Selpius Bobii disappeared briefly by prison authorities objecting to music rehersal

May 3, 2012

by West Papua Media sub-editors*

As preparations were underway for mass non-violent demonstrations across West Papua on Monday, 30 April, an incident occurred simultaneously inside Abepura prison between prison guards and inmates. Local stringers informed West Papua Media that Selpius Bobii, one of the ‘Jayapura Five’ political prisoners (and organisers of the Third Papuan People’s Congress) had a verbal confrontation with a prison officer during lunch time, after prison officials refused his permission for a music rehearsal.

“The incident occurs between prisoners and prison officers April 30th, 2012”, said Gustaf Kawer, legal representative of  the ‘Jayapura Five’  political prisoners.

A simple misunderstanding escalated into armed prison security forces sweeping and raiding inmates’ cells on Monday evening.  West Papua Media was notified through local stringers on Tuesday that around 10pm, Monday, West Papuan local time, Selpius Bobii was taken out from his cell and taken away. Simultaneously, sweeping was carried out inside the prison that left several inmates bruised and beaten, and all inmates locked down indefinitely in isolation in their cells.

The West Papua Media team made direct contact on Tuesday night to the ironically named Head of Abepura Prison, Liberty Sutinja.  Mr. Sutinjah said he “was not at liberty to speak over the phone due to (prison) protocol.”

West Papua Media rang Mr Sutinja again today, Thursday, 03 May 2012, around 11am local time but he refused to speak and switch off his mobile phone after the third attempt.

Mr. Kawer further mentioned that as of Monday, from May 1 to 7, 2012, visits and access to prisoners – including Mr. Yaboisembut and Mr. Waromi – from families, clergy and lawyers are effectively closed.

Kawar urgently calls for the Regional Office and Human Rights Office of Papua Province to open up access to the detainees in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. The regulations regarding visits outlines the terms and procedure guaranteed for prisoners rights to have access and visits whilst in prison.

Article 1, paragraph 32/1999 states that, “every prisoners and juveniles are entitled to receive visits from family, legal counsel or other or appointed person”.

Since Tuesday, unconfirmed reports sent to West Papua Media via SMS are stating that Selpius Bobii was believed to be transferred to Polda Papua – Papua Regional Police prison.

As this article went to press, information was provided by credible legal sources to West Papua Media that Selpius Bobii will be taken back to Abepura prison tomorrow, Friday, 04 May, 2012. According to the source, activities should be back to normal and prison visits from families are reinstated as of 3 May 2012.


*West Papua Media’s Editor is away recovering from serious health issues.

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