Tag Archives: Inhuman and degrading treatment

Paniai sweeps intensify misery under Indonesian control as security forces ban music and torture priest

by West Papua Media

March 6, 2013

Local residents in Paniai regency are bracing for more repression in sweep operations by Indonesian security forces after two separate incidents across the Paniai have intensified ongoing crackdowns on West Papuan independence sentiment, torturing a  local priest and even banning the possession of traditional music.

The latest crackdown, imposed in Paniai after guerrillas from Paniai commander Jhon Yogi’s Paniai unit of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) were involved in armed engagements with the Indonesian army (TNI) and Police throughout February .

Reliable human rights sources in Paniai have reported to West Papua Media that an influx of joint TNI and police have “arrived with total war equipment” to bolster sweeps and raids across Paniai against civilians accused of holding pro-independence sentiments.

“In order to confront the TPN PB and on orders from President SBY, a brigade of TNI / Police have arrived with total war equipment. There were drops of TNI/POLRI in Paniai on 3 March 2013. The brigade arrived by 7 ‘Inova’ vehicles via the coast road,” the source told West Papua Media.

Helicopters belonging to illegal gold miners in Degouwo were again being used by Indonesian troops to support the operation, similar to the massive offensive against Paniai people during 2011 and early 2012, according to both human rights and church sources.

“A yellow and white helicopter owned by an illegal business in Degouwo at 13.00 WPB (west Papua time) made two drops of personnel and logistical war equipment. The first drop was to the Enarotali airport in Paniai district, and the second helicopter drop of the brigade forces together with war equipment was at Obano also, in the west of Paniai district,” the human rights source told West Papua Media.

Independent sources are also reporting that Indonesian colonial occupation forces are putting massive pressure on local civilians, with routine violations of civilian’s dignity, and arbitrary strip searches, that have created opportunities for brutality and torture on local people.

The notorious battalion 753 from Nabire has erected scores of “state of emergency tents” every 5-10 kilometres along the main road between Nabire and Paniai, according to witnesses. “TNI are carrying out very strict checking of everything. The TNI from unit 753 are undoing the clothes of every passenger in the area to check them including females. Advocacy and monitoring is requested,” said the human rights worker.

Military Destruction of traditional culture amounting to cultural genocide
Papuan independent media outlet Tabloid Jubi  has reported remarkable accounts of the extraordinary measures Indonesian police commandos from Paniai police headquarters are taking to destroy traditional Papuan culture by banning music.

Father Saul Wanimbo, the Director of the Commission for Justice and Peace (SKP) in Timika diocese, told Tabloid Jubi that during police sweeps, local people are being forced to hand over their mobile phones.  They analyse the memory cards on the mobile phones to find songs in Papuan language, and if the memory card is found to contain either one or many Papuan folk songs, police will smash the memory card with stones, according to Fr Wanimbo.

“The police are sweeping HP (Handphone) memory cards of Enaro society (people) for the last two months,” Wanimbo told Jubi, citing his own experiences and stories directly from Enaro residents from 1-20 Febrruary 2013.  Wanimbo said that Paniai people have been so demoralised that they just accept the oppressive actions of the occupation forces.

Wanimbo said that the actions by Police were killing three values:  “There is destruction of cultural values, murder of the people’s creativity, and character assassination.”

“The situation is conditioned in such a way so that people cannot resist. How can the people fight if the area has a variety of (security force) members lurking there,” Fr Wanimbo told Jubi.  The police acts were morally and legally wrong, police could not arbitrarily violate people’s privacy for no apparent reason, and such actions must be done with a warrant, he said.

“Paniai Police must explain the meaning of this sweeps. Or the Papua Police chief must stop the actions of the Kapolresnya (local police command) men in Enaro. This is serious. We can say it’s the beginning of the genocide, ” he said.

Priest tortured by police who then demand bribe for his release

Meanwhile, again in the Paniai regional centre of Enarotoli, local human rights workers have documented a serious case of torture of a local priest.  According to human rights workers attached to the Kingmi church, at 8.30 in the morning on March 2, Reverend Yunus Gobai (55 years) was arrested, threatened and tortured by local and Brimob commando police at the Enarotali (Kapolresnya) police compound in Paniai district.

