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66 arrested, thousands rally for release of gaoled French journos, defying Police crackdown on calls to respect press freedom

By the West Papua Media team and local stringers,

with additional reporting from Tabloid Jubi and MajalahSelengkah

October 14, 2014

66 West Papuan activists were arrested by Indonesian Police in Jayapura and Merauke, Papua on Monday, as rallies calling for respect of press freedom and the release of two French journalists who continue to be imprisoned without charge, attracted thousands of people across Papua and Indonesia.

Indonesian police had prohibited the rallies in Jayapura and Merauke on the pretext that rally organisers the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat or KNPB) is an incorrectly registered organization, and that demonstrators may use the constitutionally legal but police banned Morning Star flag on banners, posters and paraphernalia.

Arrested by Indonesian police in Wamena on August 6 and 7, Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat remain in immigration detention awaiting trial, with their detention repeatedly extended in an unprecedented case – which usually results in a simple deportation.

Indonesian police finally announced on October 14 that the two journalists would be facing trial on October 20, on immigration charges of “misusing a visa”, a mere 70 days after their initial arrest with a local school teacher Areki Wanimbo, two farmers and human rights defender in Wamena.

The trial will begin on the Inauguration day of new Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, in a move clearly seen by most Papuan observers to be a direct challenge by colonial status-quo forces in Papua to the stated plans of Jokowi, to end the ban on foreign Press to report from Papua without restriction.

The plight of the two journalists has elicited record levels of support amongst Papuan civil society, in solidarity against the arrest of journalists carrying out their legitimate professional tasks.

The rallies planned to highlight the widely held view that the continued imprisonment of journalists seeking to report West Papua parallels with the criminalization of Papuan people’s right to Freedom of Expression, by Indonesian occupation forces.

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Photos of rallies around Papua (Photo credits: KNPB, Ones Suhun WPM, and Majalah Selengkah

Many thousands of people openly defied the police ban, and attended rallies and marches in Timika, Nabire, Sorong, FakFak, Manokwari and remote Yahukimo held in solidarity with the detained journalists, and scores of fixers, human rights defenders and ordinary civilian sources that have been caught up in an unprecedented crackdown on the rights of Papuan people to speak with foreign journalists.

The rallies in Manokwari and Sorong were broken up forcibly by heavily armed riot police, however no injuries or arrests were reported in those centres.

In Java, members of the Papuan Students Alliance (Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua or AMP) in Surabaya, Jogjakarta and Bandung were joined at rallies by Indonesian civil society members.  Despite being under close surveillance by Police, the Java based rallies allowed to proceed unhindered, highlighting the disparity in rights to Freedom of Expression between Indonesia and its occupied colony of West Papua.

26 KNPB activists were arrested at dawn in Merauke prior to the rally, as they gathered on the steps of the local Immigration office making speeches, and were forcibly dispersed and arrested by heavily armed riot police. Police later arrested another 20 at the KNPB office in Merauke, according to Tabloid Jubi.

In Jayapura, activists were outnumbered by heavily armed police, which intimidated many supporters into waiting at the sidelines of the area. KNPB activists regardless pushed on with a peaceful demonstration at Imbi park in Jayapura.

The 17 KNPB activists held a moving but silent vigil symbolising the absence of free media and freedom of speech in Papua. Jayapura Chairman of KNPB Agus Kosay told West Papua Media “we chose a silent action, silenced with a black cloth, because Indonesia silences democracy in Papua”

Police then moved in and arrested all 17, who are still being held by Police at time of writing.

“We want to let the world see, (Indonesia says it is) a democracy but the democracy practised is in fact anti-democratic for Papua,” Kosay explained.

