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Forced confessions violate fair trial rights for Papuans

March 13, 2015

At the end of February 2015, there were at least 38 political prisoners in Papuan jails.

The trials for Areki Wanimbo and the case of the Pisugi Election Boycott detainees are underway after months of postponed court hearings. In both cases, local human rights observers report a lack of sufficient evidence against the detainees. The legal process in both cases has also been fraught with irregularities. In the case of Areki Wanimbo, a Lanny Jaya tribal leader, police charged him with treason instead of acquitting him once they failed to find evidence to charge him for possession of ammunition. In the Pisugi case, court hearings were postponed six times as prosecutors were unable to present any witnesses. The five men standing trial were arrested for allegedly boycotting the Presidential elections in July last year. They were tortured on arrest and in detention, forced to confess and forced to sign fabricated police investigation reports (Berita Acara Pemeriksaan, BAP). The use of coerced confessions and falsified evidence in criminal proceedings is a direct violation of the right to fair trial. In the Sasawa case of February 2014, seven detainees were sentenced to 3.5 years’ imprisonment each after a trial that used falsified police reports as key evidence in their conviction. In many political cases in Papua, trials lack material evidence and depend heavily on police reports that are often signed by detainees under duress and in the absence of a lawyer.

In February, the team for the National Human Rights Commission (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM) leading investigations into Bloody Paniai returned to Enarotali to conduct interviews with victims and eyewitnesses. Even though early reports from Komnas HAM indicate that human rights violations were committed, it remains to be seen whether those responsible for the fatal shootings of four high school students will be held accountable. Without the establishment of a mechanism such as an Investigative Commission into Human Rights Violations (Komisi Penyelidikan Pelanggaran HAM, KPP-HAM), Komnas HAM would lack the necessary mandate to seek prosecution at Indonesia’s Ad Hoc Human Rights Court. Furthermore, the suspicious circumstances surrounding the burning down of a high school attended by two of the Bloody Paniai victims suggests that the local community in Enarotali continue to face threats and intimidation. Eyewitnesses and victims of Bloody Paniai are reluctant to come forward to provide testimony due to insufficient victim and witness protection.

Information received from local church groups reported that those detained in mass arrests in Utikini village in Timika last month have since been released. Maxson Waker, one of the 65 detained on 6 January, is reported to have been arrested for being drunk and suffered torture at the hands of police.

Arrests

KNPB Sorong activist detained

On 15 February, Yeheskial Kossay was arrested in Nabire for possessing documents related to Papuan independence. The member if the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) was detained for nine hours before being released without charge. Police also confiscated his mobile phone and recorded his contacts.

Releases

Detainees of Utikini mass arrest released; another report of torture observed

On 6 January, 65 men were arrested in Utikini village during a military and police sweeping following the fatal shooting of two Mobile Brigades (Brigade Mobil, Brimbo) officers and one Freeport security guard. On 23 January, 64 of the 65 men were released without charge. Information received from the Baptist Voice of Human Rights in West Papua (Suara Baptis Papua) reported that the remaining detainee, 35-year-old Maxson Waker, has since been released. Human rights sources reported that Waker was arrested simply for being drunk, and was tortured by Timika police. On arrest, police reportedly tied his hands and dragged him across the ground. His head was then slashed and his wounds were sprayed with salt water. During the mass arrests on 6 January, Seribu Kogoya, a 30-year-old Papuan, suffered similar torture when he attempted to speak out against the police beating of a tribal chief. Baptist Voice sources stated that Maxson Waker was not involved in the 1 January shootings of the security officers.

It is believed that the 13 men said to have been arrested in separate arrests on 1 January have since been released.

Political trials and cases overview

Areki Wanimbo trial begins

On 6 August 2014, Areki Wanimbo was arrested alongside two French journalists who had visited him in his home in Wamena. He initially faced charges of possession of ammunition under Emergency Law 12/1951 but this was later changed to charges of conspiracy to commit treason under Articles 106 and 110. His trial began in late January.

