Yapenas Murib

Date of BirthUnknown
ChargesArticles 106 and 110
Date of Arrest10/04/2003
Case DetailsArrested in connection with the 2003 raid on the Jayawijaya District Military Command’s weapons arsenal. Died in military detention.
Sentence- -
Concerns Arbitrary detention, Death in custody
Take action

Yapenas Murib was from Napua village near Wamena town, Jayawijaya district. Following an alleged raid on the Jayawijaya District Military Command weapons arsenal on 4 April 2003, Mr Murib became the target of military searches and was surrendered to military Special Forces (Komandan pasukan khusus, Kopassus) by the community on 10 April 2003. Eight other people were arrested and charged with treason in connection with the incident.

Four days later, on 14 April 2003, Mr Murib died in military detention. According to a report by a coalition of local NGOs, and a report by the Office for Justice and Peace (Sekratariat untuk Keadilan dan Perdamaian, SKP), several eyewitnesses reported seeing the following events.

On 14 April at 15:30 Yapenas Murib, Kanius Murib and another un-named detainee had their hands bound and were taken out of Wamena town by the military to perform a reconstruction relating to the events of 4 April. Yapenas Murib’s head had been shaved, and he was tied with ropes around his neck to the left, right and behind him, which the soldiers pulled in opposite directions as he tried to walk. He was ordered to run, then whilst running pulled sharply backwards. Whenever he fell he was kicked and ordered to stand. While Kanius Murib and the other detainee were left at Yilekma sub-village in Sinakma village, Yapenas Murib was taken as far as Yelekama sub-village in Napua village.

At 18:30 the military set off back to the Military Command with Mr Murib, arriving at 18:45. Their prisoner was given food and drink but was unable to swallow. At 19:00 he was brought to the Accident and Emergency Unit of Wamena’s hospital, but according to medical staff, Mr Murib was dead on arrival. They also noted that his legs were swollen and there was bruising on his side. Medical staff at the hospital confirmed that the body was then tightly guarded by soldiers until the family came to remove and bury it the following day. According to the family, when they received the body of Yapenas Murib there was bruising and rope marks around his neck and round blue bruises on his right side, suggesting he had been struck with a blunt instrument.

According to the doctors on duty, no autopsy was performed. The Military Command took custody of the medical certificate, which the investigating coalition was therefore unable to check. An article was printed on 16 April 2003 in a local newspaper stating that according to the medical certificate, Mr Murib had died of a respiratory disease. However, the doctor cited as having signed the certificate told the investigation team that this was not what he had written, as such a conclusion would be impossible to make without having performed an autopsy.

To date, we are not aware of any disciplinary procedures taken against the military staff members in whose custody Yapenas Murib was tortured and subsequently died, nor of any reparations made to the family.

Office for Justice and Peace of Jayapura, Imparsial Jakarta, Progressio Timor Leste, the Synod of the Christian Evangelical Church in Papua, and Franciscans International, “The practice of torture in Aceh and Papua 1998–2007,”Jayapura and Jakarta, November 2007,  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/docs/ngos/ShadowReportIndonesia40.pdf

NGO coalition for the protection and upholding of Human Rights in Papua, Jayapura, “Initial report into the 4 April 2003 Wamena case,” 6 May 2003, http://hampapua.org/skp/skp06/var-04i.pdf