Category Archives: Human Rights Report

Papuans Behind Bars: June 2015: Lawyers denied access while detainees tortured

Update from our partners,

In brief

At the end of June 2015, there were at least 45 political prisoners in Papua.

Information received from defence lawyers in Manokwari reported that three detainees who were arrested last month for their involvement in a peaceful demonstration were severely beaten in detention by police Mobile Brigade (Brigade Mobil, Brimob) officers. At least one of the three, KNPB member Alexander Nekenem, was tortured by Brimob officers who stubbed cigarettes out on him. Under instructions from the Head of the Manokwari Regional Police, AKP Tommy H. Pontororing, lawyers were denied access to their three clients following the escape of Narko Murib, a fourth detainee in the same case. Due to barriers to access, lawyers only found out about the torture and ill-treatment endured by the detainees several days after.

A second case involving arbitrary violence perpetrated by Brimob officers was that of the fatal shooting of Yoteni Agapa, a 19-year-old Papuan in Ugapuga village in Dogiyai Regency. Brimob officers shot Agapa when he started arguing with them regarding a confrontation that had occurred earlier in the day. This tendency for Brimob officers to respond in such a trigger-happy manner is not uncommon. Since the start of 2015, at least two people have died and seven have been injured as a result of excessive use of force and misuse of firearms by police in Papua. So far, there have been no independent investigations into these incidents and thus the perpetrators continue to enjoy total impunity.

Ongoing investigations by the National Human Rights Commission (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM) into the ‘Bloody Paniai’ incident of December 2014 seem to have stalled, reportedly due to a lack of funding. Additionally, separate investigations conducted by the Ministry of Politics, Law and Security alongside the Papuan National Police, criticized by human rights observers as lacking credibility, seem to be complicating matters still further.

14 students were arrested in Abepura and Waena for fundraising in support of the Komnas HAM investigations into Bloody Paniai. This case echoes the Yahukimo arrests in March 2015, where more than a hundred people were arrested in relation to a week-long fundraising event for Cyclone Pam victims in Vanuatu. The arrests show that public rallies of any kind in Papua continue to be suppressed, even those for humanitarian purposes.


KNPB Yahukimo member arrested in Sentani

Majalah Selangkah reported that on 15 June, Arnes Silak, a KNPB Yahukimo member, was arrested at Sentani Airport in Jayapura. Silak was on his way back to Yahukimo after seeking medical treatment in Jayapura. KNPB Yahukimo’s leader Marten Suhuniap stated in Majalah Selangkah that KNPB members in Yahukimo had previously received threats and were constantly followed by intelligence officers. It remains unclear what charges, if any, Silak is facing. He is currently being detained at the Papua Provincial Police Headquarters (Kepolisian Daerah Papua, Polda Papua).

23 people detained for 24 hours for participating in a peaceful political discussion

On 3 June at around 16:00 Papua time, 23 people were arrested for participating in a meeting held at the Sinapuk Indigenous Council Office (Kantor Dewan Adat Sinapuk) in Wamena. Information received from the Advocacy Network for Upholding Law and Human Rights (Jaringan Advokasi Penegakan Hukum dan HAM Pegunungan Tengah Papua, JAPH&HAM) reported that the purpose of the meeting was to hold a discussion on opening democratic space in Papua and to conduct an evaluation of a demonstration that was planned for 28 May but was disallowed by the Jayawijaya Regional police.

During the arrests, police reportedly confiscated items from the Sinapuk Indigenous Council, including 56 arrows, four bows, two axes, seven knives and a book on the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). The 23 detainees were brought to Jayawijaya Regional Police Station.

In reaction to these arrests, the following day on 4 June, hundreds of community members rallied outside the police station to demand the release of the 23 detainees. They were released at 16:00 Papua time.

ULMWP demo dispersed in Sorong; 1 KNPB member arrested

Papuan news site reported that on 16 June, Nando Kagoya was arrested in Sorong and questioned for several hours before being released without charge. Kogoya was arrested while on his way to participate in a KNPB-organised march in support of the ULMWP bid for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). Protestors who took part in the march were forcefully dispersed by Sorong Regional Police. Kogoya was arrested at a roadblock where police stopped and searched motorists in the area. He was detained when police found a KNPB leaflet in his bag.

14 students arrested for collecting donations for Bloody Paniai investigation

On 22 June, 14 students were arrested in Abepura and Waena for collecting donations in support of investigations by the National Human Rights Commission (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM) into the ‘Bloody Paniai’ incident that took place last December. Papuan media reported that the slow progress made by Komnas HAM’s Ad Hoc Team in charge of conducting investigations into the incident was due to a lack of funding. The 14 students, who were members of the Independent Students Forum (Forum Independen Mahasiswa, FIM), were detained for several hours at Jayapura Regional Police Station before being released without charge. According to a report by KontraS Papua (Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan Papua) and Unite for Truth (Bersatu Untuk Kebenaran, BUK), the students collected donations as an act of protest against Komnas HAM who have been criticised as slow and ineffective in their investigations into Bloody Paniai.