Wamena-based human rights investigators reported that witness testimony presented during court hearings in February revealed inconsistencies regarding the case. One of the witnesses, Nursalam Saka, a Jayawijaya police intelligence officer, testified that a document by the Papuan Customary Council (Dewan Adat Papua, DAP) signed by Wanimbo was a crucial piece of information that led to his arrest. The document asks for donations for upcoming meetings with the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). Human rights investigators argued that Areki was arrested on suspicion of hiding weapons, but that police have not yet found any evidence to prove this. Instead, police used the DAP document, although insufficient as evidence, as an excuse to prolong his detention.

Defence lawyers for Wanimbo stated that he has requested that the two journalists testify on his behalf. Court hearings will resume in early March.

Prosecution demands three-year prison sentences for Sarmi Melanesian flag detainees

Human rights lawyers for Edison Waromi and Soleman Fonataba reported that the trial for the two men, which had been postponed since July 2014, has now resumed. On 3 March 2014, the Public Prosecutor demanded a three-year prison sentence for the two men, minus time already spent in detention. Werimon and Fonataba face charges of conspiracy to commit treason and are currently under city arrest.

Their trial had been delayed due to the Prosecution’s failure to submit a sentencing demand. On 18 February 2015, defence lawyers submitted a second appeal to the Office of the Chief Prosecutor, stating that the repeated postponement of the trial kept the two defendants in a state of legal limbo, and urged the trial to move forward. Lawyers have said that the Prosecution’s demand for a three-year sentence for each of the men is excessive and made little sense given that no evidence had so far been presented to the court. Furthermore, lawyers asserted that the testimony of the four witnesses presented did not match the charges levelled at the two men of conspiracy to commit treason.

According to defence lawyers, the Prosecution team may have submitted an excessive demand for a prison sentence in retaliation to their appeal to the Chief Prosecutor. The Office of the Chief Prosecutor has started an examination into the matter, following on from the second letter of appeal submitted by defence lawyers.

Detainees forced to confess in Pisugi case

On 19 February 2015, after months of suspended court hearings, the trial for Ibrahim Marian, Marsel Marian, Yance Walilo and Yosasam Serabut in the Pisugi election boycott case resumed. The trial for Yosep Siep, the fifth detainee in the case, has since been suspended. He was hospitalised in December 2014 due to pains endured as a result of torture on arrest, and is required to make a full recovery before his trial can be resumed. Ibrahim Marian told Suara Papua that they stand accused of making Molotov cocktails intended for use to disrupt the Presidential Elections in July last year. Marian denied the accusations and stated that they had voted during the elections.

The five men experienced torture and cruel and degrading treatment on arrest and in detention. Ibrahim Marian told Suara Papua that 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.

On 11 July, the five men were arrested alongside 12 others who have since been released, allegedly for participating in a boycott against the Indonesian Presidential elections. They face charges under Articles 187 and 164 of the Indonesian Criminal Code for conspiracy to endanger security of persons or property, for allegedly making and using explosives.

Two political prisoners intimidated into signing Statement of Loyalty

On 24 February 2015, human rights lawyers met with authorities from the Papua Regional office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Papua (Kementerian Hukum dan HAM, Kemenhukam) to seek clarification on the legal status of long term political prisoners Kimanus Wenda and Linus Hiluka. In early December 2014, the two men signed a Statement of Loyalty to the Republic of Indonesia. This is a requirement to be eligible for parole under government regulations for crimes against the state. Lawyers reported that the two men had signed the Statement of Loyalty under duress and felt intimidated and was threatened into doing so. The two men have since rejected the Statement of Loyalty. Kemenhukam authorities told lawyers that they would move ahead with the coordination of their parole application.

As reported in our November 2014 update, on 8 November, the two men were moved from Nabire prison to the holding cell of the Nabire Regional police station after an altercation broke out between Kimanus Wenda and a prison guard. The two men were inhumanely treated while detained in the police station, being denied access to a toilet and only given plastic bottles to use.

