KontraS: Arrest and torture of 13 Papuans have worsened the situation in Papua

(West Papua Media Note: this event also subject to a lengthy and detailed investigation by West Papua Media that will be published in coming days) 

Statement by KontraS on 3 September 2011Arrests and torture of ordinary Papuans by the Police and the Army (Polri/TNI) have worsened situation in PapuaKontraS condemns the appalling practices of torture and criminalisation which were perpetrated by the law enforcement agencies against of a number of Papuan people by the police in Papua. Such activities are a serious violation of their human rights which should be avoided at all costs because they are in breach of a number of legal provisions.

Acts of torture and criminalisation were perpetrated on 31 August, during Lebaran, and occurred early in the morning. when a number violent acts also  took place. These activities were perpetrated against a group of Papuans  and occurred as they were being arrested by the police who were acting in violation of the laws in force. The details of what happened are given in the chronology attached to this statement. [Abridged translation only]

These criminal acts were perpetrated without being credibly justifiable in relation to the allegations being made. We fear that this is part and parcel of the practice of stigmatisation of Papuan people which has been developed by the state apparatus, in particular the police and the army,  in their law enforcement activities.

The practice  of torture is inhumane and is moreover in breach of Law 5/1998 regarding the ratification by Indonesia of the  Convention Against Torture . This means that components of law and the security apparatus, in particular the police, are bound by law to  refrain from such practices  and to punish those who perpetrate such acts (see articles 1 and 2). They are also bound by Law 39/1999 on Basic Human Rights, article 33 of which prohibits the use of torture.

With regard to the police, these acts are also in violation of internal police regulation 8/2009 which clearly prohibits the use of torture.

This latest incident  is an indication of the fact that torture and criminalisation have become integral to police practices when they try to obtain statements (that is to say, confessions) from persons who are suspected of committing crimes. In the second place, this behaviour represents a repetition of previous acts of torture that have occurred in Papua. With regard to the army, they are not entitled to be involved in making such arrests. A year ago, we were all stunned when we saw the brief, amateur video  broadcast on Youtube showing members of Brimob and the army engaged in acts of torture against people alleged to be members of the OPM.

Such practices undermine the confidence of ordinary Papuan people in the police. In the past few months, violent practices have been  spreading throughout Papua  such as  the case of 16 people arrested in 2010 and seven people who were arrested in Manokwari. It is necessary to strengthen the confidence between the government, the various pro-independence groups, civil and customary society  and other elements. It is also necessary to strengthen people’s confidence and respect in the implementation of democratic principles such as the law and human rights. The practise of torture will only make it more difficult to comply with the agenda for peaceful dialogue with Papua.

We therefore call on Kompolnas (the police community) and the National Human Rights Commission to investigate these reported incidents of torture  in Papua. And once sufficient evidence has been found, the perpetrators must be made accountable before the law. This is important in order to show that there is no discrimination in law between Papuan civilians  who are vulnerable to actions by law enforement agencies who are treated like heroes  for taking actions against alleged separatists.

This should also be an occasion for the police to improve their behaviour which has been damaged by the continual practice of torture by members of the police force.

We take this opportunity to remind the President that the continuing lack of clarity in the policy of the government towards Papua is a threat to the security and livelihoods of the Papuan people.

3 September 2011:
Kontras National Executive: Haris Azhar, Co-ordinator.
Kampak (?) Dorus Wakum, Chairperson

A chronology attached to the statement provides details of the place and time of the arrests.

The thirteen arrested persons are alleged to have caused unrest during an Idul Fitri ceremony that was being held on the premises of Brimob. They are alleged to have been involved in shootings in Nafri Kampung which resulted in the deaths of three civilians and one member of the TNI.

During an assault, the police fired shots in the direction of  the Wahno Baptist Church and then confiscated traditional equipment such as arrows, machetes and knives as well as some OPM documents.

The thirteen persons are:

Yawanus Kogoya.
Tinus Wenda
Siki Kogoya
Arinus Wenda
Yusman Kogoya
Mis Kogoya
Bodi Kogoya
Wen Wenda
Denias Kogoya
Ekimar Kogoya
Panius Kogoya
Yeskiel Kogoya
One unidentified person

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