‘We are shortly planning to mark the anniversary of the death of this great Papuan leader,’ said Thomas Syufi, president of the Militant Papuans Students Federation.
‘He was a Papuan leader who struggled for his people to be treated with decency and respect. He did not resort to violence but the Megawati government regarded him as a threat.
He went on to say in a press conference in Jayapura, that there has been no justice yet for the death of Theys Eluay. ‘The senior army officer who had been involved in the death was allowed to go free. [A few low-ranking Kopasus officers involved in the abduction were given short sentences which they almost certainly never served.] ‘That is why we regard Theys Eluay as a martyr ,’ the students said.
[The facts about Theys’ death are as follows: Shortly before his death he had been elected the chairman of the Papuan Presidium Council. He was tricked into meeting some members of the army’s elite corps Kopassus on 10 November 2001, kidnapped and driven to an unknown destination. On the following day, his body was discovered in Skouw, a Papuan village near the border with PNG, more than 50 kms from where he had been abducted. He appeared to have been strangled to death; an autopsy concluded that he had died of suffocation. See Tapol Bulletin, December 2001/February 2002.]
The call made at the time by Human Rights Watch for an impartial inquiry into what was seen as a ‘well-planned assassination’ was never responded to by the authorities.]
To mark the forthcoming anniversary of his death, Papuans were called on to gather at the grave of Theys. The government, the military and NGOs were called on not to raise banners at the grave, ‘out of respect for the fallen leader’.
Plans to move the body have been rejected by Papuans. The anniversary of his death will be marked by prayers and other activities that have not yet been revealed.
[Translated by Tapol]
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