Makar accused reject charges, and Indonesian jurisdiction over Papua in adjourned trial (Photo Report)

January 31, 2012

By Nick Chesterfield from West Papua Media with local sources

(Jayapura) The treason trial against the leaders of the Third Papuan People’s Congress in Jayapura was adjourned on Monday until February 8, after a short hearing that Indonesian authorities moved at the last moment preventing many supporters from attending.

The five defendants, President of the Federated Republic of West Papua (FRWP)  Forkorus Yaboisembut, Prime Minister Edison Waromi, together with Congress organisers Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Sorabut and Agus Sananay were charged with makar or treason under Article 106 of KUHP (the Indonesian Criminal Code) for their declaration of an independent West Papua at the close of the Third Papuan People’s Congress on October 19 last year.

Papuan leaders accused of treason on trial in Jayapura, January 30, 2012

The historic Congress was violently broken up by Indonesian security forces using live fire and excessive violence, with at least seven people killed, hundreds beaten and tortured, despite official permission for the event to be held.  Indonesian security officers involved were given minor disciplinary sanction, with most perpetrators of violence enjoying complete impunity despite footage of the Indonesian security force violence being broadcast internationally.

Initial reports from witnesses inside the trial early in the day claimed that the team of judges argued with the defence legal team about the need to know the political position of the defendant’s, despite the fact that in a treason trial this would be self-evident.  Yaboisembut and Waromi then fundamentally rejected the charges against them, arguing that their actions were not treason“.

Forkorus Yobeisembut (Jakarta Globe)

According to Forkorus as reported by the Jakarta Post, “What we have been doing is seeking our own independence. Thus, we have cheated no one,”.  Forkorus argued that Indonesian occupation of his homeland was the real issue, and that ”this problem is not the problem of separatism and rebellion or treason”.  Both Forkorus and Waromi said that the issue of Papua should be tried in international courts as the Indonesian state did not have jurisdiction over Papua.

Forkorus Yaboisembut (Jakarta Globe)

in a short statement sent to West Papua Media, the defendant’s legal team said that the judge asked Forkorus and the accused understood the indictment.  “He answered that, yes, he understood what the prosecutors read but did not understand the charges of treason against them.”

“Forkorus then asked for time to read a statement to the assembly to process the rejection of the  law, (the request of) which was then approved by a judge.   Our attorneys will do the rebuttal (exception) to the indictment dated 8th February 2012,” according to the legal team led by Hamadi.

(Photo: Efraim Joteni)

Bintang Papua reported that another one of the lawyers for the accused, Gustaf Kawer,said that up to 32 lawyers from across Papua and Indonesia had offered pro-bono defence of the treason accused.  He said: ‘I am convinced that  the large number of lawyers who are attracted by the case is a good sign  of interest in the need to find a solution to the problem of Papua.’

Forkorus Yaboisembut and Edison Waromi media interview after trial.(Photo: Efraim Joteni)

The Panel of Judges hearing the trial are Chairman of the Jayapura District Court of Class IA, Jayapura, Papua, Jack John Octovianus, SH. MH,;  assisted by I Ketut Nyoman S, SH. MH. Syor Mambrasar, SH. MH. Orpah Marthina, SH. and Willem Marco Erari, SH.

Outside the court hearing, almost 400 hundred heavily armed riot police and a similar number of Army and Kopassus personnel were guarding the courthouse venue from dawn (0600) with close to a dozen armoured assault vehicles, mounted with heavy machine guns, according to participants.

Protest in support of West Papuan leaders in trial for treason (Photo: Efraim Joteni)
Protest in support of West Papuan leaders in trial for treason (Photo: Efraim Joteni)

Participants in the protest claimed to West Papua Media via SMS that security forces were acting in a heavy-handed manner, describing their actions as “wild and aggressive”.    “This display of armour  makes thousands of ordinary people in Jayapura traumatized and afraid to come to action,” said Jack Wainggai, the spokesman for the Prime Minister of the FRWP, Edison Waromi, on trial for treason today.  Organisers had aimed for several thousand people to attend, but amid heavy  Indonesian security that discouraged solidarity protests by West Papuan supporters of the defendants, only 500-600 braved the heavy armour and “state intimidation” outside the court.

Protest in support of West Papuan leaders in trial for treason (Photo: Efraim Joteni)
Brimob outside makar trial (Photo: West Papua Media)
Brimob outside makar trial (Photo: West Papua Media)
one of almost a dozen armoured vehicles securing outside court venue Jan 30 2012 Jayapura (Photo: West Papua Media)

Despite promises by Indonesian authorities that the trials would be open, the presiding judges secretly started proceedings at 8.30 am before supporter could arrive.   In a press statement before the trial, Bintang Papua reported that Olga Hamadi of Kontras Papua said, “The five men will face charges under Article 106 of the Criminal Code for subversion. Based on past experience, there are concerns regarding security during the trial which will be open to the public, meaning that anyone wishing to attend the trial will be able to do so.”  Hamadi urged all present to restrain themselves and ensure that conditions surrounding the trial are conducive.

