Daily Archives: January 6, 2011

Is violence against Papuans not an abuse of human rights?

Bintang Papua, 3 January 2011

Is violence against Papuans not an abuse of human rights?

Jakarta: The TNI (armed forces) has denied that violence perpetrated by army officers which resulted in the deaths of some Papuans can be
regarded as human rights violations. This relates to an incident in
Puncak Jaya in March 2010, which became public when a video of the
incident was circulated widely on the internet.

‘When this was investigated, it was not regarded as a violation of human rights but of acting against orders and not within the methods of interrogating detainees,’ said Lieut.General M Noer Muis, during his
reflections at the end of the year. Muis said that in order to investigate whether human rights violations had occurred, the TNI set
up an investigation team.

‘After we investigated the actions of the officers on that occasion, we
saw that they were on duty at the time, and made clear their position
towards the people involved.’

Four members of the armed forces faced charges of using violence, and the four men were tried before a military tribunal in Jayapura.

They were acting in violation of their orders and taking actions that
were unacceptable such as beating, kicking and so on when dealing with members of an armed gang known as the OPM.

The four men were under orders from the regional government to restore peace to the area which is indeed an area of many disturbances and armed gangs. ‘We were informed that the men were members of armed gangs. At the start,’ he said, ‘the four officers conducted the interrogation in accordance with procedures, such as separating the men from the women, and interrogating separately those who were bearing arms.’

‘They were properly treated using methods of persuasion and we even gave them food, but nothing was achieved, even though according to
information, they were members of an armed gang.’

Eventually, the four officers used more violent methods , with the
result that the detainees confessed that they were members of an armed gang and weapons were discovered.

All these actions had been recorded on video as evidence to prove that the interrogation was conducted in accordance with armed forces operational procedures. However, unfortunately the video that was only intended for internal purposes was leaked, and was circulated widely on the internet.’When this happened it was interpreted as being inhumane treatment and was said to be a violation of human rights.’

Muis said that investigations were now under way to find out how this
leak had occurred. There are many possibilities about how this might
have happened, he said and the military commander of the Cenderawasih military command had been instructed to coordinate with the police and in the intelligence agency Bais to discover who it was who had circulated the video, because this was very damaging to the armed forces.

He said they had also consulted with Komnas HAM, the National Human
Rights Commission in the hope that Komnas HAM would explain the matter to the general public.


Civil and political rights violations will continue to occur in Papua

Bintang Papua, 4 January 2011

Civil and political rights violations will continue to occur in Papua

In this year of 2011, violations of civil and political rights [will]
still continue to occur in Papua, with such incidents as demonstrations,
shootings, torture, hostage-taking, killings and so on, which result in
conflict between the law enforcement agencies and civil society,
according to a human rights observer, Yusack Reba.

He said that freedom of expression is regarded by law enforcement
agencies as treasonous actions or separatism.

He said that there were two irreconcilable positions. According to the
state, every person is guaranteed the constitutional right to freedom
of expression, and there is nothing about people not being able to talk
about freedom. But according to the Criminal Code, expressions of
opinion are seen as being acts of separatism, which is treated by the
authorities as being a threat to the territorial integrity of the state.
As a result, the law enforcement agencies dont regard this as
expressing an opinion but as an act of treason.

He said that when people express their opinions in the provincial
legislative assembly (DPRP), this is not seen as an attempt to change
the philosophy of the state.

There is nothing in law that prohibits people from giving expression to
their aspirations but when such expressions go in the direction of
wanting independence, that enters into a diffrent legal framework. ‘But
if this is done peacefully and in a well-behaved manner, this is quite
legal and acceptable. If these are handled according to a different
procedure, human rights violations will be perpetrated in the form of
shootings, torture, and other actions.

He said that for the Papuan people, there are numerous instances of
human rights violations but they are not seen as being within the legal
framework and are not handled according to the rule of law, such as for
instance the Abepura case and other major cases which were not handled
by a proper court process.

‘This is why Papuan people have no confidence in the law as regards
actions to deal with human rights violations.


Buchtar Tabuni and friends are still in police custody

[Slightly abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Bintang Papua, 30 December 2010

Buchtar Tabuni and friends are still in police custody


Two convicted prisoners charged with treason [makar], Buchtar Tabuni and Filep Karma, along with three other prisoners, Dominggus Pulalo, Alex Elopere and Lopes Katubaba are still in police custody. Buchtar and the others are in police custody and face charges of causing damage and incitement in Abepura Prison on 3 December 2010.