Two Pisugi detainees released pending appeal; two escaped

Lawyers with the Democracy Alliance for Papua (Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua, AlDP) reported that Jhoni Marian and Marthen Marian have been released following the end of their one-year prison terms. Whereas Yali Walilo and Ibrahim Marian reportedly escaped from prison at some point during the last month. Yosep Siep, who suffered psychological and physical ailments, has returned to his home village in Pisugi district. His trial is expected to be resumed once he receives medical treatment and is considered fit to stand trial.

Even though Jhoni Marian and Marthen Marian have been released, a ruling by the Jayapura High Court (Pengadilan Tinggi Jayapura) increasing their initial prison sentences from one to three years’ imprisonment means that they are still at risk of re-imprisonment. However, due to an appeal submitted to the Indonesian Supreme court by AlDP lawyers challenging this ruling, they are not required to remain in detention while the decision is being considered. The Supreme Court decision will determine whether the two men will be required to serve the increased prison sentence.

Previously, the Wamena District Court sentenced the Jhoni Marian, Marthen Marian, Yali Walilo and Ibrahim Marian to one-year imprisonment each under charges of conspiracy to endanger security under Articles 187 and 164 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.  They were accused of making Molotov cocktail bombs in attempts to disrupt voting during the Presidential elections of July 2014.

Defence lawyers with the Democracy Alliance for Papua (Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua, AlDP) stated that the decision was taken despite witness testimony from police stating that the four men were not involved in the acts of arson of which they are suspected. Additionally, the four men were tortured while in detention in Jayawijaya Regional Police Station. During court hearings in March, they testified that they had been forced to confess to charges under torture.

As Jhoni Marian and Marthen Marian are still at risk of re-imprisonment and Yosep Siep remains at risk of standing trial, they will remain our list of political prisoners.

Political trials and cases overview

Three in Manokwari MSG demo case ill-treated in detention; one detainee escaped

Lawyers from LP3BH (Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid, Lembaga Penelitian, Pengkajian dan Pengembangan Bantuan Hukum) reported that Alexander Nekenem, Yoram Magai and Othen Gombo (alias Maikel Aso) have been ill-treated in detention following the escape of a fourth detainee in the same case, Narko Murib (alias Novi Umawak), from police Brimob Headquarters in Manokwari on 15 June.

On 20 May, Nekenem, Magai, Gombo and Murib were arrested for their involvement in a demonstration in support of a bid by the ULMWP for MSG membership. They were charged with incitement under Article 160 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.

On 1 June, Nekenem, Murib and Gombo were questioned regarding their involvement with the KNPB. When questioned, Murib stated that he had led a prayer session during the demonstration before it was forcibly dispersed. Following the dispersal of the demonstration, he returned to attend a class at the State University of Papua (Universitas Papua, UNIPA), where he is enrolled as a student. Murib later received word that his friends had been detained following the dispersal of the demonstration and that they were being denied food in detention. Upon hearing this, he decided to bring food to those detained at the Brimob Headquarters. However, when he arrived to the Brimob Headquarters, he was himself detained, as he had been seen being involved in the demonstration earlier in the day. On 9 June, the period of detention for the four men was extended to 19 July 2015.

On 15 June, LP3BH lawyers received information that Narko Murib had escaped from the Brimob Headquarters. The following day, lawyers met with the Head of the Criminal Investigation Unit (Kepala Satuan Reserse dan Kriminal, Kasat Reskrim) of Manokwari Regional Police, AKP Tommy H. Pontororing, and asked to meet with the three remaining detainees who had been transferred from the Brimob Headquarters to holding cells at Manokwari Regional Police Station. However, police informed lawyers that they were not allowed to visit the three detainees at that moment and told them to return the next morning.

Upon gaining access to Nekenem, Magai and Gombo the following morning, lawyers found that the three men had been severely beaten by four Brimob officers while in detention in the Brimob Headquarters. Nekenem was tortured by Brimob officers who stubbed cigarettes out on him. He also suffered a bruised jaw from heavy beatings. The three men are currently being held in an isolation cell in Manokwari Regional Police Station. They are reportedly not allowed access to proper sanitation or toilets and were only given plastic bags and bottles to use. The men are forced not to eat most of the food brought by their families due to the lack of access to proper toilets.

Cases of concern

Group of Papuan youth attacked by Brimob in Dogiyai Regency; one shot dead

According to information received from several human rights sources, on 25 June, a group of ten Papuan youths was reportedly attacked by Brimob officers in Ugapuga village in Dogiyai Regency. A report from a Nabire-based human rights investigator stated that the ten men were attacked by Brimob officers following a road accident which led to the injuring of a dog which belonged to one of the men. Angered by the accident, the group attempted to extract money from passing drivers. This was then reported by one of the drivers to the police, which led to Brimob officers arriving at the scene.