No Full Name Gender Occupation
1 Agus Kosay Male Chief KNPB Central
2 Bazoka Logo Male Spokesperson KNPB
3 Elieser Anggaingom Male Member
4 Regi Wenda Female Member
5 Ribka Komba Female Member
6 Jimi Boroay Male Member
7 Marice Mambrasar Female Member
8 Lazkar Zama Male Member
9 Isak Silak Male Student
10 Petrus Petege Male Student
11 Palina Pakage Wanita Member
12 Marten Suhun Male Member
13 Manu Moi Male Student
14 David Walilo Male Member
15 Deren Sorabut Male Member
16 Wilem Wandik Male Member
17 Tinus Heluka Male Member

Indonesian Police have regularly changed their at-times-wild allegations that Bourrat and Dandois – who openly admitted they were operating in West Papua without a highly restrictive and rarely granted Journalism Visa and reporting permit for West Papua – have variously been involved in subversion, illegal arms transfers, espionage, supporting armed groups, and part of a foreign conspiracy to undermine Indonesia. Despite the public slander campaigns in the media by the colonial Police forces in Papua, the final charge of “misuse of a visa” is clearly a backdown, at the same time as it is handing a gauntlet to the new administration of President Widodo.

An international campaign led by Paris-based Reporters without Borders has also called on Indonesia to immediately release the pair, saying they were engaged in nothing more that independent, legitimate journalism activities.   A petition launched by Reporters Without Borders and the Bourrat and Dandois support committee has been signed by more than 8,000 people worldwide.

Reporters Without Borders via a press release on October 15 “appeals to the Indonesian justice system, now responsible for their continuing detention, to release the two journalists and dismiss all charges.”

“Reporters Without Borders again calls for a display of leniency by the authorities in this case. Indonesia cannot pride itself on being the world’s third biggest democracy without respecting fundamental freedoms and human rights,” it said.

The Paris-based media safety organisation also highlighted Indonesia’s obligations to Press Freedom, by noting “As one of the latest countries to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in 2006, Indonesia cannot ignore the UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment No. 34, adopted in 2011.  This comment says that it is breach of the covenant to “restrict freedom of movement of journalists and human rights investigators within the state party (including to conflict-affected locations, the sites of natural disasters and locations where there are allegations of human rights abuses).”

West Papua Media network members have also been caught up in the Indonesian police and army crackdown since the arrest of Bourrat and Dadois, including several local personnel who have been subjected to repeated death threats from Indonesian intelligence agencies.   Over 24 of our network members were under various degrees of security threats within West Papua, with family members threatened for speaking with the French journalists.  West Papua Media had been providing legitimate journalistic fixing services to Bourrat and Dandois for interviews with civil society figures outside of the Highlands.  Protection measures have now been put in place, enabling network members to return to newsgathering tasks over the last week, after having operations and reportage severely curtailed by serious security threats and incidents.

Physical threats and active surveillance to WPM personnel were also extended to key members of it editorial staff in Australia, with Indonesian Police Spokesman Sulistyo Pudjo saying that WPM Editor Nick Chesterfield was also to be charged with Espionage and subversion, and would be seeking and attempting extradition to Indonesia.   West Papua Media is still exploring legal options against the Indonesian police for defamation and stalking by sending its agents to carry out illegal activities on Australian soil.

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KNPB Timika Chairman freed from custody after international pressure

From our Partners at Pacific Media Centre

KNPB’s Steven Itlay … arrested then set free. (Image: Free West Papua Campaign)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

JAYAPURA (Pacific Media Watch): The West Papua National Committee’s [KNPB] Timika chairman, Steven Itlay, has been released from prison after being arrested by the Indonesian police yesterday.

The news site KNPB has reported that Indonesian police shot 10 bullets into the campaign’s office in what seemed to be an attempt to provoke a fight in order to arrest activists inside.

KNPB reported that when West Papuan activists asked the police why Itlay was being arrested, they told them: “Steven Itlay is a suspected Free West Papua activist”.

The Free West Papua Campaign said Itlay’s relatively speedy release was due to international pressure being placed on the police.

Just hours earlier, the campaign had published the phone number of the head of the Indonesian police in Jayapura on its Facebook page. It is understood that activists from all over the world phoned the number to call for Itlay’s release.

In a statement issued yesterday, the campaign said: “We would like to thank you all with all our hearts for all your incredible support for Mr Itlay and the people of West Papua, especially after the international plea for his release was made earlier today. Following his release, Steven also asked us to thank you all for the support of the suffering people of West Papua”.