Speculation has mounted amongst local observers that the trial may be moved from Jayapura to metropolitan Indonesia to reduce any potential political flashpoint it will cause amongst pro-independence forces in Papua, with the prosecutor’s office formally warning of such a move should unrest occur.   Conversely though, any shift would create more opportunities for international observers to be present at the trial, a basic condition called for by the defence and international human rights monitors.

After the adjournment, the few hundred that did attend were able to disperse peacefully without an Indonesian security force crackdown, but tension still remains high in Jayapura as armed troops are still deployed on the streets the following day.

Elsewhere in Papua, solidarity actions were held with the treason trials against the Congress leaders.   In Manokwari, orations were held calling for international peacekeepers to be deployed to protect West Papuan people from Indonesian state violence.  Calls were also made in Manokwari  for neutral international mediators for dialogue between Jakarta and the Federated Republic of West Papua.

HRW:: Indonesia – Drop Charges Against Papuan Activists

English: Human Rights Watch logo Русский: Лого...

Free Political Prisoners, Amend Treason Law to Uphold Free Speech

JANUARY 29, 2012
  • Police arrest attendees of the Third Papuan People
    Congress in Jayapura, Indonesia‘s Papua province on
     October 19, 2011.  © 2011 Reuters
The Indonesian government should show its commitment to peaceful expression by dropping the charges against these five Papuan activists. It’s appalling that a modern democratic nation like Indonesia continues to lock up people for organizing a demonstration and expressing controversial views.
Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director

(New York) – The Indonesian government should drop charges against five Papuan activists who are being prosecuted for peacefully expressing their political views, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 30, 2012, the district court in Jayapura, the Papua provincial capital, will begin the treason (makar) trial of five leaders of the Papuan People’s Congress, which the authorities forcibly dispersed last October.

“The Indonesian government should show its commitment to peaceful expression by dropping the charges against these five Papuan activists,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s appalling that a modern democratic nation like Indonesia continues to lock up people for organizing a demonstration and expressing controversial views.”

On October 19, 2011, Indonesian security forces, using excessive force, broke up a three-day Papuan People’s Congress gathering in Jayapura, Human Rights Watch said. After one of the leaders read the 1961 Papua Declaration of Independence out loud, police and the army fired warning shots to disperse the approximately 1,000 Papuans gathered for the peaceful demonstration supporting independence for Papua. The security forces then used batons and in some instances firearms against the demonstrators, killing at least three and injuring more than 90 others. Witnesses said that demonstrators had been struck on the head and several suffered gunshot wounds.

Following the incident, eight police officers, including the Jayapura police chief, Imam Setiawan, were given written warnings for committing a disciplinary infraction by not giving priority to the protection of civilians. However, no other action was taken against police or military personnel for possible misuse of force.

Five of the activists– Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, August Makbrowen Senay, Dominikus Sorabut, and Selpius Bobii – were charged with treason under article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code and have been held in police detention since October 19. Another Papuan, Gat Wenda, a member of the Penjaga Tanah Papua, orPepta (Papua Land Guard), which provided security at the Congress, will be tried separately on charges of possessing a sharp weapon.

At least 15 Papuans have been convicted of treason for peaceful political activities. They include Filep Karma, a civil servant who has been imprisoned since December 2004. About 60 other people throughout Indonesia, mostly activists from the Moluccas Islands, are also imprisoned on charges related to peaceful acts of free expression. Human Rights Watch renewed its call for the Indonesian government to release all political prisoners and allow human rights organizations and foreign journalists unimpeded access to visit Papua.

The Indonesian Criminal Code should be amended to ensure that no one is prosecuted for treason for exercising their rights to peaceful protest protected under the Indonesian constitution and international law, Human Rights Watch said. The constitution in article 28(e) states, “Every person shall have the right to the freedom of association and expression of opinion.” Article 28(f) provides, “Every person shall have the right to communicate and obtain information for the development of his/her personal life and his/her social environment, and shall have the right to seek, acquire, possess, keep, process, and convey information by using all available channels.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia ratified in 2006, similarly protects the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly.

Human Rights Watch takes no position on claims to self-determination in Indonesia. Consistent with international law, however, Human Rights Watch supports the right of everyone, including independence supporters, to express their political views peacefully without fear of arrest or other forms of reprisal.

“The Indonesian government should be prosecuting the people responsible for the ugly and unnecessary crackdown that left three Papuans dead, not those who read out a 1961 independence statement,” Pearson said. “Pursuing this trial will only deepen the resentment that many Papuans feel against the government.”