According to the report received and confirmed by West Papua Media, as a result of beating Gobai’s nose was bleeding, his upper and lower lips were split and  bleeding, and he sustained abrasions on his hands, swelling on his forehead and cuts on his head, after which he he was put in a cell at the Police Sector command (Polsek) in Enarotali.

Family members went to request his release from the Police station, but the Paniai police demanded a bribe or ransom money to free him, according to the report.  Family members reported they were forced to gather money in order to pay the police, and a Paniai member of the DPRD directly handed over to police one million rupiah (about US$103) at Polsek Paniai.  Reverend Gobai was then released at 1030am local time, and taken straight home to his village by his family, according to the report.

Rev Gobai is the former pastor and head of the council of the community of KINGMI Maranatha Nabire. According to his family, after Rev Gobai became pastor of the community he suffered from (an undefined) mental disturbance together with epilepsy.  Gobai’s family reported that he would regularly be seen “shouting for no reason or running around shouting”.

Reverend Gobai was arrested after exhibiting these symptoms outside the police station in Enarotoli, causing his arrest, but police did not treat the issue as an illness and used unwarranted torture and inhumane treatment on the pastor, according to the report.

(WPM Editor’s Comment: Whilst the KINGMI report uses unclear terminology describing the pastor’s behaviour as “mental illness”, often random outbursts of unintelligible shouting and psychotic visions are perfectly normal and accepted behaviour of Christian pentecostal pastors, Muslim imans, Hindu holy people, and almost all other religious leaders and clerics across human history.  To arrest and torture someone for this behaviour is to ignore the experience of humanity.)

Paniai is no stranger to unrestrained Indonesian security force violence and torture against local people, primarily made up of members of the Mee tribe.  Previous offensives in the  Paniai since December 2011 have displaced tens of thousands of civilians, and burnt down hundreds of villages.  Paniai was the scene of widespread military operations between 1963-1969, 1977-1978, and again in 1981-1982. During this period U.S. supplied Bronco aircraft were used to bomb villages while helicopters strafed Papuans with machine gun fire.

West Papua Media

AHRC: Guards torture 20 prisoners at the Abepura Correctional Facility, Papua

(Please Note: West Papua Media will as a matter of policy republish Urgent Appeals from AHRC and other renowned human rights networks such as Tapol, Amnesty, and Human Rights Watch, as these appeals continue to meet our standards of news verification.  Whilst the structure of these letters technically fall under advocacy and not journalism as such, it is still a matter of great public interest that they are published, and we can attest to their factuality as we have independently verified claims therein)

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-025-2013
22 February 2013
INDONESIA: Guards torture 20 prisoners at the Abepura Correctional Facility, Papua

ISSUES: Inhuman and degrading treatment; torture

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the torture of twenty prisoners at the Abepura Correctional Facility, Papua, on 21 January 2013. Information gathered by local activists reveals that the torture was conducted by three prison guards with the acquiescence of the head of the prison. The victims were beaten with bare hands as well as whipped with thick wire until some parts of their bodies were bleeding. Despite the injuries suffered the prison guards did not give any medical treatment to the tortured prisoners.


According to local activists from KontraS Papua, Bersatu untuk Kebenaran (BUK), and SKPKC Fransiskan Papua, three new prisoners were admitted to the Abepura Class II.A Correctional Facility at around 6pm on 21 January 2013. The other prisoners made spontaneous comments to welcome the new prisoners such as “welcome to the prodeo hotel” and “welcome to isolation”. Not long afterwards, two prison guards named Bonifasius Manuputy and Yulianan Wanane ordered the inmates’ coordinator (tahanan pendamping, tamping) to unlock cell number 5 and asked all the five prisoners staying there to exit the cells. The prisoners were ordered to walk in a crouch position to the guards’ office which is about 100-150 meters away from the cell.