Meanwhile, Papuans Behind Bars has released its April 2014 report, which details 12 incidents of torture of West Papuans in custody last month.

In one case, two West Papuans were “stabbed and slashed” by Indonesian police for objecting to police brutality against a third person, while “another seven men were tortured on arrest with electric stun batons”, the report says.

On April 2, the international day of protests for a Free West Papua, Indonesian police tortured two students at the campus of Cenderawasih University in Jayapura.

Bobii: Manufactured Scenario resulting in Death of a Papuan Warrior

Statement

18 December, 2013

 by Selpius Bobii

The death of General Danny Kogoya of the National Liberation Army of the Free Papua Movement (TPN / OPM) on 14 December 2013 in the border town of Vanimo PNG was not a natural death but rather a death caused by a scenario that was created by the Indonesian Armed Forces.

On 2 October 2012 Kogoya was invited by someone to meet them at the Banana Leaves Hotel in Entrop, Jayapura. Once there he and his companions were besieged by Indonesian Armed Forces who shot and disabled Kogoya by shooting one of his feet, even though  he had shown no resistance and had no intention of fleeing.

His foot was amputated at the Police Hospital Bhayangkara without being allowed to have a family member present.  Only a few days after the operation he was taken to the Police District Command Headquarters to undergo interrogation, despite having just experienced a most traumatising injury followed by a major operation. Throughout the time he was held by the Armed Forces he did not receive adequate medical attention.

When taken before the court an almost unheard of situation occurred, with the extension of time for Kogoya and his companions’ cases to be processed as applied for by the public attorney, actually expiring before the judges had reached their decision.  With the result that Kogoya and his companions were released under the law on 10 May 2013, even though they had been previously charged under the extremely serious charge of treason (makar).

Following their release, Kogoya fled over the border to the town of Vanimo in PNG to seek safety and treatment for his foot. According to the General Chairperson of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) Victor Yeimo, the results of the medical examination at the Vanimo Public Hospital showed remaining symptoms suggestive of possible poisoning.  This has led to suspicions by some that Kogoya may have been intentionally given a highly toxic chemical at the time his foot was amputated at the Indonesian Armed Forces hospital,  that has such an effect on the body organs that it kills the body slowly (1).

Finally on 14 December General Kogoya died due to the combined causes of an infection of his amputation wound as well as kidney failure.

The Indonesian Armed Forces clearly did not want Kogoya to die in custody which would have attracted attention. The circumstances point to the Armed Forces having interfered with the matter of the legal provision for an extension of time a person can be detained up to the time the court passes sentence.  As it is suspected that the processing of Kogoya and his companions cases in the Jayapura court were intentionally delayed so that the period they could be legally detained would expire before the panel of judges had handed down criminal sentence, thereby creating a scenario whereby the prisoners would be released avoiding General Kogoya dying in custody.

It is a rare occurrence indeed for Papuans who have been arrested and accused of treason, to be subsequently released due to the expiry of the period approved by the courts for them to be detained  before there is a sentence handed down by the courts. Usually if the time approved is about to expire or has just expired and the judges still haven’t handed down their decision, the authorities and the prison authorities work together to arrange an  further extension of time.  In the instance of the late Eko Berotabui and his associates for example in 2006 when the period he could be detained prior to the courts ruling had expired and the family and lawyers were pressuring for his release, the prison  and authorities worked together to issue a new document extending the period he could be detained.  Similar circumstances also arose in the case of Filep Karma and associates in 2005 with the prison and authorities working together to detain him on the stated basis of awaiting the decision regarding criminal cases. However in the case of Danny Kogoya there was distinctly something else going on.

It is strongly suspected that the Indonesian authorities created a set of circumstances to hide their covert killing of the Papuan independence warrior General Danny Kogoya. This is not the first time the Papuan community has seen such methods applied to hide the Indonesian Armed Forces killing of Papuan liberation warriors. Such means are extremely cruel and amount to a most evil inhumane act against a human being.

