Sabar Iwanggin Arrest: Original IPAHR Reports

Human Rights Brief                                                               26 October 2007

Update:  West Papuan Lawyer arrested by anti Terrorism Police is moved to Jakarta.

Human rights workers in Jayapura report today that Sabar Iwanggin who was arrested by Indonesia’s special anti terrorism police force, Detachment 88,  last Thursday in Jayapura has been moved to Police Headquaerters in Jakarta today.

Sabar Iwaggin is a lawyer who works wth the respected Human Rights organisation, Els-ham  West Papua.

Sabar Iwanggin appears to have been charged with receiving & passing on a SMS text message which Police say is insulting to the Indonesian President.

Human Rights workers cannot understand why Sabar Iwanggin would be arrested by Indonesia’s most highly trained anti-terrorism police for his very minor role in the spread of this text message.

Police in Jayapura are now denying that Sabar Iwanggin was arrested by Detachment 88 and are saying that his arrest is a criminal matter.

Witnesses who were present with Sabar Iwanggin outside the Sports Hall in Jayapura on Thursday 18 October 2007 at the time confirm that his arrest was made by members of Detachment 88 and that the were 30 police officers present to make the arrest.

Police are reported to have sent Sabar Iwanggin in the company of another lawyer representing him and have made arrangements for his family to travel to Jakarta tomorrow.

Human rights workers have recommended that concerned people ring or fax  the Indonesian Police Headquarters and politely ask the reason why Sabar Iwanggin is being detained and to ask for his immediate release.

Alternate telephone numbers for Indonesian National Police Headquarters are:

+62 21 721800 ,  7251989,   7251967  and   7218014

The police fax number is :     +62 21 7246656

Matthew Jamieson representing the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights said today,  “It is incredible that the Indonesian Police would use personnel from the Detachment 88, their highly trained anti terrorism force, to arrest the lawyer Sabar Iwanggin for his trivial involvement in this test message issue.”

“Human rights workers are very concern that the Indonesian Police have another agenda and that they will continue to ignore Sabar Iwanggin’s basic rights.   Sabar Iwanggin’s arrest, detention and now transportation  to Jakarta Police Headquarters clearly has a trivial legal basis.   His legal and human rights are at risk while he remains in Indonesian police custardy charged on this basis.”

For more information contact:

Matthew Jamieson +61 418291998

Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights has sent out a previous and related document   “Human rights report 24 October 2007,  ‘West Papuan Human Rights Lawyer arrested by US & Australian trained Anti Terrorism police’ “.

Matthew Jamieson
Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights
PO box 1805, Byron bay NSW 2481 Australia
matthew@hr.minihub.org
tel +61(0) 418291998

West Papua Human Rights  Report                         24 October 2007                    xi

West Papuan Human Rights Lawyer arrested by US & Australian trained Anti Terrorism police

A statement released today by the Human Rights organsiation, Els-ham West Papua, details how a West Papuan human rights lawyer, Sabar Iwanggin, has been arrested, detained and interrogated by members of Detachment 88, Indonesia’s special police anti-terrorism force.  Detachment 88 received substantial training and financial assistance from the Australian and US Governments after the Bali Bombing in 2002.

Mr Iwanggin has reportedly been charged under the Indonesian Criminal Code for spreading SMS messages which are insulting to the Indonesian President.  The SMS message says that the President  ‘has an agenda to wipe out Papuans by poisoning food and hiring members of the army as doctors, restaurant workers, and motorcycle taxi drivers to kill Papuans’.

Incredibly Sabar Iwanggin is reported to have only received the incriminating message, was not the person who originally sent the message.  He is reported to have sent the message onto a handful of friends and family members.

Human Rights workers in Jayapura report that this SMS message had been spread around Papua since July 2007.  Thousands of people in Papua have received the same message.

In an unusual development the Police in West Papua have said that they intend to move Mr. Iwanggin to Jakarta for further interrogation later this week.

Iwanggin is a volunteer lawyer who has worked with the Human Rights organisation, Els-ham West Papua.

Very serious concerns are held for Mr. Iwanggin’s safety as the reason for his interrogation and detention appear trivial and the intentions of the Indonesian police are not clear.

Other Human Rights lawyers from Els-ham in Jayapura are seeking to challenge the legal basis for the Police action against Sabar Iwanggin, who has been held since Thursday 18th of October 2007.