According to eyewitness accounts recorded by KontraS Papua, BUK and the Paniai Indigenous Council (Dewan Adat Paniai), Brimob officers arrived at around 22:00, in a Toyota Avanza car and confronted the group. When Yoteni Agapa, one of the men in the group, argued back, he was shot in the chest twice. He then attempted to run away, but was shot two more times in the right arm. A few seconds later he collapsed to the floor and died. One of the men in the group, Melianus Mote, was slashed in the arm with a bayonet blade when he started to run away. According to a report by Jubi, the eight other men in the group may also have suffered injuries when they ran away. Brimob officers reportedly continued to kick and beat Agapa with rifle butts even though he was already lifeless.

At around 00:00, Agapa’s body was taken back to his home village of Jigiugi in Ugapuga district. Community members in the area also found and kept the bullet casings from Agapa’s shooting. The following two days, on 26 and 27 June, the Ugapuga District police and Brimob officers visited Agapa’s family to ask their permission to conduct an autopsy on Agapa and to return the bullet casings found at the scene. Both requests were refused by the family.


House of Representatives rejects political prisoners pardon

The Jakarta Post reported that on 22 June, a proposal put forward by President Joko Widodo for a second, broader release of Papuan political prisoners was rejected during a hearing with Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representatives. There were concerns that releases “would go on to inflame separatism.” Commission I Deputy Chairman Tantowi Yahya told Indonesian press that “a comprehensive roadmap” would first need to be implemented before support would be given to the plan.

Following the Commission I meeting, Indonesian Military Chief General Moeldoko told Indonesian press that the military were considering “appointing guards to accompany foreign journalists” reporting in Papua.

Papua Itu Kita cultural event aims to destigmatise Papuans

On 13 June, activists from Papua Itu Kita (We are Papua), a campaigning movement based in Jakarta, held an event at the Ismail Marzuki Park (Taman Ismail Marzuki, TIM) aimed at spreading awareness of Papuan culture and issues through song, dance and storytelling. The day-long event was attended by hundreds of participants, including members of the public, Papuan activists and human rights groups based in Jakarta. Reverend Benny Giay, the leader of the Tabernacle Church in Papua (Kingmi Papua), who spoke at the event raised the issue of the history of violence in Papua and suggested a national day of mourning in Indonesia to remember victims of human rights violations in Papua.

