Tag Archives: Forkorus Yaboisembut

Forkorus’ eye problems not properly dealt with

JUBI, 18 April, 2012
Forkorus Yaboisembut, one of five Papuan activists who was recently sentenced to three years for his participation in the Papuan People’s Congress held last October, is now known to be suffering from eye problems.This was stated by Olga Hamadi, a member of the team of lawyers who have been defending Forkorus and his four co-defendants.

‘Forkorus complained about his eye problems  when we paid him a visit last week,’ said Olga Hamadi, and added that he was not getting proper treatment for the problem. ‘I was taken to the polyclinic but the treatment I had there was not satisfactory,’ Forkorus told his lawyer.

The Dewan Adat Papua – Papuan Customary Council of which Forkorus is the chairperson said that they too have reported the problem to the authorities at the Abepura Prison where Forkorus is being held. Forkorus has also sent a letter about the problem to  the High Court in Jayapura.’ His lawyer said that Forkorus had asked for their help to submit his letter to the High Court.

According to Olga Hamadi, the eye problem is not too severe and Forkorus is otherwise in good health.

Sentences of Forkorus and colleagues lengthened by sixty days

JUBI, 16 April 2012
Gustav Kawer, a member of the defence team of Forkorus and his co-defendants, has confirmed that the sentences of his clients have been lengthened for the second time.The reason for the second lengthening was that the documents relating to the case  had not been sent  by the District Court to the High Court in Jayapura.Following the first addittion of thirty days, the material had not yet been examined, resulting in another thirty days been added to the sentences.

Olga Hamadi, another member of the defence team, confirmed that the sentences had been lengthened, saying that the High Court in Jayapura had issued a statement to the effect that the sentences of the five men, Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Surabet and Agust Kraar had been lengthened.

Meanwhile, Gustaf Kawer said that they would be holding a press conference with regard to their appeal against the sentences. This will take place on Wednesday  this week,’ he said.

He said that the men were  put on trial following the Third Papuan People’s Congress which was held last October because events during that Congress were deemed to be an act of treason.

West Papua Report April 2012

This is the 96th in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online at http://www.etan.org/issues/wpapua/default.htm Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund McWilliams at edmcw@msn.com. If you wish to receive the report via e-mail, send a note to etan@etan.org.


An Indonesian court has sentenced five senior Papuans to three years imprisonment following their conviction on “treason” charges. They fell victim to the same undemocratic law employed against more than 90 Papuans and Malukans for their peaceful dissent in recent years. The five were charged for their central role in the October 16-19, 2011 “Third Papuan National Congress,” a peaceful assertion of Papuans’ right to self-determination that came under brutal assault by Indonesian security forces. In a statement, WPAT calls for an end to that law which was developed during Dutch colonial times, was employed by the dictator Suharto, and now has no place in a democratic Indonesia. Thousands of Papuans took to the streets in West Papua and elsewhere on the occasion of the visit to Indonesia of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The largely peaceful demonstrations called for a special referendum to at last allow Papuans a genuine act of self-determination. More than 90 international organizations have called on the U.S. Congress to block sale of Apache helicopters. They would significantly expand the capacity of Indonesian security forces to conduct “sweep operations” that have devastated rural Papuan villagers. A recent book and a commentary by a Papuan legislator have underscored the Indonesian governments persistent failure to bring essential services to rural Papuans. WPAT observes that for many rural Papuans the face of the Indonesian government is not that of a teacher, doctor or nurse but rather, that of a solider, policeman or intelligence agent.


Papuan Leaders Sentenced to Three Years Imprisonment; Security Force Thugs Evade Justice

On March 16, an Indonesian court convicted five prominent Papuans of “treason” and handed down sentences of three years imprisonment for each of them. The charges, based on the infamous Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (see WPAT Comment below), derived from the Papuans involvement in the October 16-19, 2011 “Third Papuan National Congress” (See West Papua Report, November 2011). The victims of this travesty of justice were Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Selfius Bobii, Agus Kraar, and Dominikus Sorabut.

The October 2011 congress drew 5000 Papuans representing all districts in West Papua. At the conclusion of this peaceful three day meeting, participants declared independence for West Papua and elected Forkorus Yaboisembut, who heads the Papuan Tribal Assembly, as their President. The congress elected Edison Waromi as Prime Minister.

The real crimes during the three day gathering were committed by the security forces, including the U.S. organized and funded Detachment 88, which along with other state security elements, that attacked the gathering shortly after it concluded. As participants were preparing to leave the open air venue, the police opened fire from their armored personnel carriers. At least three people were killed in cold blood. Participants were rounded up, beaten, kicked, and forced to crawl into the middle of the field. Some 90 sustained injuries and 300 people were arbitrarily detained.

Despite demands from Papuan, Indonesian and international organizations that the security personnel who were perpetrators of this violence be brought to trial the Indonesian government, as usual, refused to hold these elements responsible. Only 17 Indonesian police personnel received “administrative sanctions” in internal disciplinary hearings.

The trial of the five Papuans and the failure to hold security force personnel accountable for their attack has drawn protests from international non-governmental organizations. The U.S. government, however, has not reacted to these miscarriages of justice.

