Strange conduct in the Pastor Frederika murder trial

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Sunday March 3rd, 2013

Investigation by Oktovianus Pogau

There is much that is strange in the process of the trial over the killing of Pastor Fredrika Metalmeti (38) on November 21st 2012 in Boven Digoel, Papua.  The conduct of Military Tribunal III-19 Jayapura gives the impression of protecting the shooter. What is this process? Read below.

On November 21st 2012, a dark history began for the big Metalmeti and Imogoti families in Boven Digoel province and Merauke province, Papua, Pastor Frederika Metalmeti (38), first child of George Metalmeti (68) and Ida Imogoti, was found horribly killed on the Trans Asiki road, Boven Digoel, Papua.

Terdakwa oknum anggota TNI, Sertu Irfan (kanan) sedang mengenakan topi (Foto: Oktovianus Pogau/SP)
Unscrupulous members of the military, Defendant Sergeant Irfan (right) is wearing a hat (Photo: Oktovianus Pogau / SP)

Initially, at around 6:00am, the Head of Komba District, Manyu Waremba (46) together with his wife and child came to the scene of the crime, and found the victim’s body lying in bushes, near the Trans Asiki Road.

“My house is about 200 metres from the scene, early in the morning around 3:30am I heard someone calling for help accompanied by the sound of gunfire. Because I was scared, I intended to investigate in the morning together with my family” said Waremba, in Military Tribunal testimony Dock 5, Jayapura, 11th February 2013.

Waremba immediately reported his discovery of the corpse to three police officers on guard at the police post not far from the location of the body. The three police officers together with local residents eventually came to the scene. Indeed, the body of the woman lay bloody, motionless and stiff.

“After this I called the police station and together with local people we went to the scene, and we found the victim sprawled in bushes with much blood on her body” said Manggaprouw, member of Boven Digoel Police, in their testimony at the Military Tribunal, Jayapura.

Then, the Boven Digoel Police Chief immediately arrived at the scene, accompanied dozens of his men. When attending the crime scene, police found three pieces of ammunition, type FN 45, that were still active.

A pink helmet, belonging to the victim, was also found, as were jeans (denim) shorts. The victim’s shirt was opened to cover her face, which was a men’s shirt reading ‘Kwarcab Digoel District Scouts’.

At approximately 8:00am, police took the body to the Regional General Hospital for autopsy.

Before this, several nuns were asked to bath the victim who later became known to be Frederika Metalmeti, Pastor of the Bethel Church of Indonesia (GBI), Boven Digoel.

The nuns who bathed the corpse claimed to find three gunshot wounds on the victim’s body. The first of these shots on the side right of the head, the second on the left of the chest, and the third on the victim’s right arm.

According to the nuns, the face and back of the victim’s head had been shattered by a blow from a blunt object. Allegedly, the accused wanted to erase the remains of the gunshot wound on the victim’s head.

To determine the perpetrators of the shooting, the police summoned parties believed to have been close to the victim for questioning. There were seven witnesses from the Metalmeti family that were interrogated by Boven Digoel police.

One witness that was summoned was the victim’s younger sister, Helen Metalmeti (30). In testimony to the investigator, Helen told of all she know of the victim whilst she lived, including whom the victim was close to.

“Mr Lieutenant Colonal Eko Supriyanto, former commander of 1711/Boven Digoel, who now serves as the Head of Korem 174/ATW Merauke, was the person most close to the victim.  We know that my sister was dating him, and Mr Eko had come to our home to announce it,” said Helen, when meeting with recently in Jayapura, Papua.

According to Helen, the relationship between the former Commander of 1711/Boven Digoel and the victim could be said to be very close, as there was an intention to hold a wedding in Malang, East Java, the home region of the former commander.

Whilst the Boven Digoel police were investigating the case which scandalised the residents of Boven Digoel, the Indonesian Military (TNI) in District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel also conducted an investigation into several of their men.

In Boven Digoel district, no entity, including the Police and the Special Forces Task Force, has arms of type FN 45, except for members of the TNI Intelligence Unit, District Military Command 1711/Boven Digoel.

“After the Boven Digoel Police Chief Commander called the Dandim (Regional Military Commander), I together with several members also visited the scene to see the victim’s body, but because it had already been closed off by police, we could not enter,” said Captain Riki Pelani of District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel Intelligence unit, when giving a testimony to the Military Tribunal on 19th February 2013.

According to Captain Riki, after knowing of the discovery of ammunition type FN 45, all men of the District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel Intelligence Unit, totalling 12 people, were gathered to investigate each weapon.

Because, he says, if one has just recently been used to shoot with, then when smelt there will be the smell of smoke at the end of the weapon.

“I ordered First Sergeant (Sgt) Sumarlianto to gather all of our men’s guns, and after this I, together with (the) Dandim, investigated all of their guns in the room. Only the gun of Sgt Irfan was very clean and shiny because it had been cleaned with oil,” said Captain Riki.

According to Captain Riki, since then both himself and Dandim suspected Sgt Irfan as the culprit, as it also became known that Sgt Irfan was close with the victim for the past few months.

“We also received news that indeed Irfan was close with the victim. Dandim ordered us to hold Irfan, and First Sgt Marlianto and I were ordered to investigate Sgt Irfan,” asserted Captain Riki.

Then on November 22nd 2012, at 8:00am after morning assembly, Sgt Irfan was detained in the intelligence room and examined until 6:00pm that afternoon.

“Sgt Irfan did not confess during the questioning. At a meeting with Dandim at 7:00pm that evening, we received a report that Sgt Irfan had escaped.” said Captain Riki.

The escape strengthened the Dandim’s and his suspicions that the person who shot Frederika was Sgt Irfan, so he spread his men to several places to arrest Sgt Irfan.

During two days of searching, the members did not find Sgt Irfan. On the third day, 25th November 2012, he received news that the culprit was hiding in transit, in the Sudirman family home.

“Together with Dandim, several men and I immediately headed to the hiding place of the accused, and we immediately arrested him, and then took him to Korem 174/ATW Meruake for further investigation,” said Captain Riki.

Later, on his way to Korem 174/AWT Merauke. Sgtt Irfan confessed to the shooting of Pastor Frederika Metalmeti, on 21st November 2012.

How is the investigation of the accused progressing with the Police/Military in Merauke? Are the families being informed of the latest of the case investigation? Why did Sgt Irfan recklessly kill Pastor Frederika so sadistically?

Part 2 of this investigation will soon be presented.

Oktavianus Pogau is an independent Papuan journalist and founder of indigenous media outlet

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