June 2015 Papuan Political Prisoners

No Prisoner Arrested Charges Sentence Case Accused of violence? Concerns reported re legal process? Prison/Place of detention
1 Arnes Silak 15 June 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending KNPB Sentani Airport arrest Uncertain Uncertain Papuan Police Headquarters
2 Yafet Keiya 28 May 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending MSG demo in Nabire Uncertain Uncertain Nabire
3 Ottis Munipa 28 May 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending MSG demo in Nabire Uncertain Uncertain Nabire
4 Wamoka Yudas Kossay 22 May 2015 Article 160 Awaiting trial MSG demo in Biak Uncertain Uncertain Biak
5 Apolos Sroyer 20 May 2015 Article 160 Awaiting trial MSG demo in Biak Uncertain Uncertain Biak
6 Dorteus Bonsapia 20 May 2015 Article 160 Awaiting trial MSG demo in Biak Uncertain Uncertain Biak
7 Alexander Nekenem 20 May 2015 Article 160 Awaiting trial MSG demo in Manokwari Uncertain Yes Manokwari
8 Yoram Magai 20 May 2015 Article 160 Awaiting trial MSG demo in Manokwari Uncertain Yes Manokwari
9 Othen Gombo 20 May 2015 Article 160 Awaiting trial MSG demo in Manokwari Uncertain Yes Manokwari
10 Ruben Furay 1 May 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending Kaimana 1 May 2015 Uncertain Uncertain Kaimana
11 Sepi Surbay 1 May 2015 Uncertain Police investigation pending Kaimana 1 May 2015 Uncertain Uncertain Kaimana
12 Domingus Babika 1 May 2015 Unclear Police investigation pending Manokwari 1 May 2015 Uncertain Uncertain Manokwari Regional Police Station
13 Dr Don Flassy* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 55(1),53(1) On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
14 Dr Lawrence Mehue* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 55(1),53(1) On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
15 Mas Jhon Ebied Suebu* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 108(2), 55(1), 53(1) On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
16 Onesimus Banundi* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 108(2), 55(1), 53(1) On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
17 Elias Ayakeding* 14 April 2015 Articles 106, 160 On bail KIP treason arrests Uncertain Uncertain Bailed, city arrest, cannot leave Jayapura
18 Kelpis Wenda 17 March 2015 Emergency Law 12/1951 On trial Lanny Jaya torture Yes Yes Wamena
19 Kamori Murib 9 December 2014 Emergency Law 12/1951 On trial Lanny Jaya torture Yes Yes Wamena
20 Yosep Siep 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Supreme Court appeal being considered Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Released pending appeal
21 Marthen Marian 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Supreme Court appeal being considered Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Released pending appeal
22 Jhoni Marian 9 July 2014 Articles 187, 164 Supreme Court appeal being considered Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Released pending appeal
23 Alapia Yalak 4 June 2014 Uncertain Police investigation pending Yahukimo arrests Yes Yes Papua Police Headquarters
 24 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
25 Septinus Wonawoai 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
26 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
27 Kornelius Woniana 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
28 Peneas Reri 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
29 Salmon Windesi 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
30 Obeth Kayoi 1 February 2014 Articles 106, 108, 110 and Emergency Law 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
31 Soleman Fonataba* 17 December 2013 Articles 106, 110)1, 53, 55 1.5 years city arrest, appeal pending Sarmi 2013 Melanesian flag arrests No / not yet clear No On bail, cannot leave Sarmi
32 Edison Werimon* 13 December 2013 Articles 106, 110)1, 53, 55 1.5 years city arrest, appeal pending Sarmi 2013 Melanesian flag arrests No / not yet clear No On bail, cannot leave Sarmi
33 Piethein Manggaprouw 19 October 2013 Articles 106, 110 2 years Third Papuan Congress demo in Biak No Yes Biak
34 Oktovianus Warnares 1 May 2013 Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 7 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
35 Yoseph Arwakon 1 May 2013 Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years and 6 months Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
36 Markus Sawias 1 May 2013 Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
37 George Syors Simyapen 1 May 2013 Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 4.5 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
38 Jantje Wamaer 1 May 2013 Articles 106, 110, Emergency Law 12/1951 2 years and 6 months Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
39 Isak Klaibin 30 April2013 Articles 06, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 3 years and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong
40 Jefri Wandikbo 7 June 2012 Articles 340, 56,  Law 8/1981 8 years KNPB activist tortured in Jayapura Yes Yes Abepura
41 Darius Kogoya 1 May 2012 106 3 years 1 May demo and flag-raising No No Abepura
42 Wiki Meaga 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
43 Meki Elosak 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
44 Filep Karma 1 December 2004 106 15 years Abepura flag-raising 2004 No Yes Abepura
45 Yusanur Wenda 30 April 2004 106 17 years Wunin arrests Yes No Wamena

* While these detainees have been bailed and are not currently behind bars, they continue to face charges and are currently undergoing investigation. As they are vulnerable to re-arrest, we will continue to monitor any developments in these cases.

West Papua Oil Palm Atlas: The companies behind the plantation explosion

From our hardworking partners at AwasMIFEE

April 30, 2015

West Papua Oil Palm Atlas:
The companies behind the plantation explosion.

-a comprehensive investigation into the oil palm industry in West Papua,
published by awasMIFEE and Pusaka, together with local Papuan
organisations Belantara Papua, Bin Madag Hom, Jasoil, SKP KAME and Jerat
Papua, and Sawit Watch.

Available for download:


Indonesia’s oil palm industry is moving east. With large tracts of land
increasingly difficult to find in Sumatra and Borneo, plantation
companies are now focussing their attention on Indonesia’s eastern
frontier: the small islands of the Maluku archipelago and especially the
conflict-ridden land of West Papua.

In 2005 there were only five oil palm plantations operating in West
Papua. By the end of 2014 there were 21 operational plantations. This
rapid expansion is set to continue with another 20 concessions at an
advanced stage of the permit process, and many more companies that have
been issued with an initial location permit. If all these plantations
were developed, more than 2.6 million hectares of land would be used up,
the vast majority of which is currently tropical forest.

Almost without exception, these plantations have caused conflict with
the local indigenous communities who depend on the forest – lowland
Papuans are mostly hunters and gatherers to some degree. The conflicts
have centred around community’s refusal to hand over their land, demand
for justice in the cases where they feel the land has been taken from
them by deceit or intimidation, horizontal conflicts between
neighbouring villages or clans, action by indigenous workers who feel
they are exploited, or aggression by police or military working as
security guards for the plantation companies.

The West Papua Oil Palm Atlas, published by awasMIFEE, Pusaka and six
other organisations, is an attempt to provide a picture of this
developing industry. Who are the companies involved? Where are they
operating? Which areas will be the next hotspots? The aim is to be part
of a process to push for more open and accessible information about
resource exploitation industries in West Papua – currently local
administrations and companies are often reluctant to share information
about permits, meaning that communities often know nothing of plantation
plans until a company shows up, trying to acquire their land.

Indonesian law does recognise communal land rights for indigenous
customary communities, but in reality those communities often face
considerable pressure to give up that land, and are rarely given more
than US$30 per hectare in compensation. It is hoped that this
publication can become a tool for indigenous peoples and social
movements who wish to understand the oil palm industry and defend their
forest against these land grabbers, as they themselves should be the
ones to determine what kinds of development will benefit their communities.

