Posts Tagged ‘political prisoners’

National Liberation Army (TPN/PB) Spokesperson Arrested in West Papua

September 14, 2009

Media Alert

Sunday 13 September 2009

National Liberation Army (TPN/PB) Spokesperson Arrested in West Papua

A peaceful resolution to West Papua’s long-standing conflict with Indonesia has suffered a serious set-back with the arrest by Indonesian authorities of leading pro-peace activist Jonah Wenda.

Mr Wenda was detained in Sele District, Sorong Regency, in the western part of West Papua, on 6 September, and was formally arrested on 11 September on the grounds of being investigated for subversion (makar) at Papua Regional Police (POLDA) in Jayapura, Papua.

Mr Wenda is a spokesperson for the military wing of the West Papua liberation movement, the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB, or Tentara Pembebasan Nasional Papua Barat, formerly known as TPN/OPM).

However, despite working for peace, Mr Wenda is now being held pending being charged with undermining the Security of the State (subversion).

Australian-based spokesperson for the WPPWG (West Papua Peace Working Group, formerly known as West Papua Peace Task Force), Ms Paula Makabory (footnote 1) , described the arrest of Mr Wenda as a serious set-back to finding a peaceful resolution to the continuing troubles in West Papua. She said: ‘Mr Wenda has been working for the past three years with the West Papua Peace Working group to bring about a cessation of hostilities between the forces of the Republic of Indonesian and the indigenous people of West Papua’.

Paula Makabory said: ‘To this end, the West Papua Peace Working Group and Jonah Wenda have facilitated the formation of unified West Papuan political and civil society umbrella organisation called the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL).

’The WPNCL, which includes representatives of the TPN-PB, has expressly sought to commence peaceful dialogue with the Indonesian President and the Republic of Indonesian over issues of the political control and administration of West Papua as a remedy to the impacts of Indonesian Government policies on the West Papuan people.”

”Jonah Wenda has been acting for past two years as ‘media spokesperson’ for the TPN-PB in West Papua. In this role he has meet with the TPN-PB military commanders throughout West Papua to gain support for peaceful negotiation with the Republic of Indonesia. Jonah Wenda plays an important part of the movement to unite West Papuan resistance groups and support them to pursue a strategy of non-violent political change. “

The TPN-PB (or as the TPN/OPM) has been fighting a war of succession in West Papua since Indonesia took control of the territory in 1963.

West Papuan grievances include, disputing the way the territory was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia during the 1960s, traditional land rights and resource rights and control; widespread killings, human rights violations and abuse by the security forces; unregulated migration; impacts of large scale resource exploitation particularly mining, logging and plantation establishment; economic disadvantage through a development and civil policy that does not benefit indigenous land owners; environmental destruction; political repression, institutional racism and discrimination.

After East Timor achieved independence in 1999 and the conflict in Aceh was resolved through an international peace accord in 2005, West Papua remains Indonesia’s largest unresolved territorial dispute.

For further information, please contact:

Paula Makabory on +61(0)402547517;

Steve Waramory/Defense Lawyer on (+62) (0)85254831555;

Chris Warinussy/Defense Lawyer on (+62) (0) 81344694500

Photo available at

PO Box 1805
Byron Bay, NSW 2481
Tel Matthew Jamieson +61 (0) 418291998

1/ Paula Makabory is a board member of Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights and is spokesperson for West Papua Peace Working Group and the Human Rights organisation Els-ham West Papua.


Australian Foreign Affairs Minister poor stance on West Papuan Human Rights

February 26, 2009

The following work is by Monaro Chrisitan Forum and is taken from report published by US based ETAN.

Stephen Smith defends Australia’s historic human rights stance in West Papua
The Dept. Foreign Affairs and Trade has written to the Monaro Christian Forum to defend the track record of this and previous governments in speaking up for human rights in West Papua.

A letter signed by about 50 Monaro Christians, community members and with the support of members of the Sydney Muslim community has asked for evidence that the Rudd Government is dealing with the ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua more effectively than previous governments have.

The letter ( Letter to Stephen Smith) outlines that not only are the Indonesian military (TNI & Kopassus) still involved in well documented atrocities such as beatings, kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of Papuans, but the officers involved are still being protected from prosecution for their actions. The letter asked for evidence that this government was strengthening its stance in ways such as involving the international community as recommended by a Joint Select Committee on Treaties in 2007.

The response from Mr Smith’s office( Letter from Smith office) was extremely disappointing for the following reasons.

1) As with the Howard Government and in denial of the UN findings and numerous reports from human rights organisations, abuses are referred to only as “alleged” abuses. It appears that the current diplomatic stance is still to downplay the abuses publicly. A 2003 report by the United Nations into abuses by the Indonesian military in East Timor found that this diplomatic policy was instrumental in allowing Indonesia to continue with these abuses for so many decades.

2) The letter defends the actions of previous Governments with the words: “The Australian Government has a strong track record of representations in urging the Indonesian Government to investigate alleged human rights abuses”. Presumably this track record includes the original turning of a blind eye when Indonesia falsified the 1969 “Act of Free Choice” where 1000 West Papuans were forced at gunpoint to vote for their country to be put under Indonesian control. It would also include the Keating Government’s efforts to confiscate footage of the 1993 Santa Cruz massacre by Indonesian troops before it could be shown internationally. More recently it would include the Howard Government’s suppression of Defence Intelligence showing the Indonesian “Scorched Earth” policy for the massive slaughter of East Timorese when they voted for independence in the 1999 Referendum, and Mr Howard’s efforts to draft legislation that would stop legitimate West Papuan refugees from being given asylum in Australia.