West Papua : Where is our freedom and justice? Trial on Monday


by Herman Wainggai

On October 16-19, the Third Papuan Congress held historic meetings in Abepura, Jayapura in which the largest representative majority ever of West Papuans voluntarily united and participated as members of the nascent Federated Republic of West Papua within our civil society. However, on October 19th, while nearing the completion of the public declaration of our independence, the Indonesian military became violent and arrested hundreds of nonviolent West Papuans, including President Forkorus Yaboisembut and Prime Minister Edison Waromi of the Federated Republic of West Papua.

Congressional Hearings on West Papua, September 22, 2010 From left : Salmon Yumame, Forkorus Yaboisembut, Eni Faleomavaega, Edison Waromi and Herman Wainggai

Over the years I have worked alongside many activists and political leaders including Filep Karma, Forkorus Yaboisembut, Jacob Rumbiak and others. For instance, Edison Waromi is a colleague of mine who has spent his life as a nonviolent political activist working for West Papua’s freedom. He has made tremendous sacrifices in his personal life including numerous incarcerations within the substandard conditions of Indonesian prisons in Papua.

Edison’s prison history began in 1989 when he was imprisoned for twelve years; In 2001 he was jailed for six months; and in 2002 we were incarcerated together for two years. For Edison this amounts to 14 1/2 years in the past 23 years of his life. Now he is currently serving another 15 year prison sentence resulting from his arrest in October. The convictions for these political incarcerations are typical iterations of subversion; In the meantime he will continue to serve his 15 year sentence with nary a complaint, even with the awareness that his due process will likely be denied.

My hope is that I will see the day when West Papuans are no longer defined by their repression and victimization, but rather by their strength, courage, and tenacity to fight for justice.

Rallies to support Papuan leaders facing treason trials on Monday

January 28, 2012

by Nick Chesterfield at with sources

West Papua’s civil resistance movement is believed to be organising major demonstrations to support West Papuan leaders facing treason charges in Indonesia’s courts on Monday, January 30.

Indonesian prosecutors will begin proceedings in Jayapura in the treason trials for the leaders of the Third Papuan People’s Congress (KP3), which decalred independence from Jakarta on October 19 last year, after which Indonessian security forces stormed the venue.  The President of the Federated Republic of West Papua Forkorus Yaboisembut, Prime Minister Edison Waromi, together with Congress organisers Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Sorabut, Agus Sananay and Gat Wenda all face a battery of charges stemming from their involvement in the Third Papuan Peoples Congress, held for only the third time since 1961.

Papuan leaders are standing infront; Forkorus Yaboisembut S.Pd, Edsison Waromi SH .behind Dominikus Surabut, Gad Wenda, Agus Senandy Kraar and Selpius Bobii (Photos: West Papua Media)

Five of the six are charged with treason under Article 106 of KUHP (the Indonesian Criminal Code), and have also been charged under Article 53 for incitement to acts of treason, and Article 55 which states that even attempting to committ an act (in this case treason), even if unproven is the same as committing the act.  Gat Wenda is charged with carrying a concealed weapon. The use of these charges date back to the Dutch colonial times and were used extensively by the Suharto New Order regime to suppress nonviolent dissent.

Their trial will take place at Pengadilan Negeri Klas 1A (State Court 1A), according to a letter dated 17 January (reference 17/PEN.PID/2012/PN). The trial is due to start at 10:00am. The Hon. Jack Johanes Octovianus SH. MH. will be the presiding judge.

Indonesian police and soldiers stormed the Congress venue on October 19 after the independence declaration at the close of the Congress, killing at least 7 people, injuring hundreds and arresting as many as 800 participants. All but the six current detainees were eventually released, but ongoing crackdowns against Papuan nonviolent activists by security forces across Papua intensified in the weeks after the Congress, with several cases of arbitrary arrest and killings.

Papuan human rights activists have alleged, as Video footage of the attack clearly shows, Australian trained Detachment 88 anti-terror troops involved in the attack on unarmed congress participants. Six people were killed and over 300 were arrested.

All detainees were severely beaten by Indonesian police extensively in the weeks following the crackdown, with Yaboisembut sustaining multiple fractures including broken ribs and sternum, and was so badly tortured that he could not stand.

The Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (Elsham) together with the Communion of Churches in Papua (PGGP) reported in said that at least 51 people had been tortured by members of the military and police during and after the Congress. Congress participants testified that they had been “beaten and kicked repeatedly by security forces both at the congress site and while being transported to police headquarters. Some participants said they were beaten at the police station.”

In mid December, when the Indonesian police finally charged the detainees with treason, their legal team rejected this unequivocally. As reported by Bintang Papua, well prior to the Congress the committee sent a letter of notification to the police requesting permission for the congress to be held, and had also sent a letter to the Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto, requesting him to be the keynote speaker at the congress. Suyanto agreed and instructed the director-general of the ministry to open the congress, though he never attended.

