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Torture of detainees remains rife in Papua

May 12, 2014

At the end of April 2014, there were at least 72 political prisoners in
Papuan jails.

Evidence has emerged this month of 12 incidents of torture in three
different cases – three in Nabire, seven in Sasawa and two in Jayapura.
Accounts of torture in the Sasawa and Nabire cases, and incontrovertible
photographic evidence of torture and degrading treatment in the earlier
Yalengga flag-raising case from 2010 highlight the issue of impunity in
Papua. Torture is used not only against political activists but also other
people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. While
investigations into the torture in the Yalengga flag-raising case have
begun, it remains to be seen whether perpetrators will be held accountable
or if the culture of impunity amongst Indonesian security forces will

In the Nabire case, two men were stabbed and slashed by police officers
when they protested police brutality against a third person, while in the
Sasawa case, seven men were tortured on arrest with electric stun batons.
It remains uncertain if, as claimed by police, the seven detainees were in
possession of firearms and weapons, but an added dimension of complexity
in areas with heavy presence of pro-independence movements is that
civilians are sometimes forced by armed West Papua National Army (Tentera
Nasional Papua Barat, TNPB) members to take part in TNPB-related
activities. This may include social activities or otherwise non-social
activities such as training and guarding posts.

On 2 April, demonstrations were held in nine cities worldwide including
London, Melbourne, Jayapura and Timika, calling for the immediate and
unconditional release of 76 Papuan political prisoners. While the
demonstration in Timika passed peacefully, the one held in Jayapura at the
campus of Cenderawasih University (Universitas Cenderawasih, UNCEN) in
Waena was tightly controlled by Jayapura Crowd Control and Brimob police,
resulting in tensions. Ironically, while the demonstration aimed to
highlight the silencing of free speech in Papua and protested arbitrary
detention, the response from the authorities was to stop demonstrators
from peacefully marching to Abepura and to arrest, detain and torture two
students. Police again adopted a strategy of labelling or stigmatising
demonstrators as troublemakers by threatening them with charges of violent
crime. A similar approach was taken to student leader Yason Ngelia in
November last year, when he attempted to raise legitimiate political
concerns about the Special Autonomy Plus bill.

Ex-political prisoner Matan Klembiap also faced stigmatisation this month.
Klembiap, along with five friends, was detained following accusations of
sexual assault of minors, which were quickly proven to be false. Despite
this, he continued to be detained and interrogated about political

You can read the full update here:
The full Update is also attached – we hope you find this information useful.

With best wishes,

Papuans Behind Bars team

Papuans Behind Bars April 2014.doc

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