Police officer beats Papuan man at public hospital in Karubaga, Tolikara Regency

The Papuan media outlet ‘Suara Papua’ has documented another case of torture which occurred on 14 March 2018 in the public hospital of Karubaga Town, in the Papuan regency of Tolikara. A member of the police mobile brigade (Brimob) allegedly tortured Yuten Gurik, a Papuan suffering a mental disorder, which is characterized by uncontrolled emotional outbursts. According to family members, the people in Karubaga tolerated his behavior and knew about Yuten Gurik’s state of mental disorder because the outbursts had repeatedly occurred in public spaces.

Around 12.00 pm, Yuten Gurik sustained an emotional outburst in front of the church congregation building Yerusalem Karubaga, near the Jurageme bridge. Thereupon, family members brought him to Karubaga General Hospital. Shortly thereafter, a mobile brigade police officer entered the hospital and saw Yuten Gurik. The officers perceived his behavior as a disturbance of public order and handcuffed him. As Yuten loudly protested against being handcuffed, the police officer repeatedly struck him with a rubber baton.

Upon seeing this, Yuten’s relative asked the officer to stop the beating, explaining that Yuten was suffering a mental disorder and that it would be enough to handcuff him. Thereupon, the officer threatened Yuten’s relative to beat him as well. Several eye witnesses  tried to prevent the police officer from beating Yuten, but they were forced to back-up because the other police officers instantly threatened to use his weapon if needed. Yuten Gurik sustained severe bruises on his back and buttocks as a result of the torture and was transferred to a mental health facility in Jayapura.