For environmentalists and supporters of indigenous struggles around the
world, we hope that this will also be a useful insight into the dynamics
of the plantation industry and the threats it is causing in the third
largest tropical forest in the world. Using the excuse of the conflict
around the independence movement, the Indonesian government makes it
very difficult for international observers to access West Papua, and
this has probably also resulted in a lack of awareness internationally
about the ecological threats. Yesterday (29th April) human rights groups
throughout West Papua, Indonesia and in over 22 cities around the world
held demonstrations for open access to Papua, which has long been a
demand of many Papuan movements. Publishing this Oil Palm Atlas is also
an attempt to break the isolation of Papua, by focussing attention on
the issue of indigenous land rights, in a context where local
communities which choose to oppose plantation companies often feel
intimidated by state security forces which back up the companies.

Direct download link:


Jubi: Marine working for PT Dongin Prabhawa shoots local man in Mappi

From our partners at Tabloid Jubi (Translated by awasMifee)

February 10, 2015

Talema Waitipo, a 19-year old resident of the Maam area, Bade District,
Mappi Regency, is currently in a weak condition as he lies in a bed at the Naval hospital in Merauke.  He is believed to be the victim of shooting by an (Indonesian Navy) Marine officer, who was providing security for PT
Dongin Prabhawa’s oil palm plantation.

He was shot in the left thigh, the bullet exiting at the back of his leg, and also in his chest. Another man, Yance Doga, is also believed to have a been wounded in the hand by a bayonet.  Both are currently undergoing treatment.

A family member of the victim, Bernardus Wuka, related that although he had not been present when the incident took place, several local
residents had told him that Talema had been shot by a member of the
marine corps who was guarding PT Dongin Prabhawa’s operational area. He also believed Yance had been stabbed by a member of the armed forces.

He went on to explain that the alleged shooting had taken place on the
8th February 2015 at around 03.00 local time. Both victims were brought
to PT Dongin Prabhawa’s clinic in Bade District, but as the equipment
there was insufficient to treat their injuries, they were brought to
Merauke to be treated in the Naval hospital.

“Actually the condition of both Talema and Yance is gradually improving.
They will both need treatment for several days more, especially Talema
who was shot. He is still not able to communicate properly because of
the injury he has suffered”, said Wuka.

Jubi has also received information that on 7th February 2015, there was
a birthday party which was followed up by dancing and drinking strong
alcohol. That party continued to the next morning. With several people
under the influence of alcohol there was some friction which ended up in squabbles between the people present.

A few moments later, naval marine officers arrived on the scene, tried
to break up the fight, and fired warning shots into the air. It seems that those shots did not disperse the people, who instead attacked (the Marines) back.

Several hours later, the source continued, there was a search and the
two injured men were discovered. At that moment they were rushed to the company’s clinic to help them.  The victims’ families were feeling
unsatisfied and started damaging some of the clinic’s facilities.

Separately, the Commandant of the Merauke Naval Base, Brigadier General Buyung Lalana, made a statement to the press that the initial trigger for the incident was strong alcohol. There had been an event taking place in the Maam area.

Some residents were disturbed by the event because of the drinking, the Naval Commander said, and so combined military and police security forces, including the marines, conducted a patrol. The presence of security personnel was thought to have disturbed and impeded the party.

“There was a group of people under the influence of alcohol, who started making trouble. So one of our members let off some shots into the air. At the beginning they were fighting between themselves”, he said.

He acknowledged that people were injured and had been brought to a
clinic owned by PT Dongin Prabhawa for treatment. “I have received
reports from our personnel that the victim’s wounds were not caused by
gunshots,” he clarified.

Nevertheless, the naval base commander promises to conduct further
investigation. If security personnel have been out of line, action would
be taken in accordance with procedures. On the other hand, if residents
are out of line and want to do something that will disturb the peace of
the majority, that of course would not be tolerated. (Frans L Kobun)

[awasMIFEE note: Obviously further clarification is needed around this
incident, but the indications are of an extremely disproportionate use
of force by military personnel responding to an incident of drunken
brawling. This militaristic approach to local incidents of public
disorder is common in Papua, and is often linked to military or police
mobile brigade employed by plantation companies as security guards. It
is also not the first time that naval personnel stationed in Bade have
violently intervened in local disputes: in February 2014 Blasius
Sumaghai was beaten with rifle butts and hosepipes, leaving him unable
to walk for four days.]

As President celebrates ‘Sail Raja Ampat’, one of his critics is abducted, killed and dumped at sea

(Apologies for the delay in Posting to the site (all news still is being delivered to journalists direct as it breaks). WPM has been under severe security threat from Indonesian agents in Papua and Australia, associated with the arrests of French journalists).

