Robert Jitmau, a respected Papuan activist who fought for the rights of Papuan women market traders, died in the early hours of May 20th, after being hit by a car. While the incident may have been entirely accidental, many people in Papua are concerned that the police have assumed this conclusion before conducting a proper investigation to eliminate the possibility that his death was deliberate.
The press release translated below, from the legal team following up the incident, can be read at http://papuaitukita.net/polisi-segera-selidiki-kasus-penabrakan-robert-jitmau/
Police should investigate the collision which killed Robert Jitmau now.
Press Release: Legal team for the case of Robert Jitmau, killed in a car crash.
Jayapura, 27 May 2016
On the morning of 20th May 2016, Robert Jitmau died after being hit by an Inova car bearing a police numberplate (DS1497 AO) on an entrance to the ring road in Hamedi, near Jayapura.
Before the crash, Robert Jitmau had been picked up from Entrop by Yusup Sraun and Alpius Jitmau, and then went towards Dok V and afterwards to the TVRI station in Bhayangkara. From Bhayangkara Robert and his two friends went to the Hotel Aston where Yusup Sraun got out of the car to met Krispus Kambuaya at the hotel. The four men then went towards Entrop and then to the ring road. They used two cars, with Krispus Kambuaya travelling alone.
Shortly after arriving at the ring road, Robert Jitmau called two companions, Nehemia Yarinap and Melianus Duwitau, asking them to come to the ring road. Shortly after 04.00am the two friends arrived at the Ring Road on motorbike taxis. Robert sat down and chatted to them. The crash which killed him took place shortly afterwards.
The police have told local media that the crash which killed Robert Jitmau was completely accidental. They have also stated that they have questioned witnesses Yusup Sraun, Krispus Kambuaya, Nehemia Yarinap and Musa Rujatobi, as well as three people believed to be responsible for the crash: Herep Patay (the owner of the vehicle with police number plates DS1497 AO), Ronald Edwin Metiaman and Dolfinus Abraham Sefia.
In the police statement to the media the police didn’t mention that:
1. There was a fight between one of Robert’s friends, Nehemia Yarinap, and someone who got out of the car that crashed into him.
2. The police have not yet questioned another friend, Melianus Duwitau, who was at the incident location. Melianus Duwitau is still being treated in the Dian Haarapan Hospital as he was also injured in the crash.
3. Also, the whereabouts of Alpius Jitmau are still unknown, even though he was a witness who was present when the incident took place.
Unfortunately however, the police have been too fast to draw the conclusion that Robert Jitmau’s death was a purely accidental traffic collision, even before all the witnesses to the incident had been questioned.
The police have been given the authority to unearth the facts, and have a duty to conduct a full and professional investigation, prioritising the truth and justice over all other interests.
Because of this, the Legal Team for the Robert Jitmau case are asking the police to carry out a thorough, full, comprehensive and transparant investigation of this case before coming to any conclusions about the collision which killed Robert Jitmau.