Tenius Murib, who was 28 years old in 2003, was a farmer from Prime village before being arrested in a military sweeping operation in Bolakme village on 5 November 2003. Mr Murib’s name as also been recorded as Itinus or Yenggery Murib.
A letter from the Office for Justice and Peace (Sekratariat untuk Keadilan dan Perdamaian, SKP) and Francisicans International to a UN Special Rapporteur explains some key points in Mr Murib’s case. In Yalengga village during the early hours of 5 November 2003, military officers under the command of Lt. Col. Gustaf Agus Irianto reportedly shot and killed ten people. The two other men present at the scene, Tenius Murib and Jigi Jigibalom, were then arrested. The group were all accused of being members of the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM), and were accused of involvement in a raid on a military arsenal in Wamena in April earlier that year. Eight other people had already been arrested and detained for that action several months before.
The SKP letter relates that Mr Murib and Mr Jigibalom were held in military custody for ten days and tortured. They were taken to the local hospital on 15 November, at which point the military transferred responsibility for them to the police. Under the Indonesian legal system, the military have no power to detain suspects, but must hand them over to the police as soon as possible, within 24 hours.
Reports in the Papua-based newspaper Cenderawasih Pos present a contradictory account of the first days of the two men’s detention. Several reports claim that they were taken to the Wamena public hospital. For example there is an interview with Mr Jigibalom dated November 10 in which the Cenderawasih Pos reports that he is recovering from a gunshot wound to his left arm. In the article Mr Jigibalom stated that he was travelling to Wamena to do some shopping, and was not part of any armed group. Another article dated 11 November reports that Mr Murib had a bullet wound in his right thigh.
The letter by SKP and Franciscans International explains that the two men were charged with treason under article 106 of the Indonesian Penal Code and that their trial commenced on 17 June 2004. The letter outlines several factors indicating that the trial could not be considered fair. Firstly, the two prisoners were in poor health, as Mr Jigibalom in particular was still recovering from torture injuries as well as having severe cataracts; the judge refused requests from the defence that he receive treatment before facing trial. Secondly there were no translators, meaning that the two men – who are not fluent in Indonesian – could not follow the court proceedings properly. Thirdly, the judges reportedly asked intimidating and misleading questions to force the men to admit that they were involved in the raid on the weapons store. Finally, there was a risk of intimidation of the defendants as the military are allowed free access to Wamena prison.
A chronology of events in Papua published by SKP entitled ‘Papua Aktual’ related that on 4 October 2004, Mr Murib and Mr Jigibalom were respectively sentenced to 20 and 15 years in prison. In February 2013, information from Papuan lawyers in contact with Wamena prison authorities confirmed that Mr Jigibalom and Mr Murib were not longer in prison. Their release date is unknown.
Serikat Keadilan Perdamaian / Franciscans International, “Letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers,” 10 August 2004, http://www.hampapua.org/skp/skp04/app-33e.pdf
Cenderawasih Pos, “Sempat Lari, Tapi Tertembak Juga”, 10 November 2003, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Komunitas_Papua/message/1176
Serikat Keadilan dan Perdamaian, Papua Aktual 2004 (Oktober-Desember), February 2005, http://www.hampapua.org/skp/skp02/ssp-10i.pdf
KontraS Papua, Audiensi dengan Departemen Hukum dan HAM RI Kantor Wilayah Provinsi Papua “Mambahas masalah Tapol/Napol (Tahanan dan Narapidana Politik) Papua”, May 9 2011, http://www.trunity.net/kontraspapua/articles/view/166020/?topic=56143