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Thousands could demonstrate in support of detained nurses

March 21, 2011

Bintang Papua, 21 March 2011
[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Thousands could demonstrate Monday in support of the detained nurses

The promise by the chief of police to release the five detained nurses has not yet been kept, even though there were reports last Wednesday that they were going to be released following a meeting between the Papuan legislative assembly, the DPRP, the police and several NGOs.

Anum Siregar, the director of ALDP (Democratic Alliance for Papua) said that she greatly regretted that the police had not yet responded to the letter from the legal counsel, the nurses’ union and the families of the nurses calling for their release. She said that she had also been assured by the DPRP chairman that they would be released because healthcare services were being affected.

On 16 March, at a meeting attended by members of the DPRP and the deputy police chief, hospital personnel had been told that the nurses would be released once administrative processes had been completed. However, on the following day no further action had been taken because the chief of the criminal investigation unit of the police was not present in Jayapura, and he was still not present.

Anum Siregar said she had the impression that the police were delaying action without explaining why. She said that the police were not handling the case with the seriousness that it merited, with the result that the five nurses are still in police custody. This was despite the fact that their legal counsel, the DPRP, the nurses’ union, the PPNI, as well as the families of the nurses had taken all the necessary measures to ensure that this case would not drag on.

She also said that the police were still refusing to reveal who was their informant who had led to these nurses being accused under the incitement law.’It is very strange that the nurses have been accused of incitement even though the police are refusing to say what they had done which could be categorised as incitement.’

According to Anum Siregar, the correct way to handle this case was under the law on administration which is applicable to state employees, rather than dealing with the matter in accordance with criminal procedures.

In view of the continued detention of the five nurses, there were plans to hold a demonstration attended by some 1,500 people from the nurses union and from a number of NGOs in Jayapura to demand the release of the five nurses and call for improvements to be made in healthcare services, according to M. Maulana, co-ordinator of the planned action. He referred to the press release issued on 17 March calling for dialogue to resolve the problem.

[See our posting earlier today which summarises the press release issued last week by the ALDP, KontaaS Papua and the Legal Aid Bureau in Papua.]

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