Bonifasius Manuputy started beating the prisoners once they reached the guards’ office. At this stage, another prison guard called Eli Asip Wamuar also joined Bonifasius in torturing the prisoners by whipping them with a thick white wire. The diameter of the wire was about 10 inches and its length was around 2 meters. As the prisoners from cell five were being beaten, the other prisoners staying in other cells made noises, asking Bonifasius not to torture the prisoners from cell number 5. It was alleged that the beating took place because the guards got annoyed with the prisoners’ welcoming remarks addressed to the new enrolled prisoners.

At around 6.30pm on the same day, Eli Asip Wamuar ordered the inmates’ coordinator to unlock cell number 2 and 3. There were seven prisoners inside cell number 2 and eight prisoners inside cell number 3. All prisoners staying in both cells were asked to walk to the guards’ office in a crouch position as well. As their fellows from cell number 5, those prisoners were also whipped by Eli Asip Wamuar in their body using the thick white wire. As a result, the prisoners suffered wounds and injuries to different parts of their body including arms, back, and shoulder. Some parts of their body were also bleeding and bruised. One of the prisoners, Pelius Tabuni, had his left arm broken, allegedly caused by the severe beating with the thick wire. The head of the Abepura Correctional Facility, Nuridin, as well as the Head of the Correctional Facility’s Security Unit, Juwaini, were present as the torture was taking place.

After the beating the prison guards simply put the prisoners back in their cells without giving them any medical treatment which could have been made available at the prison’s clinic despite the injury they suffered.


This is not the first time that a report on the allegation of torture at the Abepura Correctional Facility has been received by the AHRC. Previously in June 2012, the AHRC released an urgent appeal concerning the torture of 42 prisoners and detainees at the same correctional facility. The AHRC was informed that after heavy criticism directed by human rights activists at that time, the then Head Correctional Facility Liberti Sitinjak was replaced by Nuridin in 2012. However, no criminal investigation was conducted on this matter that those responsible for such abuse remain unpunished.

In a greater picture, torture is no longer a new issue in Papua in general. In 2010, a video revealing military officers torturing a Papuan man was released but the perpetrators were sentenced only to 9-12 months imprisonment. The AHRC has also recently published an urgent appeal concerning the torture of seven Papuans by Indonesian police in Jayapura on false allegations for having a relationship with pro-independence activists.

Please write to the authorities listed below asking for their intervention in this matter. The torture allegation should be impartially and effectively investigated that those responsible for it will be punished proportionately. Please also urge the authorities to provide compensation and medical treatment needed for the loss and injury suffered by the victims.

The AHRC is writing separately to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

To support this appeal, please click here:


Dear ___________,

INDONESIA: Prison guards tortured 20 prisoners at Abepura Correctional Facility, Papua

Name of victims:
1. Pelius Tabuni, 32 year old, left arm got broken and suffer wounds in his shoulder and back;
2. Gidion Hanuebi (Bob), 37 year old, suffers wounds in his back;
3. Serko Itlai, 19 year old, suffers wounds in his back;
4. Yoris Fernando W. Rengil, 17 year old, suffers wounds in his back;
5. Ami Wenda (Soy), 25 year old, suffers wounds in his back and arms;
6. Roy Olvin Wally, 31 year old, suffers wounds in his back and left arm;
7. Ormi Wandik, 17 year old, suffers wounds in his back and arms;
8. Roy Kabarek, 37 year old, suffers bruises in his forehead and jaws as well as wounds in his back;
9. Irsan Mananggel (Irs), 19 year old, suffers wounds in his back and arms that he could not move his arms for a couple of days;
10. Yosua Merahabia, 41 year old, suffers wounds in his back and left arm;
11. Samuel Waren, 26 year old, suffers wounds in his back and arms;
12. Yakobus Bue, 20 year old, suffers wounds in his back and arms;
13. Hendro Wambrau, 21 year old, suffers wounds in his back, left arm and left elbow;
14. Ibe Huby, 22 year old, suffers wounds in his back as well as bruises in left ear;
15. Kaharudin, 28 year old, suffers wounds in his back and right arm;
16. Kaleb Mantanaway, 21 year old, suffers wounds in his back and arms;
17. Imanuel Mauri, 21 year old, suffers bruises in his back of head and ears;
18. Zikenele Hisage, 20 year old, suffers wounds in his back and right arm;
19. Widodo Santoso, 26 year old, suffers bruises in his forehead;
20. Ahmad Alia, age unidentified, suffers wounds in his back.
Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Eli Asip Wamuar, prison guard
2. Bonifasius Manuputy, prison guard
3. Yulianan Wanane, prison guard
4. Juwaini, Head of Abepura Correctional Facility’s Security Unit
5. Nuridin, Head of Abepura Correctional Facility
Date of incident: 21 January 2013
Place of incident: Abepura, Papua

