Tag Archives: Biak

Key Findings of the Biak Massacre Citizens Tribunal

http://www.biak-tribunal.orgBiak Massacre Citizens Tribunal

WaterTowerCrop1

December 16, 2013

Key Findings

  1. 1.      The massacre followed a flag-raising led by Filep Karma, an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience

Filep Karma testified at the tribunal via prerecorded video since he is currently in prison.  He told the tribunal: “In my oratory [at the flag-raising] I said that Papuans must fight peacefully.” “The flag appeared on the top of the tower on July 2, 1998, at about 5:00 a.m. Some seventy-five people gathered beneath it, shouting freedom slogans, singing songs and dancing traditional dances” (Human Rights Watch 1998: 6).

At 2:30 in the afternoon of July 2 “a joint police and military operation attempted to disperse the crowd at the base of the water tower.  They launched canisters of tear gas into the crowd with no apparent effect.  When a low-ranking police officer, a second-class sergeant, beat an elderly demonstrator named Thonci Wabiser, the crowd spontaneously retaliated, demolishing a truck belonging to Indonesian security forces” (Kirksey 2012: 44).  A standoff ensued for days.

 

  1. 2.      Local and regional officials were involved in the planning of the attack

Tineke Rumakabu testified that two officers of the Indonesian security forces were at the water tower on July 3rd.  These commanders—namely Colonel Agus Hedyanto, who was Biak Military Commander (Dandim) and Colonel Johnny Rori, the Biak Police Commander (Kapolres)—negotiated with the crowd and asked that the flag be lowered.  These same commanders were later involved in planning the attack.  “At 1:00 a.m. on July 4, the local military brought nine village heads together to discuss a strategy for attack, and both the subdistrict head (camat) and the subdistrict military commander told the village heads that each man was responsible for bringing thirty men into the city.” (Human Rights Watch 1998: 8).

Octovianus Mote, former Bureau Chief of the Kompas daily newspaper, gave testimony based on his interviews of regional military and police commanders in July 1998.  Major General Amir Sembiring, the Regional Military Commander (Pangdam Trikora), was in a direct command and control position during the attack.  According to direct evidence tendered by Mr. Mote to the Tribunal, Sembiring “gave permission to conduct the attack.”  Mr. Mote also corroborated reports that Colonel Agus Hedyanto, who was associated with the Special Forces and who served in East Timor, was the key local official involved in Biak.  “This was a very well-organized military attack, you know police, navy, and armed forces.  All of them organized the attacking of civilians,” continued Mr. Mote.  Brigadier General Hotman Siagian, the Regional Police Commander (Kapolda IrJa), was quoted by Antara news agency as saying “the police had ‘tolerated’ the actions of the Biak group since July 2 and finally had to order a crackdown” on July 6th (Prakarsa 1998).  Vice Admiral Freddy Numberi, who was then Governor and is currently Indonesia’s Minister of Transportation and Communications, described the victims a members of a “separatist movement that is headed towards treason” (Suara Pembaruan Daily, 8 July 1998).  General Wiranto, Commander of Indonesia’s Armed Forces, told reporters when asked about the massacre: “If there is a power that raises a flag, and it is not the Red and White flag [of Indonesia], then this is a betrayal of the military and of the entire nation.  This constitutes a betrayal and this is what we must stop!” (Suara Pembaruan Daily, 7 July 1998, punctuation in original).

  1. 3.      Scores of unarmed civilians were killed, buried in mass graves, and dumped at sea

A video testimony, by a woman named “Sarah”, described how the security forces initially surrounded the protestors in a giant letter U.  “The military and the police were lined up from the police compound around to the Inpress market.  The mobile brigade police (Brimob) that had flown in from Ambon were stationed at the petrol station.  Navy troops were down at the harbor.”  She describes how they were all shooting, “from four directions,” including the sea.

One woman, who testified to the Tribunal on condition of anonymity, described the first moments of the attack at dawn on July 6th: “The army and police were everywhere.  Bullets were raining down.  The sky was on fire.  We could hear them shooting people at the tower.”

Another witness, who testified under the pseudonym Raymond, described how he rushed to the water tower along with scores of other civilians as the shooting began.  After watching as many women and men were gunned down, Raymond was herded with other survivors towards the harbor.  He described how he was forced to stare at the sun, kneel in gravel for hours, along with dozens of others.

