by West Papua Media, with Oktovianus Pogau at SuaraPapua.com
April 18, 2013
Six West Papua National Committee (KNPB) activists from Timika were each sentenced to one year in prison on Tuesday by judges from the Assembly District Court in a trial deemed as opaque and farcical by observers. Sentenced on charges of carrying dangerous weapons and makar (treason/subversion), defence lawyers insisted that the six non-violent activists had no case proven against them and will immediately be lodging an appeal.
The six, Romario Yatipai, Steven Itlay, Yakonias Womsiwor, Paulus Marsyom, Alfred Marsyom and Yanto Awerkion, were arrested on October 24, 2012, amidst a spate of high publicity arrests of KNPB activists by the Australian-funded counter-terror unit Detachment 88. The then-incoming Papua Police Chief, former Detachment 88 chief Tito Karnavian, exploited the brutal arrests to increase justification for use of Detachment 88 against political activists at a time when OTK (unknown persons, now known as Orang Terlatih Khusus or Specially Trained Persons) killings were spiralling out of control across Papua.
Despite Jakarta pinning the blame for the killings on non-violent activists from the
KNPB, no credible evidence had been able to prove KNPB responsibility despite highly politicised and farcical trial processes. Most independent observers have linked responsibility for OTK incidents in Papua squarely in the hands of agents of the Indonesian special forces.
In SMS and email communications to West Papua Media from the prison before and after the trial, KNPB activist and detainee spokesman Romario Yatipai said that the assertions made by police were “Simply lies”.
“Indonesian police say that KNPB activist are criminals, terrorists, Makar (treason), separatist and so on,” Yatipai explained.
“Actually, KNPB activists in Timika always make peaceful demonstrations with all West Papuans. We always make peaceful demonstrations to demand Referendum, as the best solution for West Papua,” he said.
Central to the police case was that the accused were allegedly carrying explosives to be used against Indonesian police posts and military targets, yet no evidence was furnished that could prove that the accused possessed explosives before t
Despite the Australian Federal Police providing Detachment 88 with state-of-the-art explosives and ballistic forensic testing capability to secure counter-terror convictions, none of this equipment or personnel were deployed in Papua for any of the OTK trials, and no forensic proof was available at the Timika 6 trials that could have linked any of the defendants to use of explosives.
The trial heard wild accusations from prosecutors and police, but defence lawyers led by Gustaf Kawer, objected and expressed surprise when Yanto Awerkion (19) was sentenced.
As to who had ownership of explosives, Kawer explained to Suara Papua, none of the witnesses saw the defendant carrying explosives, but officials forced the defendant to claim possession of explosives.
“Since the moment of the defendant’s arrest along with five colleagues, there were absolutely no explosives he possessed … Yet when he reached the Mimika police station, the officers brought explosives and used it as evidence, and compelled the accused to confess having an explosive. It’s very strange,” Kawer told Suara Papua. “Our legal counsel will conduct a plea on April 23, 2013. The sixth defendant must be released immediately because of not proven guilty, ”
Kawer also objected to the sentencing of the other defendants under makar provisions, saying the judges decision “did not correlate with the examination of the facts.”
“For the first case, it’s not proven that the five defendants were in the possession of sharp weapons. And concerning the treason related article, also during the course of investigation (there was) not any reference to it, but nevertheless the judge decided one year in prison by saying treason that was proven – so we will appeal, ” Kawer told suarapapua. com.
After the defendants returned to the prison cells that have been their home since October 2012, they made a video appeal on their mobile phones, calling on the international community to do more to ensure that Indonesia ceases its persecution of peaceful political activists.
“We hope (the) International community, Amnesty International, IPWP, ILWP support us and pressure Indonesia government, Indonesia Police in Papua and Timika,” Yatipai told West Papua Media. “West Papua activists, and all West Papuans need UN Observers, UN Humanitarian workers, and International Journalists now in Papua.”
“Please support us with prayer and monitoring for us” said Yatipai.
PAPUA, Jayapura – recently, suarapapua.com journalist Oktovianus Pogau, had the opportunity to interview with Bucthar Tabuni, the Chairman of the West Papua National Parliament (,). In this interview Tabuni speaks about the criminalization of peaceful struggle of West Papua National Committee (KNPB), by the Police force in Papua.
Follow the interview below.
What is the security forces attitude towards KNPB?
