Okto Pogau: Police beating of journalist in Manokwari

Statement by Oktovianus Pogau


October 23, 2012
I’m going to describe the beating I (Oktovianus Pogau, Journalist) http://www.suarapapua.com experienced by the Manokwari district police in front of Papua State University campus in Manokwari, West Papua, on the afternoon of Tuesday 23rd October.

At about 10.00 am Eastern Indonesian Time I arrived at the place of the incident, in front of the Papua State University campus. I saw around 300 armed officers holding/restraining a crowd of 300 people. The crowd was planning on marching to Lapangan Borarsi, Manokwari. There were three trucks blocking the road, and also 1 TNI (military) truck with dozens of personnel.

There were negotiations between the police and the crowd. Police requested the crowd express their opinion there, on the main road, in front of the campus. The crowd insisted on continuing to Lapangan Borarsi. There was some commotion, then the crowd yielded and didn’t continue to Lapangan Borarsi (except) for a few people who continued there to wait for another crowd of demonstrators to arrive.

At about 10.40 am Eastern Indonesian Time, a police officer neared the crowd and took a photo. The crowd didn’t accept this, and moved nearer to the police and requested that they not take photos so close. Then, several people from the crowd spontaneously threw rocks in the direction of the officers, and from here, the officers responded brutally. Hundreds of people dispersed and the officers loosed thousands of shots in front of the campus Uncen. 11 people were arrested. 2 people suffered from gunshot wounds.

At this time I wasn’t far from where this was happening. I was trying to take footage and photos. A plain-clothed police officer approached me and told me to leave the area in a rude tone. I told him I was a journalist and carried a press card. He demanded I show him my card. I found my wallet so I could show him my card but suddenly a police officer in full uniform turned up. The officer strangled my neck and threatened me, so that I’d leave to the action. I resisted and said I was a journalist, then three more officers in uniform came and barked at me, ‘Where’s your press card . . . where’s your press card.’ I moved to look for it, but one of the police threw punches at my face and lips.
At this time my neck was aching from the strangulation by the officer and my lip was swollen and bleeding. Then several of my journalist friends came and stopped them and said I was a journalist, and only then did they release me.


Papuan independence demo in London

Bintang Papua
25 October 2012 Benny Wenda leads an Independence Demo in London

Jayapura: Three British Members of Parliament were present at a meeting which was held in one of the committee rooms in the House of Commons for two hours on 23 October  at which information was given about the situation in West Papua.

The three parliamentarians were Andrew Smith, MP, member  for Oxford, Lord Harris a member of the House of Lords and Dan Rogerson MP, member for Cornwall.

While the meeting was in progress, a group of a dozen or more supporters of the OPM, the Papuan Freedom Organisation, held a demonstration outside, led by Benny Wenda, leader of the West Papuan.organisation overseas, who also addressed the demo. One of the demands made by the speaker was for the United Nations to send an observer mission to West Papua.

[The report is accompanied by a photo of the demonstration, which also shows the Morning  Star flag.]


Warinussy: Poor Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia

by Yan Christian Warinussy


October 25, 2012

The Government of Indonesia is lacking political commitment and has failed to take a clear stand in providing a safe, comfortable working environment for human rights defenders in Indonesia. They are not protected while carrying out their professional activities in various areas in Indonesia, particularly in conflict areas such as the Land of Papua (Papua and West Papua).

This has been proved by various types of physical intimidation towards human rights workers in the Land of Papua such as Theo Hesegem (an activist from the Papua Peace Network in Wamena), Peneas Lokbere (Coordinator of BUK in Jayapura), lawyer Olga Helen Hamadi (Coordinator of KontraS Papua in Jayapura), Fanny Kogoya (Coordinator of Walhi Papua in Jayapura) and most recently Octovianus Pogau (an online media journalist for Papuan Voice and contributor for an English language media outlet based in Jakarta), who was intimidated by members of the Manokwari police force last Tuesday (23/10).

Theo Hesegem received the same threats as those received by Peneas Lokbere and Olga Hamadi; they were visited and threatened with violence, as they undertook advocacy in relation to various cases where human rights violations have been indicated in Jayapura and Wamena. Fanny Kogoya has received some extremely brutal threats; her house has been ransacked, and it was suspected that this was carried out by police intelligence agents, in complete disregard of the law and human rights principles laid out in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Oktovianus Pogau in Manokwari was attacked by police forces from Manokwari Police District Command as he carried out his journalistic work following the KNPB demo on Tuesday (23/10) in front of the UNIPA campus in Amban, Manokwari.

