LP3BP protests after TV journalist beaten by local district chief in South Sorong

JUBI, 9 September 2011

Once again, violence has been used in Papua, this time against a television journalist  working for the local TV station in South Sorong, TOP TV. Mufriadi who reports on the district of South Sorong was severely beaten  by the bupati – district chief – of South Sorong in West Papua while covering an assault on the office of the district chief by local people.

‘We received information from Mufriardi by phone who said he had been attacked and beaten by the bupati, Otto Ihalauw and his assistant, Marthen who is a member of the police force, along with four other policemen.,’ Amir Siregar  told the press.

Siregar said that  Ihalauw’s action was a crime and he should be detained by the local police force.’It was a criminal act and he can be detained without waiting for the permission of the President, in accordance with the law on regional governance and guidance for police investigations.’

Siregar said that after Mufriardi was beaten, his handy camera was seized  and he was taken to a room at the bupati’s office for questioning.

Mufriadi  explained that he had  received a request by phone to cover the assault being made on the bupati’s office by people who own traditional rights to the  land .’But as soon as  I arrived, I was summoned by  the bupati’s assistant who is a member of the police force. I was taken to the bupati’s office. The bupati came out of his car and slapped me in the face, after which I was subjected to beating by  his assistants which lasted for about ten minutes.I have no idea why I was beaten  but I was subjected to verbal abuse and then they asked me to write a report along the lines that they wanted.’

Viktor Mambor, chairman of AJI, the Independent Alliance of Journalists in Papua,  said that he would support moves by TOP TV to seek legal action and report the incident to the authorities.


The Executive-Director of LP3BH, the Manokwari-based human rights organisation has made a strong protest against the action by the bupati against Otto Ihalauw. Yan Christian Warinussy described the action of the bupati as a crime which should be investigated in accordance with Law/1981.

He went on to describe the bupati’s action as an act of intimidation against the activities of journalists as stipulated in the law on the press.as well as a crime under the Indonesian Criminal Code. He called on the local police chief to arrest the bupati  and his assistants  as well as the members of the police force who were  involved in the incident.

Such activities should not be allowed to happen again, said Warinussy and he said that speaking on behalf of human rights activists throughout West Papua, he called on the chief of police in South Sorong to take firm action against the criminal actions of the bupati. He said that the people of West Papua should strongly condemn such attempts of officials to take the law into their own hands,

Warinussy also called on DAP, the Customary Council of  Papua  and all components of the Papuan people tocall for those responsible for these criminal acts to be brought to account, because a bad precedent  has been set for the activities of the governments in South Sorong and throughout the province of West Papua.
He said that the governor of West Papua should also report the incident to the minister of the interior, to ensure that the matter in dealt with in accordance with the laws in force. All journalists working in West Papua should give their full support to Mufriadi in this matter.

A Veil of Silence is Killing Papua

A Veil of Silence is Killing Papua

from http://unitingworld.org.au/blogs/blog/2010/12/22/a-veil-of-silence-is-killing-papua-2/

December 22nd, 2010

John Barr
By John Barr

Isak Jeksen Mebri shot dead by an Indonesian soldier in Wutung border area with Papua New Guinea on 11th February; an estimated 30 people killed in the Paniai Regency in July: a journalist, Ardiansyah Matrais, found dead in  a river near Merauke on 27th July; Naftali Kwan and Septinus Kwan shot dead by Police Mobile Brigade in Manokwari on 16th September; video footage obtained in October showing the torture of Papuans by the Indonesian military in the Tingginambut area; Ismail Lokobal found dead from a bullet wound after police shoot indiscriminately and Amos Wetibo shot dead in the head after refusing to get down from a police vehicle in Wamena on 4th October; 29 homes burned in Brigiragi Village in Puncak Jaya by officers of the Police Mobile Brigade on 11th October – and the list goes on.

Violence against the local population continues in Papua, the most eastern part of Indonesia and few people are held accountable.

Komnas HAM is the National Human Rights Commission in Indonesia and its report on the human rights situation in the Land of Papua (commonly known as West Papua) is disturbing reading. Matius Murib, Vice Chair in Papua, highlights a serious scenario where Papuans continue to suffer human rights violations at the hands of the Indonesian military and police.