Sarah gave corroborating testimony: “My family and others were directed down to the harbor…We followed the other families with our hands up over our heads.  You could feel the bullets starting to fly over our heads…I could see so many children who had been killed.  They were shot on the wharf.  They died right there.”  Shortly after she arrived at the wharf, she overheard a Sergeant shouting out to the commander of a navy vessel: “Dock the ship!  Dock the ship!  Carry these people!”  She also overheard the reply from the captain: “I cannot dock, the ship is full of bodies.”  Sarah said that two ships then went out to sea.  “They were there at the harbor in the morning, there to take the bodies away.”  Later on “in front of the wharf a blue truck pulled up and took 28 bodies away,” Sarah said.  “I was sitting and counting, silently.  People who they had shot, they threw their bodies on the truck.  Later another container truck came in and took more bodies away.  We don’t know where they were taken.”

Ferry Marisan, Director of the human rights organization ELS-HAM Papua, investigated the killings in the weeks after the massacre and was a lead author of the subsequent report, “Names Without Graves, Graves Without Names.”  Mr. Marisan described how a fisherman first encountered dead bodies in the sea, off shore of Biak, on July 10th, four days after the massacre: “The fishermen discovered four bodies floating, but these fishermen were scared to take the bodies on shore…The bodies were mutilated, some of them lost their legs or their genitals were not there.  They were broken bodies. These bodies were found in the eastern part of Biak, but also in the western part of Biak people found other bodies.”  Mr. Marisan also gave direct testimony about a body he helped recover: “Near Biak city, just around the park, we found a female body without a head and genitals that was badly bruised and broken, damaged.  Another body we found was just a boy from junior high in his uniform.  Most bodies we found were badly damaged.  Either they lost their legs, the heads or their genitals.”

  1. 4.      People were beaten, tortured, arbitrarily detained, sexually abused, and executed

Raymond presented testimony about indiscriminate beatings by police at the harbor.  He was taken with six truckloads of people to the regional police station (POLRES).  Fourteen people were crammed with Raymond into a cell.  Raymond was detained for two weeks and in the middle of the night guards routinely doused him with water during his detention.

Statements from Tineke Rumakabu, describe graphic scenes of sexual violence and torture after she was detained by Indonesian forces.  Mrs. Rumakabu described how she was tossed into a yellow truck on the morning of July 6, on top of people who were already dead or seriously wounded.  She was then taken to the military compound (KODIM).  Mrs. Rumakabu showed the Tribunal scars on her arms and described what was done to her while she was blindfolded and cuffed: “They cut my arm with a sharp bayonet and then they poured acid. When I screamed they burnt me with cigarettes.”

The blindfold was later removed and she was stripped naked in a room with twelve other women and girls.  “Then I saw a man [a soldier] showing me a little knife, the one that you use to shave, and he said ‘We are going to use this to cut off your vaginas, from above and below, and from the left to the right.’”  “I saw a little girl and they raped her and she died,” Mrs. Rumakabu told the Tribunal. “All over the place it was blood everywhere because women, their vaginas and clitoris’ had been cut out, and they had been raped many, many times.”  One of the women in detention, Marta Dimara was a friend of Mrs. Rumakabu.  “Martha said, ‘I would rather be killed than you rape me.’ They put a bayonet in her neck and then her vagina and also cut off her breasts and beheaded her.”  Mrs. Rumakabu told the Tribunal: “I was also tortured, a lit candle was penetrated inside me, they cut off my clitoris and they raped me.”  Out of the twelve women in detention with her, she reported: “Eight women were killed and four of us stayed alive.”


 

  1. 5.      Weaponry and equipment from international donors was used

At least two Navy ships were involved in the attack:

KRI Teluk Berau (534), Type 108. Source: Human Rights Watch Report, page 9 and corroborated by Eben Kirksey in a 2003 interview with an eyewitness. This ship belonged to the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and was manufactured in 1977 by VEB Peenewerft in Wolgast.  It was purchased, along with 12 other units of the same type, by the Indonesian Navy and transferred on August 25th 1993.  Formerly named the GDR Eberswalde-Finow (634), this ship was 90.7 meters long and weighed 1,900 tons.  It was used as an amphibious landing ship by the Indonesian marines (Marinir TNI AL).  The KRI Teluk Berau was armed with “a double barrel cannon with a caliber of 37 millimeters, a Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun and multipurpose autocannon, and two double barrel cannons with a caliber of 25 millimeters.”  (Source: Koramatim 2012)[i]

KRI Kakap (811), Source: Eben Kirksey’s photograph from July 6th, 1998.