As a Papuan human rights defender myself, I want to emphasise that the state is responsible for providing protection to all citizens of the country – in particular human rights defenders – from terror, threats and intimidation. The responsibility of the State is clearly laid out in article 28)4 of the 1945 Constitution which says “protection, promotion, enforcement and fulfilment of human rights is the responsibility of the state, primarily the Government.” The state is therefore responsible for fulfilling the right to freedom from fear, and this is not restricted for human rights defenders.

In connection with this, Papuan human rights defenders and all activists from non-governmental organisations who carry out humanitarian, human rights and justice work for civil society in Papua and West Papua will be undertaking consolidation work together. We will resist, legally, those actions of the state which are being used by unprofessional members of the security forces.

In particular, as regards the case of Octovianus Pogau in Manokwari, I urge the Head of Manokwari District Police force to receive the young Papuan journalist in question to file a police report, and carry out a prompt investigation in accordance with the mechanisms and legal procedure laid out in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Law 8, 1981), so that the perpetrator can be punished in accordance with his actions.

Yan Christian Warinussy

Executive Director of LP3Bh Manokwari/Human Rights Defender in the Land of Papua/ Member of the Steering Committee of FOKER in the Land of Papua
Translated by TAPOL


Papuan deaths reported in crackdown

24 Oct 2012

By Stefan Armbruster

Download Episode Duration00:04:53     2MB

There are unconfirmed reports of deaths during a crackdown against independence activists in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia.

Indonesian television has shown security forces firing weapons and beating people while breaking up a rally in the town of Manokwari.

Authorities say they were provoked by stone throwers, a number of its troops were injured and that they only fired into the air as a warning.

Human rights monitors and foreign media are restricted by the Indonesian government from entering the region but one local journalist reported he was bashed by security forces.

Greens spokesman for West Papua Senator Richard Di Natale told Stefan Armbruster the Australian Government needs to speak up about the issue.


UNCEN students call for an end to stigmatisation

24 October, 2012A number of students from Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) took  part in a rally outside the office of the DPRP, the Legislative Assembly of Papua, calling for an end to the stigma of makar (treason), separatism and terrorism against indigenous Papuans. One speaker, Yason Ngelia  said he was very concerned about the crackdown on the demonstration held on the previous day in Manokwari.

‘Is this how you treat a demonstration in this country, using firearms  as a result of which some people have been injured? We demand justice for our friends who became victims of terror and intimidation during the rally in Manokwari,’ he said

The chairman of BEM (?) at the Faculty of Law at UNCEN said that the military command post at Waena should be closed down because there is already a security group in the university. ‘Troops frequently  maltreat  people who are found drunk. This is in violation of the law  although the soldiers say that  they are here to protect the community, said Musa Sama.

‘We call for the release of the eleven student activists. some of whom were shot.’

The army post is not inside the university campus  but in a public place, near shops along Jalan  Kampwolker.

Another speaker said that there is no  democratic space for students to give expression to their aspirations. ‘The military should not be searching our dormitories  on the pretext that the they are searching for people who are on the wanted list.’ He said that all their belongings such as the eleven laptops  that were seized should be handed back

Another UNCEN activist  said that the demo was intended as  an action against corruption and to commemorate the Third Papuan Congress in 2011, yet these actions were banned by the security forces. According to Law 9/1998 about freedom of expression, the police do not have the right to issue permits but only to regulate the traffic.

‘The stigmas of separatism, treason and terrorism were used by the police to refuse to grant a permit for the rally, but this is against the law. We are being denied any space for democracy by the security forces. This can only lead to an accumulation of disappoinments  which could explode into the open during the forthcoming elections. ‘The lack of democratic space will become a boomerang for the government,’ said Benyamin Gurik.

In  response to the calls being made by the students, a member of the DPRP, John Rustam said that he would raise these issues at the next meeting of Commission A which handles these matters.

He said that the demands of the students were for an end to the abuse of human rights and for their right to express their aspirations publicly which until now has been silenced. The army is continually intervening as a result of which there is no security on campus while many students are being hunted down

Another official said that the students had now been released but they were being interrogated.

[Translated by TAPOL]


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