Human Rights workers report that personnel from Detachment 88 came from Indonesian Police Headquarters in Jakarta to arrest  Sabar Iwanggin in the street in Jayapura.

Human Rights workers said that the case against Mr Iwanggin appears to be based around Police intercepting his mobile phone messages.   Mobile phone monitoring and recording devices have reportedly been set up in several areas in West Papua.

Other inflammatory SMS messages about the threat of biological warfare by the Indonesian military and the deliberate spread of disease and the poisoning of crops have also been sent around  West Papua.    The cultivation of a ‘climate of fear’ in West Papua appears to the intention of these SMS messages.

Widespread instances of server sickness & deaths of Papuans from consuming poisoned food and toxic drink have been reported.  This new danger has prompted a major change eating and buying habits of West Papuan people.

Ongoing security operations by the military and police forces have disrupted community life in many regions and ‘mysterious’  killings and accidental killings have entrenched this ‘climate of fear’. Abductions and assaults of young Papuan women have also been reported.

Special Police Detachment 88 is a 400 strong anti-terrorist police force, which has been supported by Singaporean, Australian and US Governments,  was set up to fight terrorism in Indonesian after the Bali bombings.  Detachment 88 was originally raised from members of the Brimob, Indonesia’s notorious paramilitary police.

The establishment and operation of Detachment 88 was touted by the conservative US based Heritage Foundation in 2006 as a US – Indonesia bi-lateral success story.   This source says that members of Detachment 88 are vetted by the U.S. Embassy for their respect for human rights.

Indonesian rights campaigners allege the crackdown on terrorism  conducted by Detachment 88 has resulted in numerous instances of rights violation, as most of the arrests it made were illegal. (The Jakarta Post, December 8, 2005)

“The Human Rights workers in Jayapura ask why Detachment 88 Anti terrorism police should have singled out and arrested Sabar Iwanggin, a civilian lawyer who has acted on Human Rights cases.”

“It appears that Police are using the trivial involvement of Iwanggin in the insulting SMS issue as a way to disrupt the legitimate work of a Human Rights organisation.”  said Matthew  Jamieson spokesperson for the Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human  Rights.

“Given the recent brutal history of the Indonesian Police and the elite training of the Detachment 88 very serious concerns are held for Sabar Iwanggin’s safety during detention & interrogation.”

“Sabar Iwanggin who is 43 years old is one of the volunteer lawyers of the Human Rights organisation Els-ham,  which acted  for students tried after the violent demonstration in Jayapura on March 16, 2006.   Four Brimob police and one  Indonesian military personnel were killed in this demonstration.”

“During the round up of students in relation to the incident and  throughout the subsequent trial process there were documented reports of human rights abuse, forced confession,  torture and judicial bias.”

“The arrest of Sabar Iwanggin gives a clear indication that the Indonesian police are intent on restricting the already limited legal rights afforded to West Papuans.”

“Media restrictions in West Papua mean that the Indonesian security forces receive limited international attention over their tactics which make human rights abuse commonplace.”

Matthew Jamieson went on to say, “What we are seeing is an example of the internationally created, trained & sponsored anti-terrorism police force, the Detachment 88, being used to remove a Human Rights defender who is critical of the Police.”

“The Indonesian security forces are clearly engaged in psychological warfare operations in West Papua which is combined with deliberate widespread human right abuse at a level which stays under the radar for the international community. Human Rights defenders like Sabar Iwanggin are one of the only defenses for the people in West Papua because access by the international community is restricted.”

“Many countries including New Zealand, Australia and the USA have  increased cooperation with and training of the Indonesian Security  forces arguing that by working with the Indonesian police and military they can be reformed.  Yet it is clear that Indonesian security forces are using anti terrorism training and other international support to maintain illegal & non democratic processes in Indonesia and  particularly in West Papua.”

“The lessons from East Timor need to be learnt. The Australian people and the international community in general cannot stand by and let our Government leave the West Papuan people in the hands of the Indonesian security forces.”

For more information contact Matthew Jamieson tel +61(0) 418291998

A picture of Sabar Iwanggin is available for publication.

Matthew Jamieson
Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights
PO box 1805, Byron bay NSW 2481 Australia
matthew@hr.minihub.org
tel +61(0) 418291998

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