On 12 July, 18 people were arrested in Wara village in Pisugi district, Wamena for their involvement in the distribution of flyers calling for an election boycott. Out of the 18 people arrested, 13 were released from Jayawijaya Regional police station. Yosep Siep, Ibrahim Marian, Marsel Marian, Yali Walilo and Michael Marian were charged with Articles 187 and 164 of the Indonesian Criminal Code for conspiracy to endanger security of persons or property.
Lawyers with the Democracy Alliance for Papua (Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua, ALDP) reported that the detainees were tortured and subjected to cruel and degrading treatment on arrest by military and police officers. A joint military and police task force raided Wara village in Pisugi district, Jayawijaya regency. Those arrested were tied together with rope and dragged along a ditch towards a vehicle parked on a main road. The men were chained together with their necks and hands tied with nylon twine, which meant that if one person fell down, the rest would be dragged down too. The men were also reportedly beaten with rifle butts. Yali Walilo was severely beaten with a rifle butt and as a result has lost hearing in one ear. Ibrahim Marian was beaten until he fainted and then thrown into a ditch by security forces.
Other villages also suffered beatings and received threats that they would be bayonneted. Security forces ransacked and ruined homes and reportedly destroyed food supplies, slashed livestock with machetes and threatened to burn down the houses of Yosep Siep and Yance Walilo. Other items were also allegedly destroyed including noken bags from Yosep Siep’s family that had been made for sale.
The 18 men who were arrested were brought to Jayawijaya Regional police station for interrogation where they continued to face torture. While being questioned they were allegedly kicked, beaten and electrocuted. Jayawijaya police reportedly used a hammer to hit their spines, heads and toes. ALDP lawyers reported that some of the detainees who have already been released suffered broken bones as a result of being beaten with hammers and are receiving traditional medication in their village. Families were reportedly denied access to visit the detainees.
In December 2014, Yosep Siep was declared unfit to stand trial after developing a psychological disorder as a result of torture he endured in detention. The necessary treatment needed for his full recovery was not available in Wamena. He has since returned to his home village in Pisugi district, Wamena.
Court hearings for the other four men in the case were repeatedly postponed from December 2014 to February 2015. On 19 February 2015, after months of suspended court hearings, the trial for Ibrahim Marian, Marsel Marian, Yali Walilo and Michael Marian resumed. During this hearing, Ibrahim Marian told Papuan newspaper Suara Papua that they stand accused of making Molotov cocktails intended for use to disrupt the Presidential Elections in July last year. Marian stated in court that on arrest, they were threatened with guns while in detention at the police station and forced to confess to making Molotov cocktails. Police also forged an investigation report while interrogating the detainees without the presence of a lawyer.
During court hearings in March, the remaining four detainees detailed their experiences of torture in detention. Court hearings revealed that on 11 July 2014, the night of their arrest, they had gathered at the home of Yosep Siep to take part in a prayer session and had then spent the night there. The detainees testified that at around 04:00 security forces arrived at their village and arrested them. On arrest, their hands were tied behind their backs, they were chained together by the neck, and dragged along the ground. Michael Marian testified that during his interrogation he was repeatedly beaten and electrocuted by police officers. He stated that he confessed to the charges as he was afraid that police would shoot and kill him. When questioned on his ability to read and write, Michael Marian stated that he was illiterate. He went on to say that police investigators had not read out the Police Investigation Report (Berita Acara Pemeriksaan, BAP) to him after his interrogation and that he was forced to give his thumbprints to verify the results of his interrogation. Furthermore, appeals by the defence lawyers to provide a translator for Michael Marian, who struggles to speak and understand Indonesian, went unheeded by the court.
Police Brigadiers Endy, Alex Sianturi and Yeskel F.M. who were questioned in court denied that they tortured or ill-treated the five detainees.
The four detainees also stated that they rejected the Police Investigation Reports filed against them and denied making Molotov bombs and boycotting the Presidential Election last July. Defence lawyers argued that the confessions extracted under torture could not be used as evidence against the detainees and that such practice contradicted the right of the detainee to testify without pressure in any form, as stated in Article 117 of the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code. They also argued that the evidence presented in court differed from the evidence described in the Letter of Indictment (Surat Dakwaan), and concluded that evidence used against the detainees had been fabricated.
On 1 April, Ibrahim Marian, Marsel Marian, Yali Walilo and Michael Marian were each given a one-year prison sentence. Prosecutors had previously called for a sentence of five-year imprisonment for the four men.
Suara Papua, “Ibrahim Marian: “Kami Diancam Polisi untuk Mengaku Tahu Buat Bom Molotov“,” 21 February 2015
Information received from ALDP, August 2014 – April 2015
Updated: 29 June 2015