“The actors most responsible are not held accountable” says Matius. Indeed, law enforcers and military officers operating in many parts of Papua gain impunity due a lack of media and public exposure. Arbitrary detention of protesters and sexual violence against women is common. Community leaders and their families are harassed and threatened. People live in constant fear.

Papua rarely makes the news. This is because media is restricted and international scrutiny is minimal. Much has changed in the rest of Indonesia in recent years with the process of “reformasi” and real progress towards democracy. These developments deserve recognition and significant praise.

But things remain the same in Papua. Little has changed since the days of Suharto and his “New Order” regime. The military are in control and no-one appears to be answerable to the violence that is continually inflicted on locals.

A veil of silence encircles Papua and justice appears to be as aloof as ever. The Papuans I know fear the future. Effectively, they are experiencing a slow death.

This is simply not good enough. The world must take note!

AHRC: Killing of a journalist in Papua explained as suicide by local police


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-128-2010

8 September 2010
INDONESIA: Killing of a journalist in Papua explained as suicide by local police

ISSUES: Human rights defenders; freedom of expression; extrajudicial killings

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission has been informed about the killing of a journalist and human rights defender in Merauke, Papua, Indonesia. Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is (25 years old) was found dead on July 30, 2010 floating naked in the Maro River after he disappeared two days previously. Several journalists received intimidating SMS (short message service) in the weeks before the killing. Unofficial police reports have indicated that his ribs were broken and his lungs filled with water.

CASE NARRATIVE: (according to information received from Foker LSM – NGO Forum for Coorperation in Papua)

In the late evening of July 28, 2010 Mr. Matra’is was reported missing after his wife had not seen him returning home all day. After the police was informed, a special team searched for him for two days. They had only found his helmet and motorbike parked near the Waliwali Tujuh Bridge on the Maro River. At 7 am on July 30, 2010, fishermen found his naked corpse floating near the Dermaga Gudang Arang Warehouse, Merauke. (warning: this image is graphic in detail. Photo of Mr. Matra’is body as it was found in the river). The body was brought to the hospital and identified by his family. The first formal autopsy result did not acknowledge any signs of violence while according to an informal notice from the District Police the lungs were filled with water and two ribs were broken which indicates the use of physical violence. The regional police announced the conduct of a second autopsy at a different location, to which several of Mr. Matra’is organs were sent.

The bridge where Mr. Matra’is motorbike was found is a popular place where locals frequently go for recreation to enjoy the scenery. Mr. Matra’is was known to have often visited for taking photos near the bridge where his motorbike was found. The Police chief of Merauke, Djoko AKBP Prihadi SH concluded this case to be a suicide based on interviews with the victim’s family and colleagues and the evidence on the bridge and the first autopsy report by the local district hospital. According to the police the suicide would have been committed as a result of the stress that he must have experienced from the daily work as a journalist.

(photos’ source: http://kebebasan-kebebasancom.blogspot.com)

Journalist work and intimidation

(according to information received from the local journalists community)

Mr. Matra’is had been working as a journalist for several years including for the national private TV channel ANTV. He joined http://www.tabloidjubi.com, a Papuan civil society media in May 2009. After he published a video about illegal timber mining in Keerom, several journalists received intimidating messages. Following the increasing threats Mr. Matra’is temporarily left Jayapura, his place of work at that time. He continued to feel intimidated and often reported to have been followed by unidentified persons. Colleagues reported that he had received SMS threatening the security of his children. Months later Mr. Matra’is worked with a local TV station in Merauke.

Journalists are reported to have frequently received threats in the period before Mr. Matra’is’ killing. The threats are allegedly related to local elections in which a large scale food estate project with international investors became the subject of controversy. For example, a fellow journalist received the following message, “To the coward journalists: never play with fire if you don’t want to be burned. If you still want to make a living on this land, don’t do weird things. We have data on all of you and be prepared for death.”

Please write letters to the concerned authorities below requesting them to conduct a thorough investigation into the victim’s death. The intimidation against other journalists should also be investigated and pursued.