In one of the stronger commentaries on the travesty, Amnesty International called on Indonesian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release” the five. Amnesty said the court decision “significantly eroded Indonesia’s respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.” Amnesty International considers all five men to be prisoners of conscience, part of a group of more than 90 political activists in the provinces of Papua and Maluku “who have been imprisoned solely for their peaceful political activities.”

For its part Human Rights Watch, in addition to condemning the trial of the five and failure to address the violence against civilians perpetrated by security forces, also raised serious due process concerns. HRW cited the defense team as telling the court that police questioned their clients in the first 24 hours of arrest without their lawyers present. According to the defense team, “the men were beaten by police while in custody. Police allegedly kicked Yaboisembut in the chest and beat his head with a rifle butt. Sorabut testified that the police beat him on his head with a pistol and struck his body repeatedly with an M-16 assault rifle. Kraar said he was hit by police twice on the head with a pistol,” Human Rights Watch wrote.

Indonesia Continues to Resort to Undemocratic Means to Repress Peaceful Dissent

WPAT Statement: Indonesia continues to prosecute and punish Papuans for the peaceful exercise of their internationally recognized rights to free expression and of assembly, rights protected under international law including Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights. Indonesia is party to both of these treaties and is similarly obligated to protect free expression and the right of peaceful assembly under terms of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Indonesia’s own constitution (see Article 28(e) and 28(f)) protects free expression and the right of peaceful assembly. Article 28(e) states, “Every person shall have the right to the freedom of association and expression of opinion.” Article 28(f) provides for the individual “right to communicate and obtain information for the development of his/her personal life and his/her social environment, and shall have the right to seek, acquire, possess, keep, process, and convey information by using all available channels.”

The government, however, uses Articles 106 (for makar, treason), 110 (conspiracy) and 160 (incitement) of the Indonesian Criminal Code to repress peaceful free expression and assembly.

Since 2008, at least 82 Papuans have been charged under some or all of these provisions with sentences ranging from ten months to six years imprisonment. The vast majority of those charged and convicted were engaged in peaceful actions such as the raising of the Papuan “morning star” flag, a symbol that resonates as a powerful symbol of identity for many Papuans. In 1999. the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared the detention of such flag raisers was “arbitrary.”

These arbitrary restrictions originate from Indonesia’s colonial period and were used extensively by the Suharto dictatorship to repress dissent. These undemocratic provisions served not only to punish peaceful protest, but also as a powerful tool of intimidation.

Most recently, the Indonesian criminal justice system used Article 106 to target Papuans who played prominent roles in the October 16-19, 2011 “Third Papuan National Congress.” (see above) The assembly was attacked by security forces who killed at least three participants, beat scores more. and arbitrarily detained several hundred. While the Indonesian Government has prosecuted the leaders of this peaceful gathering, the government has failed to bring to justice those security forces who attacked the Congress participants.

Papuans Mark the Visit of UNSG to Stage Massive Demonstrations

Thousands of peaceful civilians demonstrated in the streets of cities and towns throughout West Papua in March in conjunction with the March 20 visit to Indonesia by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. An estimated 5000 demonstrators in the capitol, Jayapura (Port Numbay), effectively brought normal activity in that hub to a halt.

The rallies, organized by the West Papua National Committee, were largely peaceful. In a departure from usual practice some demonstrators attacked journalists covering the marches. Victor Mambor, chair of the Alliance of Independent Journalists in Jayapura, said that the presence of the TNI or police in civilian clothing near the journalists led to the journalists being regarded as “tools.” Mambor explained, “It is because there were so many security forces near the journalists who were covering the event that the journalists were thought to be collaborating with the security forces. We have to understand the situation in Papua which means that if someone realizes that there are security forces in our midst, we should not allow them any space.”

For their part, imprisoned political leaders Forkorus Yaboisembut and Edison Waromi called on the UN and others to push for the rights of West Papuans, including the right to self-determination and control over the territory’s mineral resources. West Papua was a Dutch colony until 1962 when control was handed over to the UN ahead of a planned vote on self-determination.

Groups Urge US Congress to Block Sale of U.S. Attack Helicopters to Indonesian Military

The West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) and the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) organized a statement urging the U.S. government and Congress not to sell AH-64 Apache helicopters to the Indonesian military (TNI).

More than 90 human rights, religious, indigenous rights, disarmament and other organizations worldwide write that “Providing these helicopters would pose a direct threat to Papuan civilians, who have been the target of deadly TNI assaults for many years”

The groups believe that the helicopters will inevitably be used to augment the Indonesian security forces ongoing campaign against Papuans in rural areas. That campaign has led to the destruction of Papuan villages, the coerced displacement of thousands of Papuan civilians, and the deaths of many, either as a direct result of security force attacks or due to prolonged displacement into inhospitable jungles and forests.