I see that the security force fears even more if KNPB exist in the Land of Papua. This is because of the mass and the base of KNPB is firmly rooted. Indeed, during my leadership, the strength that we have built with the people is serious. So, at this time the security forces were escorting us to matters that did not enter our minds, and tried to destroy the struggle for peace that was pushed by us.
I hope this does not become an obstacle for KNPB to further progress and develop into the future. If there’s any issue, then it should be coordinated with PNWP as the political body of the Papuan people. And we are ready to be responsible to the people, as well as to the KNPB board itself.
How’s the leadership of the new chief of Police (Kapolda), Tito Karnavian?
For Kapolda Papua at present, I think we just stay in an intensive communication, however my only regret is related to imprisonment of KNPB activists in Wamena Jayapura, Biak and Timika, that is being dragged on without a clear legal process.
I officially conveyed to the Chief of Police, I will still guarantee security throughout Papua when orders (are made) to release political prisoners, abolish the lists of wanted-persons (DPOs) of KNPB activists, and open a space for democracy, but also demands that have not been fulfilled.
I hope, all of these (demands) can be fulfilled soon. If it has not been answered, I will make a mention of the demands to the public and the police chief, but I’m (still) waiting for a response to the demands.
What was Kapolda’s Response?
His response was good, but not optimal. For example, legal issues with some KNPB members being detained should be settled with the Police, but his officers eventually put (a formal) submission to the Attorney General, so the legal process at court is protracted, and we are very disappointed for now.
The Papua issue needs communication. If it’s ignored, it will cause disappointment, and the violence will never disappear. If there is to be anything at all, then it should be communicated. Pak Kapolda responded well, but not optimal. And until now I’m still waiting.
KNPB accused of masterminding violence in Papua?
Officials still have a biased stigma towards the KNPB, starting from being considered as actors of violence, all the way to being the perpetrators of violence in Papua. I argue that, during my leadership, the peaceful campaign of the struggle by peaceful demonstrations have always been promoted.
KNPB are people’s media, so it would be inappropriate if we called masterminds of violence. KNPB also never ordered the people of Papua, nor a member of KNPB throughout Papua, to struggle with violent means.
Even if there is (violence), that cannot be generalised or all associated together. In the society, there are good people, some are evil, there are few that listen to advice, and some that are not willing to hear the advice, and it’s a normal thing, and it happens everywhere, including in KNPB today.
Although Kapolda asked us not to do violence, one needs to know that lots of those acts are carried out by TPN/OPM (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional or National Liberation Army). And this is outside of civil society, but if its in town I would guarantee safety. I do not have the right to intervene on TPN/OPM actions. My civic leadership is in the town. TPN/OPM field of operation is different from my field.
What is the condition of KNPB activists detained in Wamena, Timika and other places?
They all regret, because the legal process that is underway has not been proven as a legal case. If they obtain or store sharp tools, then almost everyone in Papua, including immigrants, also obtain (these tools) such as knives and other sharp instruments.
The cases of KNPB members in Wamena is seen (to be premeditated) that the authorities already have strategies to arrest them. Why do officers go check sharp instruments only at KNPB activists home, while many immigrants who also own and store those things that are mentioned?
The question is, those things are there, but what are they used for, who is harmed, how many victims? – there are no legal facts. This is why I asked that Kapolda must release them, but he hasn’t reacted to my demands.
The detainees until now regret, because without fair (or truthful) evidence and legal facts, they still undergo jail terms. A question from me, why didn’t the police force arrest knife-sellers or sharp instruments in the market? Of course this is weird.
How’s the assistance from Counsel (legal assistance)?
I thank the council for their assistance in assisting the KNPB activists in various prisons in Papua, but there is no assistance given to the case that happened in Wamena.
I see that the counsel hesitates in giving their assistance; we are able to facilitate with fund and provide them with accommodation. However, it is acceptable if they are busy. I plead for the judge and the prosecutor to work in conjunction together and help me with all the decisions to hopefully free all of them.
According to the charges that were made, there are many political aspects in comparison with those of law. Hence, various approaches have to be done in order to silence the struggle of West Papuans, and that include punishing detainees. Police and Army forces (Polri & TNI) will always find gaps and use that to perform ongoing injustices to the struggle in Papua. Therefore, an exceptional consideration is needed.
KNPB is regarded as Highlanders?
I’m shocked when I heard that statement. KNPB originates from Papua and we have Regional Parliaments called Parlemen Rakyat Daerah (PRD) in Biak, Manokwari, Wamena and Merauke, and they are all representative of West Papua.