The organisation Front PEPERA:

  1. Demands that the Republic of Indonesia (RI) take responsibility for the death of General Danny Kogoya.
  2. Demands that RI cease killing indigenous Papuans by both overt and cover means.
  3. Calls on the International Solidarity community to lobby RI and the United Nations to treat exhaustively the problem of the legal and political status of West Papua.

 Footnote.:

  1. 1.      The majority of the Papuan indigenous community is convicted that poisoning is being frequently used by the Indonesian forces in Papua against the indigenous community.

 Selpius Bobii is General Chairperson of Front PEPERA and is a Papuan Freedom Political Detainee held in  Abepura Prison, Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia

 

Key OPM Figure Danny Kogoya dies from injuries from Densus 88 shooting

danny kogoya in vanimo
Danny Kogoya. Photo: Liam Cochrane/ ABC

From our partners in Jayapura, MAJALAH SELANGKAH with additional reporting from West Papua Media

December 16, 2013

A well known figure in the armed wing of the Papuan Independence Organisation (Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM)) Danny Kogoya, is reported to have died at a location in PNG close to the Indonesian PNG border on Sunday (15 December 2013).

A contact for majalahselangkah.com in Jayapura explained that Kogoya died as a result of an infection in his right leg, which had been amputated following being shot  when arrested by Police in Jayapura at the Dani Hotel in Entrop Jayapura on 2 September 2012.

Police at the time said Kogoya was attacked due to him being a suspect in a shooting at Jayapura and was shot in the foot when trying to flee through the back of the hotel. Following being shot he was taken to the police hospital (Bhayangkara) at Kotaraja for acute medical treatment.

He was then detained in a cell at the Jayapura Police Headquarters, after which he was moved to the Abepura Prison. He faced the State Court (Class I.A) in  Jayapura for suspected involvement in the abovestated shooting but was eventually released by the law.

Once released he went to Camp Victoria (an OPM Camp) close to the border between PNG and Indonesia. Whilst there a member of the governing forces in the border region sent a photo of Kogoya to the police in Jayapura, resulting in him being yet again threatened with arrest. So finally he fled to PNG.

The journey to PNG led to an infection in the wound where his foot had been amputated, so he was given traditional treatment in the forest of PNG. At that time he was quoted by the ABC as having urged the leaders of the OPM who had gathered at Camp Victoria, to continue the struggle to separate from Indonesia.

“ My foot has been cut-off because I am a member of the OPM and I personally urge for independence (for Papua). Papua must be independent of Indonesia” stated Danny Kogoya to the ABC.

Kogoya’s Body to be Taken Home

Activist Matius Murib wrote on Facebook  that it was planned for the body of the late Danny Kogoya to be taken back to Papua to be buried. He stated that coordination and administrative requirements to enable that had already been arranged.

“In relation to the plan to send the body of a Papuan activist Danny Kogoya from Vanimo, PNG back to Jayapura city this date (16/12/2013), technical coordination at the border and the arranging of administrative matters, protection and family to receive the body at Vanimo have already been organised and the family have guaranteed security in regards to the order of things and also that all will run smoothly” noted Murib on Facebook.

He requested the Police to not enter the area in the vicinity of the funeral home at Kamkey Abepura. Journalists have been banned from joining the funeral ceremony from the time of the funeral procession, at the funeral home and until the end of the funeral proceedings.

On Tuesday afternoon, stringers for West Papua Media had reported that heavily armed police and army had deployed in their hundreds around the home area of Kogoya outside Jayapura, escalating an already tense situation.  Our sources have also reported that no protest actions are planned, amid intelligence agencies actions to focus on a propaganda campaign discouraging local residents from commemorating Kogoya’s death.  According to our stringers, present in Jayapura, this campaign of broadcasts and public announcements is threatening the use of force if any mourning “crosses over to support pro-independence”.

The situation is being monitored closely, and may escalate.  For urgent updates, please see our Twitter feed @westpapuamedia .