The AHRC has also written letters to the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression for their intervention.


Dear __________,

INDONESIA: Short title describing the type of violation

Name of victim: Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is (25 years old)
Date of incident: July 28, 2010
Place of incident: Maro River, Merauke, Papua

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the death of Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is, a journalist and human rights defender in Papua.

In the late evening of July 28, 2010 Mr. Matra’is was reported missing after his wife had not seen him returning home all day. After the police was informed, a special team searched for him for two days but only found his helmet and motorbike parked near the Waliwali Tujuh Bridge at the Maro River. At 7 am on July 30, 2010, fishermen found his naked corpse floating near the Dermaga Gudang Arang Warehouse, Merauke. The first formal autopsy result did not acknowledge any signs of violence while according to an informal notice from the District Police the lungs were filled with water and two ribs were broken which indicates the use of physical violence. The regional police announced the conduct of a second autopsy at a different location, to which several of Mr. Matra’is organs were sent.

Mr. Matra’is as well as other journalists in Merauke received intimidating messages via SMS (short message service) in recent months. Many see them related to local elections as well as other critical activities of journalist in Papua. The heavy military presence and the ongoing corruption had since been the serious obstacles for the region to sustainably develop and results in ongoing human rights violations and aggravates social tensions. The free and critical work of the media is central to the development in the region.

I request you to conduct a thorough investigation of the killing of Mr. Matra’is, as well as the intimidation against journalists in Merauke and other areas in Papua. I would like to point out that strongest action needs to be taken in accordance with law to ensure the safety of all journalists, the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in Papua.

I am calling for your intervention into the case to ensure an independent and qualified investigation in the killing of Mr. Matra’is as well as into the intimidating climate for journalists in Merauke.

Yours sincerely,


1. Drs.Bekto. Suprato. M.Si
Head of Police Area Headquarters Jayapura, Papua province
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura
Tel: + 62 0967 531014
Fax: +62 0967 533763

2. Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri
Chief of National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Jakarta Selatan
Fax: +62 21 720 7277

3. R. Widyopramono SH,M.Hum
District Attorney Papua
Kejaksaan Tinggi Papua
Jl. Anggrek No.6 Tj. Ria Jayapura

4. Paulus Waterpauw
Director of the Criminal Unit
Papua Regional Police
Jl. Samratulangi
No. 8 Jayapura

5. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
Republic of Indonesia
Presidential Palace
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010
Fax: + 62 21 231 41 38, 345 2685, 345 7782

6. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
KOMNAS HAM (National Human Rights Commission)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng
Jakarta Pusat 10310
Fax: +62 21 3151042/3925227

Thank you.

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

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AJI to continue investigating the murder of Ardiansyah

Bintang Papua, 31 August 2010

AJI to continue investigating the murder of Ardiansyah

Following the investigations which were undertaken by the Jayapura branch of AJI (Aliansi Jurnalis Indonesia) into the death of the journalist Ardiansyah Matra’is, the national AJI is planning to undertake a more thorough investigation into the case.

A member of the central board of AJI, Eko Matyadi, who is responsible for advocacy, said he would be flying to Merauke the following day. Besides trying to discover more data about the death, he will seek to verify the earlier results of AJI’s investigations that the journalist’s death was not due to natural causes.

‘Although no autopsy is available yet from the police, our findings are that he did not die of natural courses; There were signs of injuries on his body that were the result of violence. This is what we what to confirm.’

He said that his organisation was coordinating with the police about their trip to Merauke.

He stressed that the state must accept responsibility for investigating the death of a journalist because journalists are citizens just like other citizens. ‘Jouranlists are human beings with the same rights to life and for the safeguard of their personal security,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Victor Mambor, the chairman of AJI in Jayapura, said that AJI will continue to insist on the four demands made recently to the police in Papua, calling on them to be more serious in their investigations of the death of Ardinasyah. Victor also expressed regret that a statement by PWI on behalf of Papuan journalists had apologised to the police for the peaceful action by Journalists Solidarity on 23 August.’While there is no issue between AJI as an institution and the PWI, for me personally there is still an issue to be resolved.’

