24 Feb Update on Forkorus trial: Testimony from witness

Bintang  Papua, 24 February 2012 

One of the witnesses to appear in the trial, Eliezer Awom told the court that the declaration of establishment of the Federal Republic of West  Papua had come about as a result of pressure from the Papuan people, as had been expressed during the Third Papuan Congress which was held in October last year.

Eliezer Awom was the only one of nine witnesses who were due to testify at the hearing. The other witnesses did not turn up.

Awom reminded the court that the Third Papuan Congress had been attended by around four thousand people.

The witness described the decision that was taken at the conclusion of the Congress and the subsequent arrest of Forkorus, along with a number of other people, including the witness himself. He insisted that the Congress was a manifestation of the wishes of the Papuan people and said that the Congress which had taken place and had been given official permission to take place. He said that the Congress had agreed to the establishment of the Federal Republic of West Papua and had elected Forkorus Yaboisembut as the President of the Federal Republic, along with Edison Waromi as its prime minister.

He described how Forkorus made his statement very public through loudspeakers and that two hours later, the security forces had started shooting the participants  in order to force them to disperse. He described the banners that had been unfurled at the Congress and insisted that they were simply restoring the Federal Republic of West Papua, and that West Papua belongs to the West Papua people.

Around 400 people were taken into custody at the time, many of whom were subjected to maltreatment such as kicks and punches by the security forces.

Forkorus and the other four Papuans who are on trial with him confirmed that what the witness said in court was true.

He said that the declaration should be sent to the United Nations in order for the Federal Republic of West Papua to obtain formal recognition from the international community.

As with previous hearings, security forces were out in force around the courthouse.

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