Yakonias Womsiwor was a member of the Timika chapter of the West Papua National Coalition (KNPB Timika). He was arrested for the first time on 19 October 2012. At around 1 am, Mimika Regional police raided the house of West Papua National Coalition (KNPB) member Alfret Marsyom and arrested Yakonias and 11 other KNPB activists. All 12 were arrested and detained without being shown a warrant. They were taken to the Mile 32 Mimika Regional Police for further questioning. During detention, the activists were beaten and forced to admit ownership of both explosives and traditional Biak arrows that were allegedly to be used in the demonstration planned for 23 October. On the night of October 22, Yakonias was interrogated by several masked officers. With his eyes closed and his hands cuffed behind his back, he was forced into a box, where the officers continued to interrogate him while hitting him repeatedly. At one point, Yakonias was threatened at gunpoint to reveal the hiding place of the weapons and explosives or he would be killed.
On 24 October 24,six of the KNPB activists were released, while Yakonias and five others (Steven Itlay, Romario Yatipai, Paulus Marsyom, Yanto Awerkion and Alfret Marsyom) were held in detention and charged with treason and possession of explosives. In addition to the charges of treason (Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code), the 6 KNPB activists were initially prosecuted for possession of explosives (Emergency Law No.12 of 1951). However, as the investigation proceeded, only Yanto Awerkion still faced charges related to Emergency Law No. 12/1951. Yakonias’ initial hearing was held on 7 February 2013 for the charge of fabricating weapons (Wayar arrows, traditional to Biak People). On 14 May 2013, he was convicted by the Timika District Court Judge and sentenced to eight months in prison.
Yakonias was arrested again on 26 November 2013, when he and other KNPB activists from the Timika region staged a demonstration at Kelly Kwalik’s tomb. At 8:15 am, a joint army/police force raided the cemetery and forcibly dispersed the protest. Yakonias and 30 other activists were arrested and taken to Mimika Regional police station. They were released without charge later in the afternoon after thousands of Timika people came to Mimika Regional Police to demand their release.
On 15 September 2018, Yakonias and Erichzon Mandobar were detained by a joint TNI/POLRI team. They were arrested with 7 other KNPB activists when the KNPB secretariat in Timika was raided by police (who did not show a search warrant). The raid was connection to the case of Jakob Fabian Skrzypski, a Polish tourist who had been arrested on 26 August. The 9 KNPB activists were taken to Mimika Regional police station for further examination without warrants. Seven of the KNPB activists were released later that afternoon, while Yakonias and Erichzon remained in custody. Neither were granted access to a lawyer. A few days later, both men were charged with possession of sharp weapons without permits. Their case was seen as connected to the case of Ruben Wakla, who had been arrested at Moses Kalinggin airport (Timika) on 10 September when he was found carrying hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
During the course of his arrest, Yakonians’s left leg was shot as many as six times: three times in the front thigh, twice in the front shin, and once in his upper foot. Yakonias’ family did not receive the X-rays of bullet wounds. When Yakonias’s wounds worsened during his detention, he did not receive medical treatment for over a week. He received treatment only after his case came to the attention of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission.
Yakonias Womsiwor and Erichzon Mandobar, are currently on trial in the Timika City District Court. Their initial hearing was held on 31 January 2019. Both remain in detention at the Mako Brimob Detachment B station (the local headquarters of the Mobile Police Brigade) in Timika.