The text of the petition follows:

As organizations concerned about human rights in Indonesia and West Papua, we are writing to urge the U.S. government and Congress not to allow the sale of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the Indonesian military (TNI). Providing these helicopters would pose a direct threat to Papuan civilians, who have been the target of deadly TNI assaults for many years.
The sale of this weapons system to the TNI — notwithstanding its long record of disregard for civilian casualties, corruption, human rights violations and impunity in East Timor, Aceh and elsewhere — would only increase the suffering of the Papuan population.
Indonesia’s Deputy Minister of Defense Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin told the Antara news agency, that Indonesia intends to buy eight AH-64 Apache helicopter from the United States.
The heavily-armed AH-64 is a highly lethal weapon which can be used to escalate conflict within Indonesia and in West Papua. These aircraft will substantially augment the TNI’s capacity to prosecute its “sweep operations” in West Papua and thereby, almost certainly lead to increased suffering among the civilian populations long victimized by such operations.
TNI “sweep operations,” including several now underway in the Central Highlands region of West Papua, involve attacks on villages. Homes are destroyed, along with churches and public buildings. These assaults, purportedly to eliminate the poorly armed Papuan armed resistance, force innocent villagers from their homes. Papuan civilians either flee the attacks to neighboring villages or into the surrounding forests where many die or face starvation, cut off from access to their gardens, shelter, and medical care.

The AH-64is designed for air to ground attack. It can operate day or night and is armed with high caliber chain guns . It is also equipped to fire missiles.Congress must be notified of major weapons sales. We urge Congress to oppose the sale of these helicopters.Vital Services Not Available to Many Rural Papuans

The daily JUBI reported  on a new book by Cipry Jehan. The Papuan Paradox, describes “systematic discrimination” targeting Papuans in Keerom District. At a seminar convened by the Catholic Church in Keerom Jehan described “structural social injustice.” He said that the Indonesian government has focused development efforts in the area of Arso and Skamto, areas populated largely by non-Papuan immigrants and transmigrants. Papuan majority areas such as Waris and Towe do not receive such development assistance, he explained.

Jehan added that discrimination against Papuans extends to education. As evidence he cited the reality of inequality in educational services provided from nursery school level right up to secondary school level. In Keerom district, he said, nursery schools are spread right across the districts whereas in the Papuan majority districts of Waris and Towe Hitam there are no educational facilities at all. He concluded that “The government is much more consistent about sending troops to this area than sending teachers and doctors.”

On March 26, JUBI, reported that Kenius Kogoya, a member of the Papuan legislative assembly (DPRP), expressed regret that Indonesian state teachers and health personnel seldom venture out to rural Papuan populations.

Despite explicit and implicit obligations undertaken by the Indonesian government, particularly under the rubric of “special autonomy,” Papuans living in rural areas have long suffered from a dearth of public services.

Kenius elaborated that there was widespread neglect by Indonesian officials who are supposed to check on whether government teachers and health workers in the interior turn up for work. The DPRP member stated that this is a problem that exists in almost all the districts of Papua.

WPAT Comment: For West Papuans, especially those living in rural areas, the face of the Indonesian government is not that of a teacher or a nurse or a doctor. It is the face of a soldier, a militarized police officer (Brimob), or an intelligence agent. Vital services provided in relative abundance to non-Papuans are simply not available for Papuans who continue to languish in poverty and to endure health conditions that are among the worst in the Southeast Asian region. It is precisely such disparity that have led many close observers to describe Indonesia’s policy toward Papuans as genocidal.

But it would be wrong to portray Indonesia’s policy as simply one of malign neglect. Indonesian security forces have long played the role of brutal enforcer as Indonesian, U.S. and other international corporations seize Papuan land and resources, aping the vilest practices of colonial powers of the past century. Transmigration policies conceived and employed during the era of the dictator Suharto are again in place, supported by Government “development” policies, as seen above, that greatly advantage the migrant over the deliberately marginalized Papuan.

Back issues of West Papua Report


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

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]

Sambom: ‘Imprisonment will never silence Papuans’

JUBI, 19 March 2012
A leading Papuan human rights  activist has said that the Indonesian government will never be able to silence the Papuan struggle by putting Papuans behind bars. On the contrary, he said, it has the reverse effect by making people more determined than ever.

Sebby Sambom made these comments in an interview with JUBI in connection with the three-year sentence given to Forkorus Yaboisembut and his four colleagues last week.

‘Indonesia has neither the power nor the legal means to punish Papuans by silencing them with regard to their aspirations for an Independent Papua,’ he said.

He said that whenever Papuans take action, they are brought before the court and given a prison sentence. This is the way the government behaves which is simply unacceptable. Even though Papuans have done nothing wrong, they are thrown into prison.’

He said that any Papuan who takes action faces the prospect of being jailed. People keep on being arrested, put on trial and thrown into prison but this will never silence the Papuan people.

He went on to say that  as the number of Papuans being held behind bars goes on increasing , this will help to alert the international community to get involved in solving the Papuan issue.

‘With all these political prisoners,’ he said, ‘international support will become more positive.’

Sebby said that Forkorus  is a loyal Papuan leader who is very serious about the Papuan struggle. ‘He is doing everything he possibly can to bring an end to our sufferings,’ His attitude was very clear from the remarks he made after the verdict was announced. ‘We were pleased with the verdict and our struggle will continue,’ said Sambom.

Translated by TAPOL