AHRC: Manokwari Court acquits four Papuan students but sentences one more student with rebellion

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-046-2011

4 October 2011

[RE: AHRC-UAU-041-2011: INDONESIA: Manokwari court sentences two Papuan activists in flawed trial]
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INDONESIA: Manokwari Court acquits four Papuan students but sentences one more student with rebellion

ISSUES: Freedom of expression, Indigenous Peoples, Independence of Judges and Lawyers
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information from the Institute for Research, Recognition and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH) in West Papua regarding the sentencing of another Papuan student and the acquittal of four others in relation to their involvement in a peaceful protest on 14 December 2010. While the AHRC welcomes the acquittal of four of the seven victims brought before court the sentencing of the other three presents a violation of their right to freedom of expression. Concerns over the imprisonment of Mr. Bleskadit and the application of the rebellion charge against peaceful protesters in other cases in West Papua remain.

UPDATED INFORMATION:

In the urgent appeal on 23 June 2011 (AHRC-UAC-117-2011), the AHRC raised concerns about the rebellion charges against seven people, for organizing and participating in a peaceful protest and the raising of a West Papuan flag that symbolizes self determination. At the correctional facility, they were ill-treated and denied medical care for weeks resulting in serious health conditions. (photo: Melki Bleskadit in court, source:LP3BH)

On 18 August 2011, the Manokwari district court sentenced Melki Bleskadit (also known as Melkianus Bleskadit) to two years imprisonment. On 23 August 2011, Mr. Yenu was sentenced to seven months and 16 days imprisonment. The AHRC learned that the verdicts were declared based on a flawed process and issued an update AHRC-UAU-041-2011.

On 27 September 2011, the judges panel acquitted four of the five other Papuan students. According to the Manokwari court’s decision No: 84/Pid.B/2011/PN.Mkw, Mr Alex Duwiri and Mr John Wilson Wader were not guilty of acts of rebellion under article 106 jo, (in conjunction with) Article 55 and 56 of the criminal code. The Courts decision No. : 85/Pid.B/2011/PN.Mkw under the same charges declared Mr Panehas Serongon alias Panehas Sarongon and Mr Yance Sekenyap as not guilty. However, according to the latter decision, Mr Jhon Raweyai alias Joni was proven guilty for participating in the rebellion crime, and was sentenced to 9 (nine) months and 17 (seventeen) days imprisonment, most of which has by now already been served during pretrial detention.

The AHRC is of the opinion that the conduct of any peaceful protest is protected by the Indonesian Constitution and international human rights law applicable to Indonesia. Laying criminal charges against the protesters based on the content of the opinion shared violates the victim’s right to freedom of expression in this case. The relevant articles in the Indonesian Criminal Code that originates from the Dutch colonial period have to be reviewed and their further application halted. The AHRC has noted that several steps taken by the authorities have in the recent past aggravated tensions including the stigmatization many indigenous Papuans including activists as rebels. Many are charged and sentenced in flawed processes that lack impartiality and professional standards of judicial conduct, such as in the case of Mr. Bleskadit and Mr. Yenu. The perpetrators of such rights violations are rarely held accountable, which prolongs the use of the courts for political interests. In the cases of Mr Bleskadit and Mr. Yenu, no information regarding accountability actions against the perpetrators are known.

The court held four of the victims not guilty after they had spent approximately nine months in prison without proper access to medical care. Indonesian law entitles the victims to compensation for the deprivation of their liberty during detention and the health conditions they had to endure.

The AHRC has received reports from further sources that the security institutions in Manokwari and West Papua had earlier planned to undertake systematic efforts during 1-14 December 2011 to intentionally create a situation that would allow for the arrest of and criminal charges against protesters. According to the reports received this operation was planned to justify the ongoing stigmatization of indigenous Papuans with the view to scale up security operations. The AHRC urges an immediate investigation into these serious allegations to avoid repetition.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities listed below asking them to intervene in the case immediately to ensure that all allegations of institutional misconduct leading to wrongful deprivation of the victims liberty is investigated, that the victims are compensated and Mr. Bleskadit is released from his political imprisonment. All legal process must to be conducted in accordance with international norms.

Please be informed that the AHRC is sending letters on this case to to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

INDONESIA: Manokwari Court acquits four Papuan students but sentences one more student with rebellion

Name of victim: Jhon Raweyai, Penehas Serongan, Yance Sekeyab, Alex Duwiri, John Wilson Wader, Melki Bleskadit and Daniel Yenu
Names of alleged perpetrators: Police members, including guards of detention cell of Manokwari district police who arrested, detained and examined the victims, the prosecutor who examined this case
Date of incident: December 2010-September 2011
Place of incident: Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the conviction and sentencing of Jhon Raweyai at the Manokwari district court on 27 September 2011 and the ongoing imprisonment of Mr. Bleskadit for their involvement in a peaceful protest on 14 December 2010.