Cases of concern

Bloody Paniai report

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM) continued its investigations into ‘Bloody Paniai’ this month. Tabloid Jubi reported that on 18 to 20 February, dozens of eyewitnesses and victims met with the Komnas HAM investigative team led by Maneger Nasution. Nasution told Indonesian press that thus far, Komnas HAM had found indications of four human rights violations: the right to life, children’s rights, women’s rights and the right to freedom from torture. He also added that the team will collect more information and that it is possible an ad-hoc team may be formed should there be indications of more severe human rights violations. In particular, the team plans to look for evidence demonstrating that the shooting was premeditated.

Papua Police Chief Inspector General Yotje Mende told Papuan press that police are faced with difficulty in investigating the shooting incident as witnesses had reportedly moved and autopsies on the dead victims were forbidden by their families. On 13 and 14 February, Jhon Gobai, the head of the Paniai Customary Council, met with the Institute of the Protection of Witnesses and Victims (Lembaga Perlindungan Saksi dan Korban, LPSK) to ask them to oversee and provide protection to witnesses and victims throughout the investigative process. Gobai reported that the local community had been living in fear and trauma since the 8 December shootings.

Mende has also stated that an armed rebel group led by Leo Yogi could have been responsible for the shootings, despite several well-documented accounts by eyewitnesses and Papuan human rights sources that clearly describe military and police responsibility for the shootings. Laurenzus Kadepa, a member of the Papua Legislative Council, told Jubi that he suspected that a fire that had broken out in a junior high school in Enarotali was possibly intended to prevent a resolution to the case. The Junior High Gospel Church Educational Institute (Yayasan Pendidikan Persekolahan Gereja Injil, YPPGI) was attended by two of the four students who were shot dead on 8 December 2014.

On 28 January, the Independent Student Forum (Forum Independen Mahasiswa, FIM) held a peaceful demonstration in Jayapura calling for accountability for the case. The demonstration was dispersed by Abepura District police (Kepolisian Sektor Abepura) who claimed that they did not have permission to demonstrate.

Abepura prison guard raped a juvenile detainee

Information received from lawyers with KontraS Papua (Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan Papua) reported the rape of a juvenile prisoner by a prison guard in Abepura prison. The incident allegedly took place on 17 November 2014 when Lodwik Entong, the Sub-Section Chief of Abepura prison, attacked the minor in his prison cell. Lawyers providing legal accompaniment to the victim reported that Jayapura High Court judges blamed the rape on the victim, reportedly because of his ‘effeminate nature’. Lawyers are currently coordinating with the Head of the Correctional Division (Kepala Divisi Pemasyarakatan, Kadiv Pas) of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights (Kementerian Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia, Kemenkumham Provinsi Papua) to transfer the victim to Biak prison due to fears of retaliation. The victim could also be closer to his family if he was transferred to Biak prison. Further court hearings will take place in March.

UNCEN students threatened by intelligence officers

An article by Suara Papua reported intimidation and threats faced by two Cenderawasih University (Universitas Cenderawasih, UNCEN) students from officers from the National Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelejen Negara, BIN). On 7 February, Kansiskoris Mahuze was reportedly followed by seven people who monitored him outside his house in Waena, Jayapura. Mahuze’s wife overhead their conversation, where they reportedly discussed their plans of kidnapping him and another UNCEN student, Benyamin Lagowan. Lagowan told Papuan news site Suara Papua that he had been followed and monitored by intelligence officers previously. The two men are politically active students involved with the Medical Faculty Solidarity for Student Health (Solidaritas Mahasiswa Kesehatan Peduli Fakultas Kedokteran, SMKP-FK).

News

Human rights lawyers come together to address security

On 16 and 17 February, a focus group discussion was organised by the Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid, (Yayasan Lembaga Penelitian, Pengkajian dan Pengembangan Bantuan Hukum, LP3BH) on the theme of the System of Protection for Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders in Papua. The focus group was attended by lawyers who are at high levels of risk of threats, harassment, intimidation and physical attacks due to their work with cases involving human rights violations. The focus group will work together to coordinate several action points and strategic programmes to address these issues.