I believe that this opinion is from people that don’t understand what consolidation is. I can also say that that opinion comes from people that don’t do field work but just voicing their thoughts. We have been working together (around Papua) for six years.
Don’t look just at KNPB, but the important thing is to see the agenda we have been working on. Supposing that the agenda makes sense and is rational, why don’t we gain the support from others? We are just normal human beings but if this agenda can grant West Papua an Independence, it has to be supported, especially by those who mock KNPB.
Message for KNPB Activists?
Suppose you are keeping sharp weapons in your homes, it’s wise to throw them away or to avoid or keep away from them. Let alone the outsiders to have them. It has been several days since the silence of KNPB, it doesn’t mean that KNPB withdraws and is scared of the coloniser.
The current situation is uncertain so that we choose to be silent and to be patient. Let’s stay calm and plan for our new strategy to rise again. Do not worry about the tactics sets by the enemy, we have to think and plan for other approaches.
Message for the People of West Papua?
Independence is not something that we can achieve in an instant. West Papuans, don’t get bored, don’t be lazy and don’t give up the fight. There is no struggle that does not bear an outcome, everything does. We just have to wait for right time.
Hence, I call out to every West Papuan to work together, to be committed in what we are doing to keep up the fight in order for West Papuan to be free from Indonesian Colonialism. By doing so, not only we keep the fighting spirit alive but we also honour all the sacrifices of the late Arnold Ap, Thomas Wainggai, Kelly Kwalik, Mako Tabuni, Victor Kogoya, Hubertus Mabel, and all West Papua Independence activists that were killed by the Indonesian Military.
Markus Yenu was arrested at the side of the road in from of Daniel Sakwatorey’s house (former political prisoner in Papua, 2008) at Sanggeng Manokwari West Papua. The arrest was by Manokwari’s Criminal Police Unit at 11.32am West Papua time, on the order of Manokwari’s Criminal Police AKP. KRISTIAN SAWAKI. The Manokwari Criminal Police officers were driving a black Inova with the number plate DS.9977.
According to Markus Yenu’s evidence (he’s the Executive Governor of the West Papua National Authority District 2 Manokwari) after he was arrested and taken to the police station at Manokwari, he was immediately taken to an interrogation room and asked to give information about a peaceful demonstration on the 17th January 2013 during which the morning star flag was flown. There were various sized flags flown, and also biased political speeches from several leaders from the Free Papua movement who were inciting people to overthrow the legitimate government.
Markus Yenu also gave evidence that when he was in the interrogation room at the Manokwari Police Station he was visited by Kombes (Pol) Yakobus Marzuki former chief of police in 2008 and now Director of Papuan Police Intelligence. Marzuki told Yenu:
Comprehensive data from the Police indicated Markus Yenu was involved with provoking the acts of arson and destruction that three police officers faced on the 5th December 2012 following the shooting of Thimotius Ap.
In the near future police plan to meet with Kesbangpol to get rid of all organisations that don’t support the Ideology of a United Republic of Indonesia (NKRI)
Eight people are already dead, but police and TNI will be pursuing and removing any subversive groups both in the forest and the city.
Whereas for Markus Yenu there was an order from police headquarters to disable him.
According to Yenu, the Director of Papuan Police Intelligence said many other things indicating a threat to human rights and democracy activists in Papua.
Yenu said that, ‘After me, the police will arrest another six people who have been identified as suspects
Written up Pacific Scoop from Social Media Reports by West Papua Media
March 6, 2013
Markus Yenu, Manokwari Governor of the West Papua National Authority (National Federated Republic of West Papua), was forced to appear at Manokwari Police Sector HQ today (March 6) for questioning over makar (treason) charges relating to the organising of a peaceful mass demonstration almost two months ago.
Yenu has not yet been released, and no further information has yet been received about his status – whether he will be charged or released.
West Papua Media has contacted police in Manokwari without reply and the Papua Police Criminal Investigation chief in Jayapura – who claims to know nothing about Yenu’s whereabouts.
On January 17, a crowd of peaceful protesters calling for a referendum on the future of Indonesian-ruled West Papua assembled at a rally point in Manokwari.
The crowd – including students and workers – moved towards the Banyan Tree at UNIPA Manokwari together with the protest coordinator, Alex Nekemen, and speakers, among them Silas Ayemi, the area secretary of Bintuni WPNA),; Abraham Waynarisy (SH chairman Solidaritas Pemuda Melanesia Papua Barat SPMPB) and the pro-independence group KNPB.
