Report on wrongful arrest and torture of 15 civilians in Wahno-Vuria hill, Kotaraja, Jayapura town, Papua Province, 31 August 2011
Produced by: Investigation team comprising KomnasHAM Papua, a student or representative of Cendrawasih University Jayapura, and representatives
and members of the Baptist, Kingmi and Catholic churches
Published by: the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua
This is a TAPOL summary
The report is based on the results of an investigation by the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua, including witness statements from the victims and their families, in an aim to publish the facts from the ground.
During July and August 2011, there have been a number of events affecting the security situation in Papua. These include a number of mysterious murders for which the perpetrator(s) remain unknown, civilian deaths and injuries caused by security forces, repressive actions by security forces, clashes between the security forces and OPM/TPN, election unrest including demos and violence, an attack on the 5-7 July “Papua Peace Conference” at Cenderawasih University, a simultaneous murder at Skyline Jayapura, and a series of events accompanying and following on from the seminar in Oxford, England organized by the International Lawyers for West Papua. A common feature seems to be that on several occasions the murders and other acts of violence occurred simultaneously across different locations. In most cases the perpetrators appear to remain unknown.
Background to the event on 31 August 2011
According to Biben Kogoya, Chair of RT 08 (RT is the smallest unit of neighbourhood governance), following a meeting of all RT/RW chairs last year, all sharp weapons kept in houses of the local population under the area of their jurisdiction should be collected and kept in the houses of the RT/RW chairs, which Biben Kogoya duly did. He had heard shortly before the incident that there was going to be a sweeping. He states that in the week leading up to the incident he had been trying to call the local police in Abepura to inform them of some new TNI members who had been hanging around the area each night between 25-29 August, providing alcohol and encouraging the young people to drink, and asking
them to point out the houses of people they were looking for, including Danny Kogoya, Panius Kogoya, Ekimar Kogoya, Etra Yanengga, and Gidi Wenda.
However, the police did not answer the phone or respond to his reports as chair of RT 08. On 29 August, Biben had decided to sort this out, but he did not get the chance to do so as he was then arrested.
The events of 31 August 2011:
At 05:00-06:00 on 31 August 2011 a combined unit of 115 members of the army and police carried out sweeping and a siege of 4 houses in the Wahno hill area, RT 08 in Kotaraja Luar, Jayapura. One of the houses targeted was that of Biben Kogoya (Chair of RT 08). The combined forces arrived in 6 Avanza cars and a police truck, with two of the units equipped with black batons. They parked 500 meters from the houses in question and placed the area in question under siege, firing a volley of shots towards the houses.
A total of 15 people, including Biben Kogoya, were beaten, tortured, interrogated and exhorted to confess to having committed the Skyline and Nafri murders. Victims were beaten with rifle butts, kicked, slapped, and forced to lie on the ground for a number of hours. Biben Kogoya was particularly singled out for beatings, and was confronted with an apparently unearthed bullet and some documents, and told to confess to owning these items or be murdered and buried. He was then forced to dig a hole whilst surrounded by security forces who had their guns aimed at him. He was frightened and thought that he was digging his own grave, but managed to escape into the open. The combined unit also brought a photograph of the soldier who was murdered on Jalan Baru, Camp Wolker (23/08/11) and asked Biben Kogoya if he had killed him. The photo was put inside his family photo album and taken out of the family room – he said he had never put that photograph of the soldier in the photo album.
Then the soldiers said it was Kogoya who killed him, this is the proof, look, it’s in his album. Meanwhile, Ekimar Kogoya was tortured until, unable to withstand the pain any longer, he confessed to the murders. When pushed to name an accomplice he then named Panius Kogoya.
The houses were ransacked and a number of items such as handphones, money, shoes, a watch, wallets and a bank card were seized.
Throughout the experience, the victims were subjected to degrading treatment, being called variously “dog, pig, cow, animals, murderers, cannibals.” They were also stigmatized as OPM members.
As Biben Kogoya escaped from digging the hole/grave, the Vicar Metius Kogoya arrived, shortly followed by the arrival of the Head of Abepura Police and the provincial Head of Police (Kapolda). According to the witness statement of the Vicar, the leaders said to their staff “don’t hit them anymore, what’s happened here is already enough.”
Between 12 and 13:00 on 31 August the 15 people were brought to the Polresta. They were left in the locked truck for some time in the full sun, finding it hard to breath and hurting from their wounds. They complained, and the truck was moved to the shade. Then they were taken one by one to sign a notice, without having a lawyer present. They were each photographed, then sat in front of the door of the investigation unit and interrogated. They were put back in the truck around 23:00-24:00 to sleep except Ekimar and Panius who were detained separately. They reportedly waited for hours in the truck without food or drink until 06:00 on 1 September. 3 of them became ill and were laid on the floor of the truck. One policeman helped us, giving us a litre of water (between 13 of us) and a packet of cigarettes. When they woke in the morning they were not allowed to go to the toilet to urinate or defecate but were told to go to the toilet in the open yard of the police station.
On 1 September at 11:40, the leaders of the Baptist church and human rights activists, accompanied by Matius Murib arrived to visit the detainees, who were sitting in front of the investigation unit of the police station, with the others lying asleep as they had malaria. 13 detainees were released and were taken home at 15:00, arriving at their house at 17:00. Ekimar and Panius remained in custody.
On 2 September, the 13 victims who had been sent home were taken to the hospital for a medical check up to be given the OK. It turned out three of them were sick with malaria, so were not given the all clear. They were:
1. Uwne Kogoya (23) malaria tertian +4
2. Yawenus Kogoya (21) malaria tropika +2
3. Nusman Kogoya (19) high leukosits.
On 3 September the Vicar was called by the police station to come and collect the arrest and detention notices for Panius Kogoya and Ekimar Kogoya, who were both charged with murder and/or violence in a public place against a person or object.
Condition of the victims
Following the incident, the victims suffered internal bruising and were traumatized. They were not able to carry out normal activities or travel very far. Biben Kogoya’s ability to remember, hear and see properly was reportedly impaired, and his control over his emotions was abnormal. On 6 September Uwen Wenda was reportedly still in Abepura hospital with malaria tropika and tersiana.
· Intelligence should be good, accurate and accountable.
· Those currently imprisoned should be released as they are not guilty for the Nafri and Skyline cases.
· The central and Papuan provincial governments should sit down together and discuss the security situation across Papua, which is increasingly unstable.
· The Head of Jayapura Police must be accountable for the arrest and torture of 15 civilians on 31 August, which took place without due legal process.
· Those police and soldiers involved should be punished in accordance with the law.
· The torture, humiliation and stigmatization which happened during the arrests are considered to be grave human rights violations (pelanggaran HAM yang berat).
· The police are responsible for reparations for both material damage and for the psychological recovery of the victims.
· A formal and public apology is needed from the Indonesian police to the victims and their families within ten days.
- KontraS: Arrest and torture of 13 Papuans have worsened the situation in Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- Special Investigation: State terror campaign around Jayapura (westpapuamedia.info)
- KNPB on the recent acts of violence in Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- Warinussy on the politics behind the recent conflicts in Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- 15 Papuans mistreated and tortured by army and police (westpapuamedia.info)