The KRI Kakap-811 is a Fast Patrol Boat that was manufactured by PT. Pal Indonesia and has been in service since 1988.  It is armed with a Bofors 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft guns and multipurpose autocannons as well as 12.7 mm machine guns.  This ship can carry one helicopter (Source: Koramatim 2013).

Sources Cited

Human Rights Watch (1998) “Indonesia: Human Rights and Pro-Independence Actions in Irian Jaya” Vol 10, No. 8 (C)

Kirksey, Eben (2013) Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Global Architecture of Power (Durham: Duke University Press).

Koarmatim (2012) “KRI Teluk Berau-534 Mengakhiri Pengabdiannya,” Available on-line: http://koarmatim.tnial.mil.id.  Updated: 28 September, 2012, 11:34.  Accessed: 12 November, 2013, 12:53

Koarmatim (2013) “KRI Kakap-811 Siap Amankan Perairan Perbatasan RI-Philipina,” Available on-line: http://koarmatim.tnial.mil.id.  Updated: 11 November, 2013, 13:51.  Accessed: 25 November, 2013, 23:18.

Prakarsa, Patrisia (1998) “Indonesian Troops Wound 24 in Irian Jaya Shooting” Agence France Presse, July 6.

Suara Pembaruan Daily (1998) “Menhankam/Pangab Jenderal TNI Wiranto: Pengibaran Bendera Bukan Merah-Putih Tindakan Makar” Suara Pembaruan Daily, 7 July.

Suara Pembaruan Daily (1998) “Akibat Kerusuhan di Irja” Suara Pembaruan Daily, 8 July.

Police kidnap pro-democracy activist in Biak: Reports

by West Papua Media from human rights workers in Biak

December 29, 2012

Unconfirmed Reports have emerged from Biak that Indonesian armed police have disappeared local Papuan pro-democracy activist Anthon Kafiar.

At 15:00 local time on December 28, 2012, outside the offices of the Supiori Regent, several heavily armed police officers used pistols to accost and bundle Anthon Kafiar into a Four Wheel Drive Vehicle Type Avanza, numberplate DS 900 DD.  The vehicle then drove off, and Kafiar’s whereabouts remain unknown, according to local human rights worker Dorus Wakum, from NGO Kampak Papua.

It is not yet known if the police were local police officers, or roaming members from the Australian-funded special anti-terror Detachment 88 unit, whose members have engaged in a campaign of kidnappings and shootings against Papuan pro-democracy activists since the appointment of new Papua Police Chief Tito Karnavian, the former commander of Densus 88.

According to the NGO, Biak citizens and witnesses visited the Kapolres (local Police Chief), the Supiori Regent and Supiori Council members to demand that Kafiar be immediately found and released.

This is a developing story.  More to come.

 

State must safeguard the health of political prisoners, says Parjal

 

JUBI, 19 July 2012
[Comment: Just see how many Papuans are serving life sentences or twenty years. TAPOL]Papuan Street Parliament says state must guarantee the heath of tapols

Jayapura, 19 July, 2012

The  Papuan Street Parliament (Parjal) insists that it is the responsibility of the Indonesian government  to safeguard the right to life of Papuans who are still behind bars.

Yusak Pakage, the spokesperson of Parjal, said that as a former political prisoner himself, he knows that prisoners suffer many difficulties as a result of the use of violence. ‘The state should be responsible for medical treatment and for the prisoners’ right to life,’ he said.

The director of the district office of the Department of Law and Human Rights , Daniel Biantong announced last January that there were 23 Papuan political  prisoners, of whom 16 were being held in Wamena prison, three were being held  in Biak and  two  in Abepura. The two in Abepura were Philip Karma [usually spelt Filep] and Samuel Yaru.

Those being held in Biak are Numbuga Talenggu and Yafrai Murib who are both serving life sentences, while Kimanus Wenda and Linus Hiluka  in Nabire prison have been sentenced to 20 years and in Biak, Apotnagolik E. Lokobal has been sentenced to 20 years.

Other tapols who are serving sentences of  20 years are Kanius Murib who is being held in Wamena, while Samuel Yanu  who is being held in Abepura is serving a sentence of three years.

‘Because I  have myself spent time in prison in Wamena, I have a sense of solidarity with these political prisoners. It is the duty of the state to help them,’ he said.

