FLAG RAISERS BEATEN & CHARGED WITH SUBVERSION IN FAKFAK, WEST PAPUA

Human Rights Report                                           21 July 2008

FLAG RAISERS BEATEN & CHARGED WITH SUBVERSION IN FAKFAK, WEST PAPUA

Reports from Fakfak state that 6 West Papuans involved in a flag raising ceremony, with the banned Morning Star flag, on early Saturday morning, will be charged under the Indonesian Criminal code for crime of ‘subversion’.

These reports follow earlier information that 35 local West Papuan, including ex-political prisoners, were involved in a flag raising ceremony outside the “Act of Free Choice” building (Fakfak Archives office) on 4.30 am Saturday morning 19 July 2008.

Local Human Rights workers reported that Indonesian Police in Fakfak arrested 46 local West Papuan people, which included some people not involved in the ceremony. (Also see attached IPAHR Human Rights Alert 19 July 2008.  Also Jakarta Post Sunday 20 July 2008 reported 41 arrests of ex political prisoners in the incident.)

Human Rights workers report that the Indonesian Police appear to have had prior knowledge of the ceremony and attacked the demonstrators beating them, kicking them with boots and torturing the demonstrators. The men in the group were then stripped to their underwear before being taken to the Police compound.   Two women were included in those arrested.

The names of those now charged with Subversion ‘Makar’ under section 110 of Criminal Code and detained by Indonesian Police are:

1/  Simon Tuturop, 58 years;

2/  Tadeus Weripang, 52 years;

3/  Viktor Tuturop, 42 years;

4/  Tomas Nimbitkendik, 19 years;

5/  Benedidiktus Turuop, 35 years;

6/  Teles Piahar, 20 years.

Three men, Walter Wareopor 60 years, Daniel Nimbitkendik 14 years and Simon Hindom 50 years, who had bush knives/machetes in their possession were charged under Emergency Regulation Section 12.

It was reported that the other 37 detainees would be sent home after meeting with and being briefed by the Fakfak Regent, Dr Wahidin Puarada.

The ex-political prisoners, Simon Tuturop & Tadeus Weripang, involved in the protest had been previously arrested, in 3 July 1982 in the capital Jayapura, for involvement in an event which declared West Papua independent.

It is understood that the Police have charged the six detainees under Indonesian Criminal code relating to subversion and overthrowing the Government.   Reports from Fakfak confer with the Jakarta Post (20 July 2008) which suggests that group is charged ‘under Article 106 of the Criminal Code, the detainees can be charged for plotting a coup. The charge carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.”

Paula Makabory representing Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights said today, “ The detainees should be released as it is not credible for the Indonesian Police to charge these people on that basis of ‘subversion’.  Performing a flag raising ceremony and protesting against Indonesian authority is not an act which could over throw the Government. The demonstration was peaceful and such political expression should be a democratic right in West Papua and Indonesia.”

“Public remembrance of the past injustice from the Soeharto period and the ongoing repression of Human Rights, including the Right to ‘self determination’, is what Indonesia Government agencies seek to subvert by arresting these people.  This demonstration is only a threat to the status quo in West Papua because it shows the world the kind of Indonesian domination which West Papuans face. ”

“To arrest and detain this group, charged under the subversion parts of the criminal code, are draconian.  This symbolic protest in itself is clearly not going to overthrow the State of Indonesia.”

“This whole flag raising issue must be an embarrassment to the Indonesian Government.”  Paula Makabory went on to say.

“These community leaders who have been political prisoners after being arrested in the time of the Soeharto dictatorship are now being arrested for similar crimes in the ‘New‘ & ‘Democratic’ Indonesia.”

“These arrests demonstrate that previous ‘political’ injustice in West Papua from the Soeharto period are not reconciled in Indonesia or West Papua.”

“Injustices of the past have been carried forward by the unreformed Indonesian security forces into the present period so that authoritarian rule continues in West Papua.   It is a serous problem and political freedom still does not exist in West Papua.”

Paula Makabory suggests that 9 detainees have been made an example of for the community in Fakfak.   “Why are some released and yet others detained, when all have committed the same crime of non violent protest against Indonesian Government.”

“These Fakfak prisoners and other prisoners, arrested in Timika, Manokwari and Jayapura on similar grounds relating to West Papuan flags and symbols since December last year, should be released.”

“There is a political problem in West Papua that still needs to be fixed.  By repressing political decent and imprisoning West Papuans the problem will not be fixed”.

Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights suggest that all concerned parties should contact their own Government and the Indonesian embassies to request that the 9 detainees be immediately released.

–  Aloysius Renwarin, Supervisor,  Els-ham West Papua  on +62 815 27801051; or

–  Paula Makabory, Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights   on +61 402547517

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