I know that on 14 December 2010, seven people were charged with rebellion after they had conducted a peaceful protest following a flag raising event. At the correctional facility, they were ill-treated and denied medical care for weeks resulting in serious health conditions.

Furthermore, I know that the Manokwari district court issued the verdict that two of the victims, Melki Bleskadit (also known as Melkianus Bleskadit) and Daniel Yenu, were guilty of acts of rebellion. On 18 August 2011, the verdict against Mr. Bleskadit was declared and he was sentenced to two years imprisonment. On 23 August 2011, Mr. Yenu was convicted to seven months and 16 days imprisonment. I am also aware that the verdicts were declared based on flawed process. Meanwhile, the other accused are still undergoing the trial process.

I was informed that on 27 September 2011, the judges panel acquitted four of the five other Papuan students. According to the Manokwari court’s decision No: 84/Pid.B/2011/PN.Mkw, Mr Alex Duwiri and Mr John Wilson Wader were not guilty of acts of rebellion under article 106 jo, (in conjunction with) Article 55 and 56 of the criminal code. The Courts decision No. : 85/Pid.B/2011/PN.Mkw under the same charges declared Mr Panehas Serongon als. Panehas Sarongon and Mr Yance Sekenyap as not guilty. However, according to the latter decision, Mr Jhon Raweyai als. Joni was proven guilty for participating in the rebellion crime, and was sentenced to 9 (nine) months and 17 (seventeen) days imprisonment, most of which has by now already been served during detention.

I am aware that the conduct of any peaceful protest is protected by the Indonesian Constitution and international human rights law applicable to Indonesia. Laying criminal charges against the protesters based on the content of the opinion shared by them violates the victim’s right to freedom of expression in this case. The relevant articles in the Indonesian Criminal Code that originated from the Dutch colonial period have to be reviewed and their further application halted. I am also aware that several steps taken by the authorities have in the recent past aggravated tensions including the stigmatization many indigenous Papuans including activists as rebels. Many are charged and sentenced in flawed processes that lack impartiality and professional standards of judicial conduct, such as in the case of Mr. Bleskadit and Mr. Yenu. The perpetrators of such rights violations are hardly held accountable, which prolongs the instrumentalisation of courts for political interests. In the cases of Mr Bleskadit and Mr. Yenu, no information regarding accountability processes against the perpetrators are known.

I am also concerned that the court held four of the victims as not guilty after they had spent approximately nine months in prison without proper access to medical care. Indonesian law entitles the victims to a compensation for the deprivation of their liberty during detention and the health conditions they had to endure.

I was shocked to hear about further reports that alleged that security operation were planned by some authorities in order to artificially create conditions that would allow the police to charge activists in various places of West Papua as rebels in order to maintain stigmatization and with the view to scale up security operations. Since many of the steps taken by authorities in recent years seem to aggravate the conflict in West Papua, I am very concerned about the approach of Indonesian institutions in West Papua.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
The President of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 3863777 / 3503088
Fax: +62 21 3442223

2. Head of Indonesian Police
Markas Besar Kepolisian Indonesia
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru
South Jakarta 12110
INDONESIA
Tel.: +62 21 3848537 / 7260306 / 7218010
Fax: +62 21 7220669
Email: info@polri.go.id

3. The Minister of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 5253006, 5253889, 5264280
Fax: +62 21 5253095

4. Mr. Basrief Arief
The Attorney General of Indonesia
Jl. Sultan Hasanudin No. 1
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta 12160
INDONESIA
Tel.: +62 21 7221337, 7397602.
Fax: + 62 21 7250213

5. Head of Papua Regional Police
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi No. 8
Jayapura
INDONESIA
Tel.: + 62 967 531834

6. Head of Division of Profession and Security of Papua Regional Police
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi No. 8
Jayapura
INDONESIA
Tel.: + 62 967 531834

7. Head of National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia
Jalan Latuharhary No.4-B,
Jakarta 10310
INDONESIA
Tel.: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
E-mail: info@komnas.go.id

8. Chairman of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas)
Jl. Tirtayasa VII No. 20 Komplek PTIK Jakarta Selatan
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 739 2352
Fax: +62 21 739 2317

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

2 thoughts on “AHRC: Manokwari Court acquits four Papuan students but sentences one more student with rebellion

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