Political speeches were made accompanied by slogans of “Papua Merdeka” (“Free Papua”) along the way.
The crowd marched around the city of Manokwari towards an open field.
In front of the office of the State Attorney of the Republic of Indonesia, Markus Yenu openly questioned bout the detainees after a an incident on December 14 – Melkianus Bleskadit, Rev. Dance Yenu and 5 students from UNIPA Manokwari who have been held by police for almost four months without charge.
It is likely that most US citizens who consider themselves informed about global events are aware of the genocides in Rwanda, Bosnia and East Timor, yet it’s likely that few people in the US are aware of the ongoing genocide in West Papua, New Guinea.
In Rwanda, genocide resulted in an estimated 500,000 deaths in a 3-month period; in Bosnia, genocide resulted in an estimated 200,000 deaths in a 3-year period. In East Timor, there were more than 103,000 deaths in a 3-year period; and, in West Papua, New Guinea, there are conservative estimates of 100,000 Melanesian Papuans killed, and 300,000 displaced or missing over a 47-year period. Remarkable is the disparity of time between the Rwanda, Bosnia and East Timor genocides, ranging from 3 months to 3 years, contrasted with the ongoing 50-year genocide of indigenous West Papuans. In the aftermath of the Rwandan 3-month slaughter of 500,000 people, the carnage was blatant, the atrocities flagrant.
In view of the continuing carnage wrought in West Papua by the Indonesian military during the past 50 years, we must wonder why most people in the Western world are oblivious to the indigenous Melanesians’ plight, and what factors are contributing to the protraction of such abuse.
Indonesia’s colonization and military occupation of Dutch-owned West Papua was achieved, and continues, with the blessing of the governments of the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, and facilitated by the operation of the world’s largest copper and gold mine owned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc., a US corporation.
In addition, for more than 50 years, some of the world’s largest transnational mining corporations have been exploiting West Papua’s oil and minerals, including Union Oil, Amoco, Agip, Conoco, Phillips, Esso, Texaco, Mobil, Shell, Petromer Trend Exploration, Atlantic Richfield, Sun Oil and Freeport (USA); Oppenheimer (South Africa); Total SA (France); Ingold (Canada); Marathon Oil, Bird’s Head Peninsula (UK); Dominion Mining, Aneka Tambang, BHP, Cudgen RZ, and most critically, Rio Tinto (formerly RTZ-CRA) (Australia/UK).
The exploitation of natural resources by extractive industries results in catastrophic harms to human and environmental health and indigenous societies. Typically, mainstream global media, most of which are in thrall to corporate interests, look the other way when such military/corporate injustices are perpetrated upon indigenous populations.
New Guinea is the second largest island on earth, and one of 20,000-30,000 archipelagos in the South Pacific. The island is divided vertically, with independent Papua New Guinea occupying the eastern section and West Papua, now an unwilling province of Indonesia, occupying the western side. There are more than 250 tribes, more than 270 distinct languages and thousands of different pidgin dialects.
In addition to copper and gold, abundant natural resources include natural gas, oil, timber and fish. These resources profit corporate interests and the Indonesian government without compensation to the Melanesian population, who live in poverty.
In 1969, the Act of Free Choice consultation was held in West Papua to ascertain whether the indigenous Melanesian population preferred to remain a province within the nascent nation of Indonesia or become their own independent nation. The consultation was fraudulent, and free participation by the indigenous people was nil. Only 1025 West Papuans, representing a population of one million, were picked ( by the government of Indonesia ) to vote and it was not implemented in accordance with international law of the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962 – One Man One Vote. It was a whitewash. Nobody gave a thought to the fact that a million people had their fundamental rights trampled ( CV Narasimhan, Deputy Secretary – General of the United Nations 1961 – 1978 ). Thus, the voiceless West Papuans became a province of Indonesia and the victims of 50 years of oppression.