It would have been a little heartening if the DFAT letter had at least recognised past failures, but unfortunately it seems this Government has chosen to close ranks with the very Government that was voted out for its weak and selfish stance on such issues. It’s understandable – new oil deals in West Papua provide Australia and the US with the opportunity to postpone our energy crises for just a little longer if we can keep Indonesia happy with us. Not only this, but retired General Prabowo Subianto, a former head of the Kopassus (Indonesia’s Gestapo) responsible for a range of massacres is rapidly rising in power and appears to be a serious contender for the upcoming Presidential elections in July.

I don’t envy Mr Rudd’s position. To stay in charge and get the support necessary for important changes Governments need to make popular decisions. It would be very unpopular if we were to lose important trade deals or peaceful diplomatic relations with Indonesia. Unpopular, but to us Christians aren’t there worse things? It does seems that to gain this part of the world we are being asked to lose our souls. I wonder how much this matters to Australian Christians; how many of us are prepared to put the welfare of our Papuan brothers ahead of our own pockets?

Sabar Iwanggin Arrest: Original IPAHR Reports

January 29, 2009

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
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
tel +61(0) 418291998

Eleven West Papuan Political Prisoners found guilty of subversion in Manokwari, West Papua

January 9, 2009

Eleven West Papuan Political Prisoners  found guilty of subversion in Manokwari, West Papua

Eleven West Papuans have been found guilty of subversion (makar) and sentenced to terms of three and three-and-a-half years by the district court in Manokwari. The verdicts were announced on 8 January 2009.

One of the Papuans, Jack Wanggai was sentenced to three-and-a-half years while the other ten were sentenced to three years.

The men were arrested in March last year in connection with two incidents which took place on 3 March and on 13 March and have been in detention since then.

According to a report from Jan Christian Warinussy of the Manokwari-based legal aid institute, LP3BH, received today, the severity of the sentences came as a huge surprise.

The panel of judges led by Elsa Mutiara Napitupulu said that the  men had posed a threat to the integrity of the Indonesian state in seeking the separation of West Papua. The judgement  said that there had been an increase in separatist activities in the recent past throughout the whole of West Papua  which were  being organised from abroad. It was therefore necessary to ensure strict enforcement of the law so as to halt such activities from spreading and to ensure that no more victims would fall.

She also said that activities such as had been undertaken by the accused were disrupting the work of development which should be supported by the whole of society, bearing in mind the efforts currently being undertaken in accordance with the Special Autonomy Law to bring development to the remote villages and kampungs. Were such activities to be allowed to continue, she went on,  it would damage the consolidation of the ethnic culture of the Papuan people. It was therefore necessary for the court to deal with these matters by passing the heaviest possible sentences on the accused.

In their message, the legal counsel of the convicted Papuans said that these considerations were in contradiction with the social-political and social-cultural situation in West Papua and specifically in Manokwari.

An appeal against the sentence will be filed on 9 January.

[Details of the incidents in March will be posted shortly. TAPOL]

Further information postied by Tapol

Details of 3 and 13 March 2008 incidents in Manokwari

On 8 January 2009, a court in Manokwari passed down verdicts of guilty against eleven Papuans, one of whom was sentenced to three and a half years while the others received sentences of three years each.

The incidents in which they were involved occurred on 3 and 13 March 2008 when the following took place.

1. Monday, 3 March 2008:
At about 10.30 am, a demonstration took place near the Sports Stadium on Ciliwwung Street, Manokwari, organised by the West Papua National Authority, attended by around 200 people. One of the speakers was Jack Wanggai, the spokesperson of the WPNA in Manokwari.

The local chief of police, Drs Yakobus Marjuki came to the venue of the demonstration and told those attending not to display separatist attributes such as the Morning Star flag. But one person in the crowd was carrying a Morning Star flag which was tied to a pole that he was holding which he then placed in front of the policeman. Another demonstrator, Frans Kareth grabbed hold of the flag pole with the intention of handing it over to the police officer but he was immediately arrested by one of the policemen and taken to the police station for interrogation. On the following day, Frans Kareth was declared to be in the custody of the Manokwari police.

II. Thursday, 13 March 2008
At about 10am, a group of people most of whom were students from Gerakan Ekekutif Mahasiswa (BEM) in Manokwari gathered together. There were about 300 of them from state and private universities. They conducted a peaceful demonstration in front of the office of the local assembly (DPRD), having marched along Yos Sudarso Street and  causing congestion so that the traffic was diverted to another road. The demonstration was heavily guarded by the Manokwari police under the command of the police chief, Drs Yakobus Marjuki.

In the beginning, the action proceeded peacefully until about 2pm when one of the students read out a statement entitled: OTSUS PAPUA SOLUSI ATAU MALAPETAKA? (Is Special Autonomy for Papua the Solution or a Disaster?)

Then Jack Wanggai, spokesperson of the WPNA, arrived. He gave a speech which was responded to with great enthusiasm by all those present. Then all of a sudden, nine young men held up Morning Star flags and started jumping up and down and they were immediately rounded up  by some of the policemen present. Jack Wanggai was also arrested with the others because the police said that they had been watching his movements since the demonstration on 3 March. Altogether 13 people were arrested on this occasion.

Three were later released for lack of evidence, but ten were held in custody, including Jack Wanggai. The arrest of one of the persons, 16-year-old Silas Carlos Teves May was suspended.

In the following days, Elimelek Kaiway was arrested bringing the number of detainees to ten, plus Jack Wanggai, for a total of eleven people.

The police then said that the detainees would be charged under Articles 102, 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code, the articles which were used to convict Philip Karma and Yusak Pakage (who were sentenced to ten and fifteen years each in 2004).

Received from:

Yan Christian Warinussy, lawyer