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the torture of prisoners which took place in the Abepura Class II, a Correctional Facility. I received the information that 20 prisoners were tortured by three prison guards with the acquiescence of the Head of the Correctional Facility as well as the Head of the Correctional Facility’s Security Unit on 21 January 2013.

I have been informed that on the day in question at around 6pm, three new prisoners were admitted to the correctional facility. Responding to it, the other prisoners were making spontaneous welcoming remarks such as “welcome to isolation” as well as “welcome to the prodeo hotel”. Not long afterwards, two prison guards named Bonifasius Manuputy and Yulianan Wanane asked the inmates’ coordinator (tahanan pendamping, tamping) to unlock cell number 5 and ordered the prisoners staying there to walk to the guards’ office in a crouch position. Once they reached the office, the prisoners were beaten by Bonifasius and whipped with a thick white wire by another prison guard named Eli Asip Wanuar. The white wire was about 2 meters long. During the beatings and whippings, the other prisoners made noises asking the prison guards to stop torturing their fellow inmates.

Eli Asip Wanuar later ordered the inmates’ coordinator to unlock cell number 2 and 3 and also asked the prisoners staying there to walk in a crouch position to the guards’ office. Similarly, the prisoners from these two cells were beaten and whipped by the prison guards. Nuridin, the Head of Abepura Correctional Facility, as well as Juwaini, the Head of the Correctional Facility’s Security Unit were present during the torture and did not do anything to stop it from happening.

I was told that due to the beatings and whippings, the twenty prisoners suffer wounds and injuries to several parts of their body. It was reported that one of them, Pelias Tabuni, had his left arm broken. Even though the prisoners were injured and bleeding, the prison authorities did not provide them with any medical treatment afterwards and just put them back in their cells.

I am concerned that torture is still practiced in your country, despite the fact that Indonesia is a state party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the right not to be tortured is guaranteed under the 1945 Constitution. I am particularly disturbed knowing that this is not the first time I received the report that torture is taking place in Abepura Class II.A Correctional Facility. I am aware it was previously reported that 42 prisoners and detainees were tortured at the same correctional facility in April last year and that the perpetrators are still unpunished as of today. It saddens me that the Indonesian government and law enforcement officials do not take torture as a serious matter that deserves serious concern and efforts. Those who are responsible for such abuse are hardly taken before the court. Even for cases that managed to reach the court, the perpetrators have always been punished with light sentence that does not reflect the gravity of the abuse.

I therefore urge you and your institution to prove your commitment in combating torture and enforcing law and human rights in your country. The torture allegation in this case should be impartially and effectively investigated that those responsible for it are punished proportionately according to law. I also wish to emphasise that, under international human rights law, not providing detainees or prisoners with adequate medical treatment may also constitute torture that you are also obliged to give any health assistance needed by the victims in this case. Compensation should also be adequately granted to them.

I look forward for your positive and prompt response in this matter.

Yours sincerely,


1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +62 21 386 3777, 350 3088.
Fax: + 62 21 344 2223, 3483 4759
E-mail: presiden@ri.go.id

2. Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889
Fax: +62 21 525 3095

3. Mr. Mochamad Sueb
General Director of Corrections
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. Veteran No. 11
Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +62 21 385 7611
Fax: +62 21 345 2155, 231 2140

4. Gen. Timur Pradopo
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110
Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 7220 669
E-mail: info@polri.go.id

5. Ir. Gen. Drs. Tito Karnavian
Chief of Papua Regional Police
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi No. 8
Tel: +62967 531 014, 533 396
Fax: +62967 533 763

6. Mr. Otto Nur Abdullah
Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission
Jalan Latuharhary No.4-B,
Jakarta 10310
Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
Email: info@komnas.go.id

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)