SMH: Activist's death blamed on anti-terrorism squad 'abuses'

Activist’s death blamed on

anti-terrorism squad ‘abuses’

Yusuf Sipakoly ... ‘I have rights to express my opinion.’Yusuf Sipakoly … ‘I have rights to express my opinion.’

JAKARTA: In his last interview, the Malukan political prisoner Yusuf Sipakoly, said: ”I believe the truth will surely arrive, although it walks slowly.”

Mr Sipakoly, who died on Monday, was one of many activists in the eastern Indonesian province to allege gross human rights abuses by Detachment 88, the Indonesian anti-terrorism unit partly funded by Australia.

Sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2007 for possessing a small separatist flag, the Herald spoke to him less than two weeks ago while he was in an Ambon hospital hooked to a dialysis machine.

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”I was tied with nylon [by the Detachment 88 officers] and my head was covered with a bucket,” he said. ”Then they started beating me until I urinated in my underwear …

”Another police officer, not Detachment 88, hit me with a wooden block while another officer hit me all over my body.”

Mr Sipakoly also alleged he was forced to drink hot water infused with carbon paper.

The 52-year-old father’s subsequent kidney and stomach ailments were a result of the mistreatment, he said.

”I didn’t commit subversion; I never carried gun and pointed it at anyone or anything; I never launched any violent attack against the state, but I only wanted to prove that I have rights to express my opinion.”

Although no action was ever taken against those who allegedly beat him, Mr Sipakoly was among 70 people interrogated in 2007 and given long prison sentences.

Another dozen men were arrested last month for planning a peaceful protest and alleged similar abuses.

Yesterday the Indonesian police chief, Bambang Hendraso Danuri, confirmed police would investigate the new claims of torture, highlighted in a Herald investigation this week.

A prominent human rights lawyer, Johnson Panjaitan, said that despite several attempts to raise the alleged abuses with Indonesian authorities, this was the first time they had agreed to launch an investigation into the alleged abuses.

But he said the exercise was pointless unless the investigation was independent and undertaken by the Indonesian government’s human rights and police watchdogs.

“This is an important case,” Mr Panjaitan said.

However, Indonesia’s Co-ordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security, Djoko Suyanto, said he doubted the claims were true.

Dr Giay: Papuan people face a host of problems

 JUBI, 12 September 2010

The chairman of the Synod of the Evangelical Church (Kingmi) of Papua,
Dr Benny Giay, said that many problems continue to bear down heavily on
the Papuan  people in the Land of  Papua. Many young people face a host
of very complex problems, from awareness of their own identity in the
face of influences coming from outside Papua, to alcoholic drinking,
HIV/AIDS, and the absence of any democratic space.

'Many problems are occurring every day, compelling us to confront them
together. At the very least, people feel the need to stand up and fight
back, and dont like the idea of simply accepting things as they are.'

Dr Giay was speaking at the conclusion of a Spiritual, Cultural and
Sports Week run by the Kingmi Church in Enarotali on Saturday, 9
September. The theme of the week was 'The Need for Change in order to be

The problems cover a wide range of issues, social, economic, political,
cultural, the search for knowledge, acts of violence and human rights
violations. All these things are acutely felt by the Papuan people.
'There are so many excesses, they make us feel very insecure.'

What we need to do is to turn to God with prayer and also work very
hard, he said. 'All forces in society, including the Church, have the
responsibility to  focus on the problems confronted by the people.'

He said that people need to be supported by their faith. 'As people
created by God, we must all focus on people's problems and complaints
and also on their aspirations.'

'Young men and women must be guided by their faith and need help to
ensure that their potentials can be developed in every field of life.'

Dr Giay also hoped for collaboration with other churches in confronting
a variety of phenomena that are threatening the very existence of our
people in the Land of  Papua.


[Nothing new for nearly a week from Bintang Papua, no doubt because of
the Idul Fitri gatherings and events. TAPOL]

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