[Translated by TAPOL]

 

The Past That Has Not Passed: Human Rights Violations in Papua Before and After Reformasi

June 28, 2012

joint report released today by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM-Papua) provides important insight into the ongoing debate on steps required to achieve a sustainable peace in Papua.

Based on more than 100 interviews carried out in 2011 in the districts of Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, and Paniai, the report reviews Papua’s recent history, including the Special Autonomy Law governing the relationship between the Papua province and Indonesia, within a transitional justice framework. It also reveals new information provided in testimonies by victims and witnesses who experienced human rights violations going back to the earliest days of Indonesia’s history as a nation.

“Even as we were conducting this research, new outbreaks of violence and cases of gross human rights violations continued to take place,” said Ferry Marisan, director of ELSHAM. “We interviewed more than 100 victims, many of whom have deep feelings of distrust that are deeply rooted in the past and present experiences of human rights abuse. Official acknowledgement of this violent past is a prerequisite to building peace in Papua,” he added.

“Unless these grievances are not only recognized, but also addressed in a practical way, reconciliation will remain elusive”
Unless these grievances are not only recognized, but also addressed in a practical way, reconciliation will remain elusive. A comprehensive transitional justice strategy could provide effective redress, and should include truth-seeking, criminal accountability, reparations, institutional reform to prevent recurrence of human rights violations, and a focus on the rights of indigenous women.

“The Indonesian government must urgently develop a comprehensive policy for dealing with this legacy of past violations. We are at risk of repeating the past through using force to deal with unrest, instead of opening a process of genuine dialogue. The first step is acknowledgment,” said Galuh Wandita, ICTJ’s senior associate.

Download the full publication here

This joint report by ICTJ and the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM-Papua) provides important insight into the ongoing debate on steps required to achieve a sustainable peace in Papua. The report reviews Papua’s recent history within a transitional justice framework, and provides expert recommendations on truth seeking, justice, reparations, institutional reform, and enforcing the rights of women victims. Based on more than 100 interviews carried out in 2011 in the districts of Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, and Paniai, the report reviews Papua’s recent history, including the Special Autonomy Law governing the relationship between the Papua province and Indonesia, within a transitional justice framework.

Date published:
6/28/2012

Two Papuan tapols with paralysis are waiting for permission to get treatment

JUBI,
30 March 2012

Two Papuan political prisoners who are being held in Biak Prison say that they are  waiting for permission to go to Jayapura for medical treatment.They are both suffering serious medical conditions.

Jefrai Murib said that he and his colleague Apot Lokobal are waiting for information from their lawyers and from the Department of Law and Human Rights  about their transfer to Jayapura for treatment. One of their lawyers, Lativa Anum Siregar told them they would have to wait until after the case of Forkorus and his colleagues has been completed.

[Note: Forkorus and his four co-defendants were sentenced to three years on 16 March 2012. Their lawyers have just announced that the five men are due to lodge an appeal against the sentence on 2 April. No date has yet been set for when the appeal will be heard which is likely to be weeks ahead. This means that these two suffering  tapols are likely to have to wait for at least several weeks if not months before getting the medical attention which they urgently need. According to another of their lawyers,  Olga Hamadi,  they will appeal against the sentence and call for the release of the five prisoners. They will argue that the court failed to prove that the five men were guilty of makar (treason). – Tapol]

As has previously been reported, lawyers at the Forkorus trial  said that none of the witnesses heard in the trial had given testimony about the alleged role they were said to have played; according to KUHAP, the Criminal Procedural Code Article 110 they should be proven to have been involved in a conspiracy.

Furthermore, 69 items of evidence were mentioned at the Forkorus trial, of which only one was presented during the trial, namely a banner.

Forkorus and his four co-defendants are now serving their sentences in Abepura Prison.TAPOL]

Jefrai Murib, one of the ailing tapols said they will have to wait till after the  Forkorus trial has been completed as well as after another of their colleagues, Kimanus has been treated for another ailment.

Jefrai Murib said the right side of his body is completely paralysed because of a stroke. ‘My right hand is also paralysed. Just going to the toilet is very difficult indeed for me..’

His colleague Apot Lokobal  said that he too is waiting for a permit to get medical treatment in Jayapura. He said that his condition is not as bad as that of his colleague Jefrai who is much more seriously ill. He is suffering from the same condition as Jefrai, with the right of his body paralysed.

The two men were arrested and sentenced for their involvement in an assault on an ammunitions dump of Kodim 1702, Wamena. Another twelve tapols were also tried and sentenced in connection with the same incident.

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]