YCW: Will Nekenem and his colleagues be given clemency?

From Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of LP3BH

12 July 2015

On May 20th this year, a group young people, students and activists from the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) took part in a peaceful action during which several people delivered speeches. However, the group was dispersed by the local security forces, the Manokwari police.

Following this action, about one hundred activists were taken away by members of the police force and Brimob who had arrived there in several trucks and who drove them to the headquarters of Brimob.

Four days later, four of those who had taken part in the action
were arrested, Alexander Nekenem, Yoram Magai, Mikael Aso and Narko Murib, for allegedly committing a crime as well as being accused of incitement, as provided for in Articles 160 and 55 of the Criminal Code.

The article reads as follows: ‘Whosoever, in public or in writing
is involved in incitement, or is involved in an act of violence
against the authorities … shall be taken into custody and sentenced to up to six years or ordered to pay a fine of up to one thousand, five hundred rupiahs.’

It would appear that these four people had been taken into custody because of their involvement in a peaceful action on May 20th and for being connected with the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

It should be noted that during the meeting of the MSG (Melanesian
Spearhead Group) which took place on 25th and 26th June, the ULMWP was accepted by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) as an observer.

Indonesia was also accepted as an observer. The Papuans were accepted as associate members from five provinces, Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara.

From now on, the ULMWP will always be invited to attend meetings
convened by the MSG.

So surely we should ask, who is it who has acted in violation of
the law? Was it Alexander and his colleagues who responded to the move to recognise the ULMWP as an organisation which has unified the indigenous people of West Papua and will become a permanent member of the MSG?

As a lawyer and Defender of Basic Human Rights, I would like to point out that the ULMWP has been officially accepted as a member of the MSG, an organisation that was set up to unify the struggle of three initiating organisations, namely the National Parliament of West Papua, the Federal Republic of West Papua and the West Papua Coalition for Liberation in December 2014 in Vanuatu.

On 3 July 2015, Abnel Hegemur and his colleagues were organising a joint service at the Secretariat of the ULMWP to celebrate the fact that they had been accepted as observer members of the MSG at a meeting in Honiara, the Republic of the Solomon Island States held from 18-26 June 2015 in Honiara.

They were subsequently arrested and taken to the headquarters of
the police command in Fak Fak and questioned, after which they were accused of having committed an act of subversion as stipulated in Articles 108 and 110 of the Criminal Code. This was subsequently changed to Article 510, according to which anyone who organises an event to march together in a public area may be charged.

Does this mean that any Christian or Indigenous Papuan who wishes
to hold a service must first obtain a permit from the police? If so, what about the guarantee regarding joint ventures stipulated in the 1945 Constitution.

This would suggest that all judges in the Land of Papua should pay close attention to such matters as this, when anything is organised by Indigenous Papuan People. And what about the decision of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir. H. Joko Widido who recently granted clemency to five political prisoners who were being held at the prison in Abepura-Jayapura. as well as the intention to free almost one hundred political prisoners being held in various prisons in the provinces of West Papua, Papua and Maluku?

Surely this would mean that Alexander Nekemen, Michael Aso, Yoram Magai and Narko Murib should also be granted clemency by President Jokowi.  Or they should be granted abolition in accordance with the commitment of President Jokowi, as a move to resolve once and for all the problems in the Land of Papua and turn it into a Land of Peace.

Peace!

Yan Christian Warrinusy is the Executive Director of the LP3BH – Institute for Research, Analysis and Development for Legal Aid, and recipient of the John Humphrey Freedom Award in Canada in 2005.

Translated by Carmel Budiardjo

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