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Up-to-date information about the arrest of Papuans at 20 May demonstration

May 21, 2015

In a statement yesterday afternoon, the Executive-Director of LP3BH
said that he had received information about the demonstration from
the parents of children from the Amban elementary school which is
located near the junction in front of the campus of the University of
Papua (Unipa) Manokwari.

They told the LP3BH that their children had been hit by tear gas
bombs that were thrown by members of the security forces (Polri and
Brimob) when they were forcing the demonstrators to disperse in the
morning. Several witnesses said that police did not shoot directly
towards the demonstrators but directed the tear gas bombs to the left
and right of the demonstrators.

The police alleged that some people had thrown stones and bricks at
the police but whether the demonstrators had done so is not yet clear.

As a result of the use of tear gas, the eyesight of many of the
youngsters as well as some of the Unipa students was affected. It not
only damaged their eyesight but also causing breathing difficulties.

Furthermore, not only were the demonstrators dispersed but one of
the organisers of the demonstration, thirty-year old Alexander Nekenem
was arrested. Nekenem is chairperson of KNPB-Manokwari.

He was taken into custody along with about seventy others who were
all taken to police headquarters where they were subjected to
questioning by police officers until late in the evening. As yet, none
of these people have been released.

It should be made clear that the police chiefs are accountable
for the actions by their subordinates who used tear gas which resulted
in many of the demonstrators feeling sick as well as sustaining

The police chiefs also failed to ensure that Alexander Nekenem is
accompanied by a lawyer of his own choice while he is being
interrogated. This violates the stipulations in articles 54 and 55 of
Law 8/1981.

Alexander Nekenem and his seventy or so colleagues are still being
held at police headquarters and have not yet been allowed to have the
assistance of their own lawyers.


Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of the LP3BH

Translated by Carmel Budiardjo

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