and maltreatment under Articles 170 and 351 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. The 12 men – Pendius Tabuni, Muli Hisage, Karmil Murib, Tomius Mul, Nikson Mul, Nius Lepi, Tinus Meage, Mathius Habel, Agus Togoti, Natan Kogoya, Nikolai Waisal and Penius Tabuni – were not involved in the demonstrations on 26 November 2013.
According to interviews with a local human rights worker, the 12 men were engaged in various activities when they were arrested. One was on the way to see a friend after college, another two were on their way to a relative’s birthday party. Four of the men are Aloeswood traders from the Star Mountains (Pegunungan Bintang) region who were visiting Jayapura and had been advised to stay in the house of their relative that day to avoid any trouble. Two agricultural labourers were on their way to the airport to see off a friend travelling to Wamena. One young man was preparing for a sculpture exam the following day, making a bamboo flute in his yard. He encountered the police on his way to buy some cold water. A builder changing buses at Waena ran from the gunshots and hid in the bushes, where he was apprehended by police. A gold panner was on his way to work at Sentani Puai when he was stopped and dragged into a police truck.
The men were arrested in various places, brought to Expo Waena and beaten, before being taken to Jayapura regional police station. That night they were beaten with bayonets, bamboo canes and iron rods, and kicked by police officers wearing jackboots. They were all tortured with electric shocks administered using electric cables. Muli Hisage was hit in the testicles, and beaten with the police station printer. Pendius Tabuni was burned with cigarette butts. Mathius Mabel was threatened with a gun to the head. All 12 men were interrogated without a lawyer and forced to sign the police investigation report (berita acara pemeriksaan, BAP) without having read or understood it. Police seized six mobile phones, money totalling IDR 12,750,000 (USD 1,055), shopping and clothes from the men.
While human rights lawyers in Jayapura had been informed by police that the 12 men were receiving legal aid from the state Legal Aid Post (Pos Bantuan Hukum, Posbakum), the men state that they have had no legal accompaniment since their arrest. Following their detention in Jayapura regional police station, on 24 January 2014, they were transferred to Abepura prison while awaiting the start of their trial.
In April 2014, Penius Tabuni was released after receiving a sentence of five months’ imprisonment. On 25 July 2014. Pendius Tabuni, Muli Hisage, Karmil Murib, Tomius Mul, Nius Lepi, Tinus Meage, Mathius Habel, Agus Togoti, Natan Kogoya and Nikolai Waisal were released following the completion of their eight month prison sentences. They were sentenced for violence against persons or property under Articles 170 and 351 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. On 11 February, 16-year-old Nikson Mul was released.
Email correspondence with human rights lawyers, February to July 2014
Report received by local human rights source entitled “Kronologis kejadian penangkapan sewenang-wenang terhadap rakyat sipil Papua,” 5 February 2013
Report received by human rights lawyers entitled “Daftar nama 12 tersangka,” 28 November 2013
Report by Markus Haluk entitled, “Situasi Papua Hari Ini,” 30 November 2013