Confirming this in a press release on the security situation at the end
of 2010, Police Inspector-General Bekto Suprapto said that although
Buchtar and his colleagues were convicted prisoners and already serving sentences in Abepura Prison , they now had the additional status of facing new charges. ‘This means that their sentences will certainly be increased,’ he said. (sic)

The police chief said that with their removal from Abepura Prison,
conditions at Abepura Prison had improved. It was much easier now to
keep control of the prisoners in Abepura than it was when Buchtar and
the others were there, he was quoted as saying. ‘We have received
reports that the prison inmates are easier to control, they are more
obedient and now do as they are told, whereas before they were not easy to control.’

He said this was an indication that Buchtar and the others had been
inciting the other prisoners to be disobedient.

Asked about the number of prisoners who had escaped from the prison, he said that they were all on the wanted list [DPO] and their capture was the top priority for 2011 but he did not mention the number of prisoners involved. According to information from other sources, at least fifty prisoners have escaped from the prison.

He said that Buchtar and the others would face several new charges such as causing damage (Article 170) and incitement (Article 160), and could face up to seven years in prison.

When Bintang Papua requested permission to take photos of Buchtar and his friends in police custody, this was refused. The police officer said that this would only infuriate the general public.

As previously reported, Buchtar and his friends [allegedly] caused
damage after an inmate Wiron Wetipo disappeared from the prison and was shot dead by a joint patrol of the police and the army, while they were raiding a house in Tanah Hitam which is suspected as being the
headquarters of the OPM/TPN.

On hearing that Wiron had been shot dead, the six persons [not five
which is the number of names given in this article] now face charges for causing damage and inciting the other prisoners.

Filep Karma is serving a 15-year sentence while Buchtar is serving three years. The other prisoners are serving sentences of two or three years.

[Note how this senior police has no doubt that Buchtar and Karma will
be found guilty of the new charges they face. Such is the rule of law in Indonesia. – TAPOL]

The official Website for West Papua – A Journey To Freedom

We are excited to announce the official website for West Papua – A Journey to Freedom is now live.  Here you can find information about the film, updates on future screenings and the official trailer.  Please forward the link on to anyone who may be interested.
West Papua – A Journey to Freedom will be screened at Bhurat Murali Open Air Theatre in Kerala, India on Friday, January 14th @ 8:50pm as part of the ViBGYOR International Film Festival.

Erin Morris
West Papua – A Journey to Freedom

Seven Papuan activists are now in jail of POLRES Manokwari for conducting peaceful demonstration and unfurling 14-star flag

The following news has been translated from Cahaya Papua daily
newspaper – Thursday 30 December 2010.
For further information about these activists please contact the cell
phone their lawyers:
Leonard Yarollo: +62 852 44553375
Jan Christian Warinussy: +62 81344694500

Melky Bleskadit and his Friends Rejects Signing the Letter of Transfer
to Public Prosecutor

Manokwari – Seven Papuan activists who were arrested and charged with
treason articles for the case of unfurling the 14-Star Flag on 14
December 2010 reject to sign the letter of transfer for their arrest
to public prosecutor.
One of the suspects who is now in the (jail) of Polres Manokwari,
Melky Bleskadit says that he does not want to sign the paper because
it is not procedural.
“We have been accompanied by our lawyer, so everything that is related
to legal process of us has to be done through our lawyer, Jan
Christian Warinussy,” he said to Cahaya Papua daily newspaper from
behind the iron bars.
The secretary general of the Council of the Committee for the
Preparation of the Proclamation of the Sovereignty and Independence of
West Melanesia said that until now since being arrested, he and his
friends have just been examined once which was the moment after they
had just been detained and brought to the office of the Indonesian
police in Manokwari.
Melky said that he was asked 38 questions related to his involvement
during their action on 14 December especially his action of unfurling
the 14-Star flag for the duration of around 10 seconds in front of the
mass while giving his oration.
Quoting his answer to the police, Melky rejects the accusation which
says that their action is an “aksi makar” or act of treason against
the government and sovereignty of NKRI (the unitary state of the
Republic of Indonesia). According to him, expressing his opinion is
the right of everybody which has been regulated in the Indonesian
constitution of UUD 1945 article 39 verses 17 and 18, Law No 9 year
1998, as well as Law No. 14 year 2008.
The handling of Papuan case, furthermore he says, has to be carried
out democratically by respecting values of humanity. In his opinion,
dialogue is the best way to respond and to find final solution to the
conflict between Papua and the NKRI.
Melky stated that the central government have used passive and
repressive approaches towards the Papuan people.
“Papuan people have democratic rights, so we deserve to be given space
for democracy. Don’t use repressive approach in solving the conflict,”
he said.
Melky and his friends have been in the detention room for 16 days
since the day when they were arrested. The room with the size of 5 x 8
meters is filled with Melky and his friends, together with 20 other
He said that he had submitted a letter for requesting the postponement
of their arrest to chief of the Indonesian police of Manokwari regency
to celebrate Christmas with families but his effort has been rejected.