Police officers collectively ill-treat man and journalist during political debate in Nabire Regency

Human Rights defenders of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (KINGMI Papua) have reported another case of ill-treatment from Nabire city. Mando Mote, a 29-years-old civil servant from Deiyai regency, was collectively beaten up by police officers as he tried to access the front yard of a guest house in Nabire, where the public election commission (KPU) had organized a political debate between politicians running for candidacy as regent of Deiyai Regency. The Papuan journalist Albert Youw (27 years) was attacked by several police officers in an attempt to prevent him from covering the ill-treatment. Albert Youw recorded the incident with his mobile phone camera.

Watch recording of the incident here

On 5 May 2018 at 9:00 am, journalist Albert Amoye Youw, who works for the independent Papuan media outlet ‘JUBI’, entered the yard in front of the Nabire guest house, where he was invited to cover a political debate between candidates for the position as regent of Deiyai Regency in the upcoming local elections. The event was organised by the Public Election Commission (KPU). Instead of making the debate publicly accessible, the KPU had limited access to journalists and persons with invitation letters, hence the entrance gate was guarded by members of the police mobile brigade (BRIMOB), the internal discipline and security unit (PROVOS) and the crowd control unit (DALMAS) of Nabire district police.

Mando Mote, together with a group of people, wanted to watch the debate, so they walked into the yard. Police officers did not manage to prevent all group Pemukulan MM 2members from entering the yard, so Mando Mote and several other men kept walking towards the guest house. He had almost reached the building as a police officer jumped at him and slapped his head from behind. Subsequently, a dozen police officers surrounded Mando Mote, some of them trying to calm down the situation, while others attacked him with kicks and punches. Officer Suryanto (member of Provos unit of Nabire district police) punched Mando Mote with his fist to the face (see image on the right). Another police officer kicked him heavy boots. Mando Mote sustained a bleeding injury on his left temple and bruises on the right knee as a result of the ill-treatment.

As officer Suryanto saw that Albert Youw was recording the ill-treatment with his mobile phone,  he approached him and threatened him to surrender the phone. Albert Youw replied that he was a journalist and refused to give his the mobile phone to the officer. Subsequently, officer Suryanto  called some of his men and gave the order to take Alberth Youw’s mobile phone by force. One of the officers grabbed Albert Youw by the neck while another officer took his glasses, threw them to the ground and stomped on them. The officers finally succeeded to take Albert’s mobile away. As the vice chairman of the Deiyai regional parliament saw this, he approached the officers and insisted to return the mobile phone to Albert Youw. Several officers allegedly insulted Albert Youw, calling him ‘shit journalist’ (‘wartawan tai’) and ‘stupid journalist’ (‘wartawan bodoh’).

VISUM MM 1After the incident, the head of Nabire district police, Mr Sonny Sanjaya, asked Albert Youw not to publish the incident and suggested to settle the police misconduct outside the law. An officer of the police intelligence unit gave Albert Youw an envelope with 1.5 million rupiahs (approximately 97 Euros. Albert Youw accepted the money as a compensation for his glasses and stated that he will  publish the incident and report it to the ‘Indonesian Alliance of Independent Journalists” (AJI). Mando Mote received medical treatment at the general hospital (see image on the left).

Watch recording of the incident here