February 2015 Papuan political prisoners

Prisoner Arrested Charges Sentence Case Accused of violence? Concerns reported re legal process? Prison / Place of detention
1 Areki Wanimbo 6 August 2014 Articles 106 and 110 Awaiting trial French journalists arrests in Wamena Uncertain Uncertain Wamena
2 Yosep Siep 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Awaiting trial Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Uncertain Wamena
3 Ibrahim Marian 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Awaiting trial Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Uncertain Wamena
4 Marsel Marian 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Awaiting trial Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Uncertain Wamena
5 Yance Walilo 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Awaiting trial Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Uncertain Wamena
6 Yosasam Serabut 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Awaiting trial Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Uncertain Wamena
7 Alapia Yalak 4 June 2014 Unknown Police investigation pending Yahukimo arrests Yes Yes Papua Police Headquarters
8 Lendeng Omu 21 May 2014 Unknown Police investigation pending Yahukimo arrests Uncertain Yes Yahukimo Regional police station
9 Jemi Yermias Kapanai 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
10 Septinus Wonawoai 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
11 Rudi Otis Barangkea 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
12 Kornelius Woniana 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
13 Peneas Reri 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
14 Salmon Windesi 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
15 Obeth Kayoi 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
16 Soleman Fonataba 17 December 2013 106, 110)1, 53, 55 Trial beginning on 6 August Sarmi 2013 Morning Star flag arrests No / not yet clear No On bail, cannot leave Sarmi
17 Edison Werimon 13 December 2013 106, 110)1, 53, 55 Trial beginning on 6 August Sarmi 2013 Morning Star flag arrests No / not yet clear No On bail, cannot leave Sarmi
18 Piethein Manggaprouw 19 October 2013 106, 110 2 years Third Papuan Congress demo in Biak No Yes Biak
19 Oktovianus Warnares 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 7 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
20 Yoseph Arwakon 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years and 6 months Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
21 Markus Sawias 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
22 George Syors Simyapen 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 4.5 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
23 Jantje Wamaer 1 May 2013 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years and 6 months Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
24 Isak Klaibin 30 April

2013

106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 3 years and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong
25 Isak Demetouw (alias Alex Makabori) 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Abepura
26 Niko Sasomar 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Abepura
27 Sileman Teno 3 March 2013 110; Article 2, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Abepura
28 Jefri Wandikbo 7 June 2012 340, 56, Law 8/1981 8 years KNPB activist tortured in Jayapura Yes Yes Abepura
29 Darius Kogoya 1 May 2012 106 3 years 1 May demo and flag-raising No No Abepura
30 Wiki Meaga 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
31 Meki Elosak 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
32 Filep Karma 1 December 2004 106 15 years Abepura flag-raising 2004 No Yes Abepura
33 Yusanur Wenda 30 April 2004 106 17 years Wunin arrests Yes No Wamena
34 Linus Hiel Hiluka 27 May 2003 106 19 years and 10 months Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Nabire
35 Kimanus Wenda 12 April 2003 106 19 years and 10 months Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Nabire
36 Jefrai Murib 12 April 2003 106 Life Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Abepura
37 Numbungga Telenggen 11 April 2003 106 Life Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Biak
38 Apotnalogolik Lokobal 10 April 2003 106 20 years Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Biak

Papuans Behind Bars aims to provide accurate and transparent data, published in English and Indonesian, to facilitate direct support for prisoners and promote wider debate and campaigning in support of free expression in West Papua.

Papuans Behind Bars is a collective effort initiated by Papuan civil society groups working together as the Civil Society Coalition to Uphold Law and Human Rights in Papua. It is a grassroots initiative and represents a broad collaboration between lawyers, human rights groups, adat groups, activists, journalists and individuals in West Papua, as well as Jakarta-based NGOs and international solidarity groups.

Questions, comments and corrections are welcomed, and you can write to us at info.

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