Reports from our network partners at AwasMifee

On 19th August, Martinus Yohame in his role as the chair of the Sorong Branch of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) held a press conference, explaining his organisation’s opposition to the Indonesian President’s visit to the area to open the Sail Raja Ampat event aimed at promoting tourism to Papua. He also raised the issue of illegal logging. The next day he disappeared.

As friends and colleagues spent the subsequent days searching for him, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the sailing regatta, where he once again promised extra funds to develop infrastructure for infrastructure in Papua, and also inaugurated a statue of Jesus Christ on Marsinam Island near Manokwari.

Then on the 26th, a fisherman found the body of Martinus Yohame floating by the shore in at Nana Island, near Sorong. He had been shot in the chest, his face smashed up, and with another wound in his stomach. He had been placed in a sack, with his arms and legs tied. His abductors remain unknown.

This story has not yet received widespread coverage in the Papuan media, and at the time of writing the KNPB had yet to issue a statement on its website. Tabloidjubi however has picked up the story – here is a translation of one of their articles:

Deceased Sorong KNPB Chair believed to have been disappeared.

Jayapura, 26/8 (Jubi) – Martinus Yohame, Chair of the Greater Sorong area branch of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) was found found dead floating near the shore of Nana Island, in the Doom Island area of Sorong. He is believed to have been disappeared.

A spokesperson for the Papua-wide KNPB, Basoka Logo made this clear to He said that previously on the evening of Wednesday 20th August, the KNPB had received information that Martinus Yohame had been abducted.

“But we can’t be sure yet who his captors were. Now today we have heard the news that he has been found dead. We cannot yet say which group is responsible for his diasppearance.  At the current time we are
still unsure,” Basoka Logo said via his mobile phone on Tuesday (26/8).

He explained that the late Martinus Yohame was responsible for the Bird’s Head peninsula area of West Papua. He could not give any further information at the time as he had not received a full report from his colleagues in Sorong.

“Just now we only received a short report about the death of the Sorong KNPB Chair – what I know is that he was found near the Kota Baru area, and his body is currently lying at the Sorong KNPB secretariat”, he said.

At present, according to Logo, colleagues in Sorong are still collecting data and statements about the death of the Chair of the KNPB in Sorong. “Only when this is done will we be able to give a full statement. The First Chair of the KNPB central organisation, Agus Kosay just arrived in Sorong by plane. It was him that officially reported to us that it was true the Chair of the KNPB in Sorong had been found,” he said.

The chair of the KNPB in the Bird’s Head region, including Greater Sorong, Martin Yohame, was tragically found dead some time before, his body was discovered by a fisherman on Tuesday morning (26/8) at around 7.00 am local time floating near Nana Island, not far from the Doom Island area. When found, Martinus’s body had been tied up tightly in a sack. Both his legs and arms had also been tied, presumably hoping his body would sink to the bottom of the ocean.

According to the Sorong City General Hospital’s examination, a gunshot wound was found on the left side of his chest. The victims face was also smashed up by being hit by a hard object, “We found a gunshot wound in his left chest. His face was destroyed,” said Yori, a worker at the hospital.
The Sorong police chief Adjunct Commissioner Harri Golden Hart confirmed that a body had been found. “We are still in the process of identification, and finding out whether it is true that he was killed,” Harri said.

After the autopsy, the victim’s family and KNPB members brought the victim’s body to be laid out in the house of mourning in Malanu village, in the Papua Christian University complex.

From data collected by tabloid jubi, the external examination conducted at the Sorong City General Hospital revealed a hole in the left chest 1x1cm, and another in the right side of the stomach of around 2x3cm. The man’s height was 179 cm and he had dreadlocks.

Before his body was found, the KNPB had issued a statement with some further details of the press conference and what happened afterwards, along with their guesses for possible abductors and their motives. This is an excerpt from that statement, as published on

We believe that the Sorong KNPB chair was abducted by Kopassus [army special forces] or BIN [state intelligence agency] because on the 20th he received a phone call from someone and went outside. Now five days have passed but he hasn’t been found.

Previously on 19th August Martinus Yohame and other KNPB officials held a press conference at 15.00 Papuan time in front of the Sorong Mayor’s office, attended by several reporters from the Sorong area, in connection with the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s visit to Papua and in particular to the Sorong area to open the Sail Raja Ampat event in Waisai, on Saturday 23rd August 2014.

Martinus Yohame, supported by the deputy chair of the KNPB, Kantius H, invited journalists from several print media organisations to use information from the press conference in their reports about the president’s visit KNPB used the opportunity to express their opposition to President SBY’s visit to the land of Papua.

At the same time they expressed their opposition to illegal logging, exploiting Papua’s natural riches and developing Raja Ampat as a Global Marine Tourism centre, all of which they judge to be stealing from and destroying Papua’s ecosystems and forests with no benefit for the people of Papua as a whole who own the land and resources.

