Monthly Archives: July 2012

Filep Karma refuses to take oath in Buchtar trial

JUBI, 26 July,2012


Filep Karma who has diligently fought for the basic rights of the Papuan indigenous people refused to take the oath when summoned as a witness in the ongoing trial of Buchtar Tabuni. He said that the court was a full of people who know only how to deceive and trick the Papuan people.

He said that his own declaration that he was speak the truth was enough. Both the prosecuting counsel and the judges urged Karna to take the other on the Bible but he refused to do so.

He said repeatedly that he did not want to acknowledge the law that was in the hands of people who were intent upon using deception. He reiterated his belief in God whose crown is embedded in within his own breast.

‘Jesus said, I am the word, the path towards  truth and life. I will offer my testimony on that basis,’ Karma told the court. However the judge failed to persuade Karma to take the oath in the way required by the court. He asked Karma whether he was willing to be a witness in the Buchtar Tabuni trial and if so he would have to take the oath as required.

Karma did not budge from his position and the judge therefore dismissed him as a witness and adjourned the hearing.

The next hearing in the trial will be held on 30 July.

A photo accompanying the article in JUBI shows Filep Karma in a discussion with Buchtar Tabuni outside the courthouse.]

[Abridged translation by TAPOL]


Benny Giay: “Journalists in West Papua doing the same thing as Journalists in South Africa during Apartheid Era”

by Victor Mambor

Jayapura, (26/7) – Benny Giay, Chairman of the Synod of Kingmi on West Papua said that news of Papua, published by local and national mass media (Indonesia) have occurred in South Africa in the apartheid era. Investors and the government have controlled the public mind in a discriminatory manner through journalists and mass media.

“I think the news in the history of the community/state totalitarian and repressive media owner are required to follow the will of the regime. They, the media managers or journalists who write the story from the perspective of a victimized by totalitarian and repressive regimes are considered as trouble.” Benny Giay said to, Wednesday (27/6) in Jakarta via mobile phone.

In the same place, Septer Manufandu, Executive Secretary of Foker LSM Papua said  “The news media and journalists are very discriminatory. This is a problem for us Papuans, because news like this fosters separatist stigma and make people think that the perpetrators of current terror and violence are the Papuans. Though police are not able to prove it.” Septer said to reporters in Jakarta, Tuesday, June 26th.

According to Benny Giay, these circumstances indicate that media managers or journalists in this context are discriminating (against Papuans). However, he also understands that this situation can sometimes occur because the ruling regime have a (financial) stake in the media at which journalists work.

“Noam Chomsky has a view about this culture in which the investor or the authorities control the public mind with one-sided messages that discriminate against a sacrificial group.   Journalists in West Papua are doing the same thing as journalists in South Africa during the Apartheid Era in the 1950s or in Indonesia in the 19th century.  Nothing new in Papua.” said Benny Giay.

Press freedom in South Africa has a fragmented history. Some sectors of the South African media could openly criticize the apartheid system and National Party government, but they were hampered by government censorship for years.   Not many journalists in the apartheid era could draw clear boundaries between truth and the interests of the ruler.  Of particular interest were the media companies they worked for.  At the time of apartheid, the
control of journalists and mass media is very strong. The mass media were dominated by noise and propaganda from the apartheid regime.

One example was the death of Steve Biko, a South African student leader who founded the Black Consciousness Movement. On August 18, 1977, Biko was arrested by apartheid regime police of Africa on charges of violating South Africa Act, No. 38, 1967 on Terrorism.  He was interrogated by two police officers from Port Elizabeth, Harold Snyman and Gideon Nieuwoudt. The interrogation lasted twenty-two hours, including torture and beatings that resulted in Biko falling into a coma.   He suffered serious head injuries while in police custody and was chained to a window grille for a day.  The mass media in South African did not write about his torture instead reporting Biko was arrested for violating the Terrorism Act, until  journalist (and now political leader) Helen Zille, along with editor and journalist Donald Woods,  revealed the truth behind Biko’s death.

Steve Biko died shortly after arriving at the Pretoria prison, on 12 September 1977. The police claimed his death was the result of Biko’s hunger strike, but an autopsy revealed bruises and abrasions that caused a brain haemorrhage from a large wound in Biko’s skull.  The autopsy was powerful evidence that Biko was brutally beaten by his captors.