The people of this forgotten land have struggled for freedom for 50 years under brutal Indonesian occupation. The people of the different tribes are raped, tortured and slaughtered, and their natural environment continues to be degraded. In their efforts to resist this injustice, their leaders have been arrested, tortured and threatened with death. For this reason, many now live in exile, where they continue to be involved in education and activism with the goal of enlisting the international community to join their efforts to achieve justice and freedom.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the rights of all people to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to peaceful assembly and association. Indonesia is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and Indonesia’s constitution also declares those rights. However, Indonesia’s continued arrest and incarceration of nonviolent political activists since the 1980s, and the October 19, 2011 arrests of more than 300 civilians during the Third National Congress, including Edison Waromi and Forkorus Yaboisembut, Prime Minister and President, respectively, will not deter Melanesians from their nonviolent struggle to secure self-determination within a democratic framework, and are recognized, respected and supported by the international community.
For this reason, many peaceful demonstrations took place around the world on
January 17, 2013. The Demonstrations commemorated the escape to freedom by 43 West Papuan refugees on January 17, 2006, when, after paddling across open ocean for four days and surviving a violent storm, they beached their traditional canoe in Australia and found asylum. Myself – Herman Wainggai – am one of those 43.
The Free West Papua Political Prisoners Team in Washington DC is a group of academics and human-rights activists who are willing to stand up for justice and work toward a free West Papua that is independent from military and corporate colonization.
Human Rights Watch reports that Indonesia has incarcerated nearly 100 activists from Maluku and Papua for peacefully voicing their patriotism and political views. As one of those former political prisoners forced into exile, I am now a visiting scholar at George Mason University, after being imprisoned for more than two years after daring to raise the West Papuan flag. My uncle, Dr. Thom Wainggai, died while imprisoned for the same demonstration of patriotism.
Free West Papua Campaign in Los Angeles, California
“I want to commend Moana Nui for organizing this demonstration on behalf of the people of West Papua to give voice to their fight for freedom and self-determination. We call on the leaders of all governments to stop supporting human rights abuses, murder, genocide and the military occupation of West Papua. To our brothers and sisters in West Papua: Continue to fight for what you know is right, for your freedom, your culture, for humanity. Know that, in this fight, you are not alone.” Harold Green. http://mnaa-ca.org/jan-17-2013-west-papua-action/
Free West Papua Campaign in Melbourne
Foreign Affairs Minister of the Federated Republic of West Papua, Jacob Rumbiak, said international activists are demanding that Indonesia remove its military personnel, and that president Yudhoyono must issue orders to stop the slaughter of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) members.
“Six activists were arrested and tortured in Serui yesterday for handing out pamphlets about today’s rally, including Patris Rosumbre (Vice Governor, Saireri State, Federated Republic of West Papua) and Menase Karubaba,” he said. Rosumbre has since escaped, but the whereabouts of Karubaba are not known, and there is deep concern for his safety.
The Federated Republic of West Papua has called for negotiations with the Indonesian government under the auspices of the United Nations since 2011, and, Rumbiak claims, “Indonesia is losing credibility with its international donors in failing to respond to our invitation.”
Free West Papua Campaign in the Solomon Islands
In a statement from Honiara, Chairman of Solomon Islands for West Papua, Rexy Roses, highlighted that more than 50 years of tyranny and
immeasurable human rights abuses suffered by the indigenous people of West Papua at the hands of the occupying Indonesian military forces is more than too much to bear, and it is now time for dialogue and negotiations to end the violence in West Papua and to allow a peaceful referendum. This year will be a challenging one, and we will ensure that the cries of the indigenous Melanesian people of West Papua be heard in every corner of the Pacific and beyond.
Since the recent peaceful demonstration in Yapen Island and Manokwari, I have been told that the military agents are increasing their violent activity in West Papua and in many other places around West Papua. It is not difficult to imagine the impact that tens of thousands of Indonesian troops have on the daily lives of the West Papuan people. This new action by the Indonesian military raises the question: Why would Indonesia send so many troops to West Papua? Is this to intimidate the West Papuan people, to deny us our freedom of speech and prevent us from peacefully gathering in the land of our ancestors to debate and challenge the domination of our land and freedom? This recent West Papua Media report clearly states that the Indonesian government does not provide for the protection of human rights in West Papua.
For West Papuans, daily life is a nightmare, full of pain, suffering, torture, rape and bloodshed. There is no freedom to speak or act freely. The systematic oppression, terror, intimidation, kidnapping, incarceration, poisoning and murder of indigenous Melanesians in West Papua has not changed since I fled the country in 2006. It’s time to support the West Papuan people in their struggle for human rights and political independence.
Herman Wainggai is a West Papuan civil resistance activist based in Washington DC USA, and former political prisoner. He lectures in strategic non-violence and civil resistance and is a visiting scholar at George Mason University, Washington.