This is why the KNPB and the PRD (People’s Regional Parliament) are clear in their opposition. We believe he was abducted by the security forces or the intelligence agency as part of their efforts to secure SBY’s visit, which the KNPB opposes.

Just two minutes after the press meeting finished at 3.15, a woman telephoned the KNPB Sorong chair. This woman claimed to be from the National Human Rights Commission in Jakarta, and she wanted to meet.  Several moments later, she came to meet the KNPB chair and his group outside the mayor’s office in a red Avanza. Inside was a man with a large Canon video camera, and they invited Martinus Yohame to accompany them to the Sorong Mega Mall, at the 9km post. The woman then took them to eat in a cafe next to the Megamall, and while they ate they held a meeting, although it is not known what they spoke about in this meeting.

Before the meeting broke up, he and the woman exchanged mobile phone numbers. The woman then said that “the next meeting will take place on Wednesday 20th August and we will get in touch”.

Afterwards they maintained communication via telephone and text message, with the last message on Wednesday 20th at 12.00 Papua time. That night they told Martinus to leave his house and it was on the street that they abducted him. He has not been found until now….

Source: Umagi News

The West Papua National Committee is an organisation that believes West Papua should have the right to self determination. It was formed in around 2009, but after it gained prominence with a series of large demonstrations demanding a referendum on independence there was a major crackdown, with many leaders around Papua jailed or killed, especially in 2012.  Since that wave of repression, the KNPB has found it difficult to organise, as local leaders are often detained a day or two days before a planned demonstration or significant event.

If elements of the Indonesian State were indeed responsible for Martinus Yohame’s disappearance, it is likely that he was targeted for his pro-independence stance. However, it is worth remembering that in the press conference before he disappeared Martinus Yohame also spoke of the problems of illegal logging and the tourism industry, and he is not the first KNPB leader have raised the issues of natural resource development that marginalises the Papuan people.  At the same time, indigenous people are threatened by state security forces of being treated as separatists when they state their opposition to development projects. The climate of intimidation in Papua is not limited to the independence movement alone, but impacts all areas in which Papuan people need to assert their needs and desires for a more just future.

As Martinus Yohame was being brutally beaten, or maybe he was already dead by that time, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was nearby on Raja Ampat celebrating the progress made in his development-focussed strategy for Papua, making statements such as “ lets keep going with the positive development that has already been achieved in Papua and West Papua”.  His audience of civil servants and tourism executives listened and watched as a flotilla of boats including 14 Indonesian navy ships as well as warships from the US, Australia and Singapore joined a sail past. Media hailed the event as a great success.

West Papua Media has highly credible but unconfirmed reports that Martinus Yohame was also targeted by Indonesian intelligence for potentially having contact with the two French Journalists still being detained in Abepura.  Many of our people are currently in danger because of this situation.

50 Years of the Violation of Basic Human Rights in West Papua: Part one and two

Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of LP3BH, made in preparation for discussions that were due to take place at the beginning of 2014.]
March 10, 2014

As an organisation which advocates basic human rights in the Land of Papua, the LP3BH – Manokwari wishes to record to all those who have remained silent about the conditions now prevailing in the Land of Papua, the experiences of the indigenous Papuan people who have ceaselessly tried to ensure that no-one will forget what has been happening  in this territory since 1 May 1963 and what continues to happen systematically up to the present day

      To begin with, it is essential to understand the history, in order to understand who it was who was responsible for the status  imposed on the Land of Papua on 1 May 1963. The indigenous Papua people have every right to enjoy all the rights that have been stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and  various international covenants regarding economic, social and political rights  as well as other international covenants all of which have been disregarded with regard to the situation in West Papua.
      At the time of Papua’s incorporation into the Republic of Indonesia, Ali Murtopo (a senior adviser to the then president of Indonesia) was quoted as saying: “What we want and need is the land in Papua, not the Papuans who live there.”
      In 1967, a Contract of Work was concluded by Indonesia regarding the exploitation of the copper and gold and possibly also uranium around the Grasberg Mountain around Tembagapura which was widely known to the Indonesian government as well as a US multinational corporation called Freeport McMoran.
    This makes it very clear why the USA played such an active role on the diplomatic front to ensure that West Papua would be incorporated as part of Indonesia, despite the glaring differences between the Papuan people with regard to their history, as well as their anthropology and ethnography and people living in other parts of Indonesia.
      It was abundantly evident that the USA was very interested in the natural resources in West Papua which explains why that country took such an interest in this matter.
“Gentlemen, I am angry with God. Why has God created such beautiful mountains, valleys and rivers, rich with minerals and placed us, the indigenous peoples, here in this place that attracts so many people from around the world to come, exploit our resources, and kill us?”
 [Translator’s Note: This prayer was said in 1994 by a man who lived on the Grasberg Mountain, who bemoaned the fact that the territory inhabited by Amungme people was so richly endowed with natural resources of huge interest to the USA.]
       That man whose name was Tuarek Narkime delivered words that are widely known to and understood* by the leaders and people of the Amungme tribe in drawing attention to the many violations of the rights of these people which were perpetrated in the area when the Freeport mine was being  established, during the course of which many Amungme people lost their lives as a result of actions by Freeport personnel as well as by members of the Indonesian army and police, although none of these people have ever been called account before a court of law for what they have done.
     These introductory remarks provide the basis for everyone anywhere in the world and all democrats around the world to take a new look at the past as well at the present regarding the acts of violence that continue to occur in the vicinity of the Freeport mine without anyone ever being called to account for what they have done.