The attitudes of mass media in South Africa during the apartheid era over Biko’s death is almost equal to the attitude of local and Indonesian mass media in Indonesia around the death of Mako Tabuni, the Vice Chairman of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB).  Journalists and mass media only reported view of the police, without any express testimony of actual witnesses. Newspapers reported that Mako Tabuni was shot to death because he tried to resist police, while some witnesses expressed Mako Tabuni was shot without warning. (Jubi/Victor Mambor)

Bishop wants Papuans to hold dialogue before any dialogue with Indonesia

Bintang Papua, 20 July, 2012Mgr Leo Laba Ladjar , the Bishop of Jayapura, believes that the Papuan people should hold a dialogue between themselves before entering into dialogue with Indonesia. He acknowledged that this dialogue would be quite difficult. He was speaking during a meeting of all Catholic clerics with representatives of the police force to build a  partnership for security and order in Papua.

He said that Papuan people should sit together and discuss how to promote development in Papua.

Response to KNPB calls

In response to the desire of the KNPB – National Committee of West Papua for all its members to surrender to the police and to call on the Bishop to mediate,  he said that this was quite acceptable  as long as the organisation’s intentions were genuine and it was not simply seeking to meet the Bishop which might cause people to suspect their intentions.

He described the KNPB as an organisation that has rejected all the programmes of the government such as Special Autonomy, UP4B and other things

‘I have the impression that the KNPB refuses to listen to anyone. I would not want to listen to things that they are doing  at a time when they are becoming ever more determined and radical. I dont know how long the KNPB will continue to reject any improvements. Perhaps they are seeking to get something that they have not been able to get so far.’

[COMMENT from Tapol: Perhaps what the Bishop describes as radical is the recent call by the KNPB for a referendum to be held in West Papua.]

Yusak Pakage questioned by police for possessing a pocket knife


JUBI and Bintang Papua, 23 July 2012

Former political prisoner taken to police command post

The former political prisoner, Yusak Pakage, was taken to a police station in Jayapura for questioning after an incident that occurred while he was sitting in court, waiting for the  second hearing in the trial of Buchtar Tabuni on 23 July to begin.

The JUBI report says that, while sitting there, he was showing his anger [presumably feeling incensed at the fact that a man of Buchtar Tabuni’s stature and reputation was facing charges in court].

[Note: Yusak Pakage was arrested together with Filep Karma in 2004 and sentenced to 15 years for unfurling a Morning Star Flag and was released a year ago.]

Feeling infuriated, he is said to have kicked a spittoon, the contents of which splashed the trousers of an official of the local administration who was sitting next to him. The official responded angrily and moved away, in the direction of some police officers who were present in court.

A police officer then approached Pakage and searched him and say that he was found to be in possession of a pocket knife. The police officer then grabbed him roughly and forced him into a police vehicle outside to take him in for questioning for carrying a sharp implement allegedly with the intention of stabbing someone.

The JUBI report makes it clear that he was not holding the knife in his hand at the time but the knife was found in his pocket when he was searched.

The Bintang Papua report identifies Yusak Pakage as the co-ordinator of the Papuan Street Parliament and in entitled ‘Street Parliament co-ordinator could go back to prison’. It states that the local police chief said that he would be interrogated ‘because his behaviour was seen as a threat to someone’s security’ and said that he could be charged under Emergency Regulation 12/1951 for posing a danger to another person’s safety and could face up to five years.

Two reports summarised by TAPOL]

[COMMENT: This incident shows how  insecure  former political prisoners are in West Papua, even after having served their sentence.]


Trial of Buchtar Tabuni postponed


JUBI, 23 July 2012

The second hearing in the trial of Buchtar Tabuni did not proceed as planned because a witness who was due to appear failed to turn up,

Buchtar Tabuni is the chairman of the KNPB, the National Committee of West Papua, and is facing charges for having allegedly inflicted damage on the Abepura prison where he is currently being held and for exchanging harsh words with prison warders.

The prosecutor told the court that they intend to summon ten witnesses. The first to be summoned was the  former director of the prison, Liberti Sitnjak who is now the director of a prison in Ambon.  This was the witness who failed to turn up.

Before the hearing was postponed, one of the lawyers of the defendants, Gustaf Kawar, called on the judge to insist that the prosecutor guarantee that witnesses appear as planned and ensure that the next hearing is not postponed. After an exchange between the lawyer and the judge, the hearing was postponed.

The next hearing is due to take place on 26 July.

The defendant is on trial together with Dominggus Pulalo.

The hearing was attended by dozens of members of the KNPB.

[Translated by TAPOL]