(AE/GE/IST/MS/WPM)

(Translated by West Papua Media)

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EYE WITNESS SAYS MATIAS TENGKET WAS EXECUTED BY A GROUP OF PEOPLE

By Benny Mawel at Tabloid Jubi

November 28, 2013

Jayapura, 28/11 (Jubi) – The family of Matias Tengket and the chairman of the West Papuan National Committee (KNPB) of the Sentani region has discovered the chronology of the murder of Matias Tengket who was found dead in the Kali Kamp Wolter estuary at Sentani Lake, a day after the KNPB mass murders by police, last Tuesday (26/11).

Matthius Tengget before his burial.  (photo: Songgolom Pahabol/WPM)
Matthius Tengget before his burial. (photo: Songgolom Pahabol/WPM)

KNPB received this chronology from a Sentani male citizen who was unwilling to mention any names. KNPB regards this male as an eye-witness.

During the time of the event, the eye witness was fishing at the Sentani Lake which is likely to become a location for execution. This location is not far from the discovery of the corpse, still in Kali Kamp Wolter estuary, on the shore of Sentani Lake, behind the Museum or Expo Waena Pavilion, Jayapura city, Papua.

The Sentani KNPB chairman, Alen Halitopo, stated that when the Police chased the crowd, Matias Tengket ran to hide from being physically harmed. He ran into a street on the edge of Kali Kamp Wolter reaching the estuary. “A black Avansa car chased him from behind. The car stopped in front of Matias. The people armed with weapons pushed and shoved him,” said Alen in Matis Tengket’s funeral home, in Hawai, Sentani, Jayapura Regency, Papua, Wednesday (28/11).

At that time, according to Alen, there were children fishing. People who were armed with the weapons chased the away the children who were fishing by pointing their weapons at them. At that moment the children ran in fear and fled.

One of the children who was at that time fishing told the events of the situation and also saw the immediate execution process of Matias. “He saw, while running, people pulling Matias onto a boat. They struck him with the end of a weapon,” continued Alen.

The time went very fast. According to Halitopo, the eye witness who told the story to them suspected that Matias was already dead before he entered the boat. “They drove the ship quite far into the centre of the lake. They then returned to where the Avanza was parked and hereafter moved to Waena Mega Mall,” he said.

The eye witness is very well acquainted with the family (Matias’ family?) in Sentani. “He immediately telephoned us during the event of the shooting at the estuary. Three people fell into the water,” said Alen.

At that time, said Alen, KNPB members could not go to check because the moment had already passed. The Police were on guard everywhere. “The same morning, I sent two people to the location. A good friend of Matias’ stood rigid in a fishing net. They pulled his head and flipped his body to take two to three photos,” he said.

A KNPB member cannot take a lot of photos. Maybe there were the people who telephoned the Police. Because it was not long before the Police arrived. The friends fled from the location. They went home and thought maybe the police will contact them.

“We will see. Mr Pilipus Halitopo contacted us to go see the corpse which was located at the Bhayangkara hospital. We went and checked that it was actually a member of the Sentani KNPB,” he said.

When the KNPB director arrived at Bahayangkara hospital, police chief Abe, AKP Decky Rumpasanny said something that was not plausible. “Police chief Abe said to us, how could you eat this raw (kami-kamu baku makan itu bagaimana – an expression, meaning “how can you accept this raw story as fact?”)?  Maybe he meant the Sentanti person who killed Matias. We are not consumed (we are not concerned) with the issue,” he said.

According to Alen, KNPB could not believe that irrational sentence because he had found out the chronology of events just recently from the eye-witness. “We don’t need to kill anyone, when it is not related to the conduct of Indonesia’s security force,” Halitopo asserted.

Previously, The AKBP Jayapura Police Chief, S.IK to journalists in Jayapura stated, the corpse which was discovered is named Matias Tengket, found by a citizen and is located in Polri Bhayangkara hospital in the capital. From the hospital reports it was revealed that there were no signs of violence or mistreatment to the victim’s body, therefore it has been determined to have not been related to the riot pursuit towards KNPB actions. While the corpse is bruised, according to Police, it is suspected that the victim recently passed away or shortly before being found.

The family of Matias Tengket has refused to have an autopsy performed on Matias Tengket.

(Jubi/Mawel) – Translated By West Papua Media Translation Team