Ever since 1963 and 1967, the LP3BH has recorded the fact that the Republic of Indonesia has consistently used violence against the West Papuan people, something that even started to happen before those years.

    On 15 August 1962, when the New York  Agreement was signed by Indonesia and The Netherlands under the supervision of the United States of America, the Papuan people were not involved’ They were not even consulted for their opinion. Yet, at that time there was a New Guinea Council  which consisted of representatives of  the Papuan people, the members of which were chosen by means of democratically held elections which took place on 5 April 1961 in Hollandia (now called Jayapura).
      [All the names of the members of the Council who were elected, of whom 22 were Papuans, are listed  as well as those who were appointed which included one Papuan and five Dutch people, including one Indo-Dutch person.]
    Besides that, there were two major religious organisations, – the GKI [Evangelical Christian Church] and the Catholic Church] which were spread across  the whole of the Land of Papua. Yet, these churches were never consulted as part of civil society in the territory at the time. This was despite the fact that the UN was involved  in the creation of UNTEA as well as The Netherlands and the USA.
     What we mean by being consulted is all about the framework and  the possible problems that might arise among the indigenous Papuan people who were regarded as being too primitive  to take part in an election held according to the principle of ‘one person, one vote’. Were the towns and villages in West Papua too complex for the New Guinea Council or the two churches to choose their leaders? Such advice would have been very useful and important in deciding on on how to conduct the elections in accordance with the traditions  and customary laws that were vibrant among the Papuan people. who were supposed to have been consulted by means of the Act of Free Choice which was to have been held by 1969 in the Land of Papua.
     There was never any request for advice or opinion from the Papuan people. Still worse, what actually happened was that Papuans were arrested and even  cruelly tortured for allegedly being involved in an ‘underground movement’, with the intention of overthrowing the Indonesian Government. This is what happened to Baldus Mofu as a result of which he was mentally damaged at the hands of the military police and members of the Indonesian Air Force in Manokwari. Another Papua, Nicholas Tanggahma is believed to have died  after ingesting food that had been poisoned when he was staying at the Arfak Hotel in Manokwari in 1969.
     Several other members of the Council such as Marcus Kaisiepo and Nicholas Jouwe were arrested and taken to Europe prior to the Act of Free Choice. Others were treated in the same way, including E.J Bonay, F.K.T. Poana, A.S. Onim and Thontjee Meset.
     All these acts of violence were perpetrated by members of the Indonesian security forces, the TNI and Polri. and further intensified as the Act of Free Choice drew near in August 1969.
     The LP3BH is well aware of the fact that many activists in Biak, Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura, Wamena, Nabire  as well as in Merauke were arbitrarily arrested by the TNI and Polri some of whom were summarily killed. An example of what happened occurred on 28 July 1969 in Manokwari when 53 Papuans were summarily executed at the headquarters of the Infantry Battalion in Arfak-Manokwari.
     Such human rights violations have systematically occurred ever since that time, following the enactment of Law 12/1999. This was clarified in the General Remarks contained in paragraph 1, section 6 which state: ‘The Act of Free Choice  in West Irian  was a manifestation of the aspirations of the Papuan people and resulted in the people of Papua and  West Papua  expressing their wish to be united with the people of other regions of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, affirming  that West Papua is part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia.’
      The afore-mentioned statement became the legal basis for the Indonesian Government to enforce paragraphs 109 and 110 in law.  This codification was part of the law under the Dutch Constitution [Wetboek van Strafrecht]  whenever the government takes firm action against the Papuan people when they challenge  ‘Papua’s political integration’.
     As a result of all this, every time  that people in Papua or West Papua seek to challenge ‘political integration’  using their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Law 39/1999
on Basic Human Rights as well as universal human rights, they are accused of the crime of treason under the Indonesian Constitution.
      Such incidences occurred in Biak on 6 July 1999 when a group of Papuans unfurled the Morning Star Flag under the leadership of Filep Karma which resulted in his being subjected to acts of brutality by the TNI and Polri and which moreover resulted in dozens, even hundreds, of Papuans falling as victims, some of whom even lost their lives. All this resulted in Filep Karma and his colleagues facing the charge of treason.
(End of part on and  two of the translation.)
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, founder of Tapol