KNPB members unable to attend trial of Buchtar Tabuni

 

JUBI, 18 July 2012The first hearing in the trial of Buchtar Tabuni, chairman of the KNPB, the National Committee of West Papua took place but none of the thousands of members of the KNPB were present to give their support to the accused.

They were probably absent because of the circulation of text messages  and terror phone calls, giving them reason to believe that they would be included on the DPO, the  ‘wanted persons’ list and would be arrested and they didn’t want their names to be made public.

One man from the central highlands who did not want to give his name said that not all the members of the organisation were known to the police. ‘We dont want to have our names included on the ‘wanted’ list. Had we attended the trial, this would have helped.them..

He said that the absence of KNPB members at any of the trial hearings  would mean that the police succeeded in dampening the militancy of the KNPB.

But others who attended the trial said that the absence of KNPB members was a sign of who supports their struggle and who doesn’t support it. ‘It  proves,’ said one person, ‘who are the real friends and who are people who just want to take part in activities.’

But another person said that the KNPB members  were not prepared to take the risk of facing fabricated charges. They were protecting themselves by not attending the trial. ‘They probably don’t want to be charged with all manner of things,’ he said.

The police guard round the courthouse for the Buchtar trial was not as tight as the guard that was mounted when Forkorus Yaboisembut was on trial, when Brimob troops were guarding the courthouse. Nor were there as many people attending the trial of Buchtar as had attended the trial of Forkorus.

[Translated by TAPOL]

[Comment: Following the brutal murder on 16 June of Mako Tabuni, a leader of the KNPB, members of the organisation certainly could not take the risk of attending any trial that would put them in danger of suffering the same fate. TAPOL]

 

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