He said that the demonstration to the Papuan police was well within the constitutional rights of all citizens of the state, there had been no violation of the law, while actions undertaken by journalists in solidarity with their professional colleagues were entitled to the protection of the law.’


News from Papua: Journalists will boycott police for failing to investigate Ardiansyah's murder; Restrictions on alcohol to combat spread of HIV; Women traders promised their own market

Bintang Papua, 23 August 2010
Abridged in translation

Ardiansyah murder repercussions

Journalists to boycott police news

About one hundred print and electronic journalists, following a
demonstration in Jayapura, announced their decision to boycott all news
from the police as from 23 August for failing to reveal the perpetrator
of the murder of Metro TV journalist, Ardiansyah Matra’is whose body was
found on 28 July floating in the Maro River.

They also called for the chief of police in Papua to be dismissed for
his failure to thoroughly investigate the journalist’s murder.

Victor Mambor, the chairman of the journalists organisation AJI, said
they had waited for hours to meet the police chief but he never appeared.

According to the results of an autopsy by the police, there were many
swellings on the journalist’s body, several teeth were missing and his
neck showed signs of his having been strangled. At the time of the
tragic incident, other journalists had been receiving terror threats by
SMS. [Other reports suggest that Ardiansyah was still alive when he was
thrown into the river where he drowned.]

During the demonstration, the journalists carried banners calling for
an end to the terror. A journalist from Tempo said it was up to the
police to investigate the case.

‘Today, our colleague is murdered. Tomorrow it could be one of us,’ he

Cenderawasih reporter Ronald Manurung said: ‘We are partners of the
police. Every day we report about police activities in safeguarding
security in Papua, but the chief of police doesn’t show any interest in
the sufferings of our colleague and his grieving family.’

At this point, a police official appeared and said the demonstrators
should delegate someone to meet the chief of police but this was rejected.

Then another journalist, Cunding Levi read a joint statement setting a
deadline for the police to show results in their investigation to
discover the perpetrator of Ardiansyah’s murder. The statement will be
sent to the president and other ministers as well as the National Human
Rights Commission, whose deputy chairman Matius Murib was present. He
invited those present to bow their heads in tribute to their murdered
colleague. All sections of the community in Papua should pay close
attention to the human rights cases in Papua, he said. Thereafter, the
journalist dispersed in an orderly fashion


Bintang Papua, 23 August 2010

Alcoholic drinks and the increase in HIV in Papua
With the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in Papua continuing to increase,
the Papuan provincial government has announced its intention to restrict
or to stop the sale of alcoholic drinks throughout the province of
Papua. The number of sufferers in Papua reportedly reached a total of
more than 5,000 in 2009.

Provincial governor Barnabas Suebu said that during a two-month tour of
many kampungs, many people had urged the government to pay more
attention to this problem. ‘So we have now drafted a regulation to end
the sale of alcohol which will soon be submitted to the DPRP.’

The governor said that the alarming rise in the number of HIV sufferers
was a warning to Papuans that this sickness must be brought under control..


Bintang Papua, 23 August 2010
Special market for women traders to be built

The Papuan provincial government has said that it is still committed to
the plan to build a special market for women traders. A spokesman said
that a location had been chosen and once the legalities of the
conversion of the land ere completed, construction would begin.

The spokesman Jansen Monim said this was an example of the governor’s
determination to listen to the wishes of the people.

For the past nine years, Papuan women traders have been pressing for a
special market but as yet, their demands have not been realised and they
have been pushed from one location to another, having to do their
business under the open sky and sitting on the bare ground. During th
course of their struggle, some of the women have died.

One location that was offered to the women was rejected because, they
said, it was too far away from people coming to buy things. After
submitting their demands to the governor, he has now promised that the
special market for women traders will be built in 2010. The governor
also promised to provide other facilities for the women traders. There
are also plans to provide the women with special training for marketing
management and to supply four trucks along with fuel to help transport
their goods.

It was also said that the governor’s commitment applies not only to
Jayaura but to the whole of Papua.

[Comment: The reference throughout this item was only to Papua, meaning
that this pledge does not apply to the province of West Papua. ]

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