‘How can this be said to be treason when there have been letters received from the police and the minister?,’ said the lawyers who stressed that all their clients had done was to express their opinions, rights guaranteed under Indonesian Law the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

An SMS sent to West Papua Media from the KP3 committee has called for the people of Papua to guard the results of the Third Papuan Congress and to hold the Indonesian state to upholding the due process of law.

There is a high likelihood that the six will not receive a fair trial, according to human rights monitors and the lawyers for the six.

The Papuan detainees have requested international observers, including an Australian Government representative be present at the trial and their lawyers have advised that it is possible. The six are all peaceful protesters who were exercising their right to free speech, according to legal observers.

Demonstrations of prayers, live music and vigils are planned to be held outside the courthouse during the trials, according to West Papua Media stringers on the ground in Jayapura. The KP3 COmmittee have called for people to “maintain an escort for the trial that is peaceful and dignified” and to remain united in the face of security force provocations.

West Papua Media stringers also report that Indonesian security forces have mobilised sigificantly to prevent any “disruption” of the treason trials, expected to be a flashpoint for further crackdown by security forces on peaceful dissent. Significant deployment of military hardware is expected on Monday which may provoke an already tense atmosphere.

West Papua Media will naturally report on any developments as they happen.

AHRC: Authorities refuse to treat political prisoner with tumour

January 27, 2012


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-008-2012

ISSUES: Indigenous people; inhuman and degrading treatment; prison conditions

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the condition of Kimanus Wenda, a political prisoner at Nabire prison, Papua, who has a tumor in his stomach and must be operated on. Although Indonesian law clearly notes that it is the state’s obligation to provide medical fees, the Papua legal and human rights department is refusing to pay for Mr. Wenda’s surgery due to a lack of funds. Moreover, the goverment is now claiming that Mr. Wenda does not require surgery, although local activists found the opposite to be true.


According to the information received from KontraS, ALDP and SKPHP, on April 4, 2003, at around 1am, there was a burglary at 1702/ Jayawijaya Wamena military district staff headquarters armory.

Eight perpetrators were arrested in connection to this theft: Yafrai Murib, Numbungga Telenggen, Enos Lokobal, Linus Hiluka, Kanius Murib, Kimanus Wenda, Des Wenda and Mikael Haselo. On January 15, 2004, according to the verdict declared by the Wamena district court, all the victims were found guilty for rebellion under articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code. Yafrai Murib and Numbungga Telenggen were sentenced to lifetime imprisonment, while the others were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Civil society considers this verdict to not be based on legal facts.

Since 2010, Mr. Wenda has had a tumor in his stomach and is constantly vomiting. He informed the health staff at Nabire prison but was not given any adequate response. On February 2, 2011, the Nabire hospital issued a reference letter regarding Mr. Wenda’s sickness and the need for him to be operated at Jayapura hospital. Two days later, Mr. Wenda’s legal counsel sent a medical leave letter to the head of Papua’s regional office of law and human rights and the head of Nabire prison, but received no response. On September 19, SKPHP met the head of Papua legal and human rights department but the department said it has no money and thus cannot pay for Mr. Wenda’s operation. This violates Indonesian law under Indonesian Government Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners’ Rights in Prisons, which states that it is a state obligation to provide medical fees and treatment. While civil society is now gathering funds to pay for the operation in Jayapura hospital, it is not yet enough.

Furthermore, on December 16, at the hearings between KontraS and the ministry of law and human rights, the staff of Nabire prison said that based on their report and the statement of the prison chief, Mr. Wenda was seen playing volley ball in prison and therefore his stomach tumour is not dangerous and does not need to be operated in Jayapura hospital. However, on December 21, when local activists brought Mr. Wenda to be examined at Nabire hospital, John, the surgery doctor who examined Mr. Wenda, stated that the tumour is severe and should be operated as soon as possible. The government denial to treat Mr. Wenda has resulted in much civil society concern about his safety.

The AHRC has recorded that political prisoners, especially in Papua, face ill-treatment and torture in prison, as in the case of Fendinand Pakage, who was tortured by a Abepura prison officer in 2008, resulting in permanent damage to his right eye, and in the case of Buchtar Tabuni in 2009, also beaten and tortured by a Abepura prison officer. Political prisoners’ rights are bare fulfilled, especially the right to health, as seen by Filep Karma, who was neglected at Dok II Jayapura hospital although his ureter should be operated.

Furthermore, on August 28, 2007, Mikael Haselo, a political prisoner arrested and charged in the same case as Mr. Wenda, died after being treated at Bayangkara hospital, Makasar, South Sulawesi, due to the complication of some diseases, such as cough, enteritis, bronchitis and lung inflammation.

for suggested actions please visit

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: