Violation of law enforcement procedures still common in West Papua

The ‘Association of Human Rights Lawyers for Papua’ (PAHAM Papua) reported several cases in which the local police in West Papua allegedly violated law enforcement procedures during arrest and detention of suspects. According to information from PAHAM Papua, police conducted arrests without warrant, applied excessive use of force during arrest, prevented family members to meet with suspects during detention and obstructed lawyers during consultation visits at the detention facility.

Arbitrary arrest and detention of Titus Kwalik, Julianus Dekme and Polce Tsugumol
The local police in Timika unlawfully arrested Titus Kwalik, Julianus Dekme and Polce Tsugumol in the night from 9 to 10 June 2018 at multiple locations in Timika City. Police officers did not show any warrants during the arrests. An arrest information letter was sent to the families two days after the arrest was conducted. Titus Kwalik and Julianus Dekme were subjected to beatings during the arrests.

The police raised charges against the three defendants for violation of article 1, paragraph (1) of Emergency Law No 12/1951 about the unauthorized ownership or use of firearms. The criminal investigation took three months before the case was filed to the public prosecution in Timika. Despite the considerable long investigation period of three months, the police was not able to present any witnesses for the criminal offense.  The trial was finally scheduled to begin on 24 August 2018. The second trial session had to be canceled because the police did not have any witnesses to be examined at court. Moreover, police officers continue to prevent the relatives from visiting Titus Kwalik at the Brimob 32 Timika detention facility, regardless of the public prosecution’s approval regarding the visits (see intro image).

Agustinus Yolemal arbitrarily arrested
Agustinus YolemalOn 23 August 2018 at 08.00 pm, members of the local police fully armed and with balaclavas came to Agustinus Yolemal’s house in Kwamki Narama, Timika. The officers forced the door open, searched the house and arrested Agustinus Yolemal (42), his sister-in-law, his wife and his six-year-old son without showing a warrant. They seized three laptops, two mobile phones, a watch, a motorcycle and a car (type Toyota Avanza). While Mr. Yolemal’s wife, sister and son were released after the interrogation, Agustinus Yolemal remained in custody at the Miru police station in Timika (see image on the right). The police charged Agustinus Yolemal with article 54A paragraph (2) of the Information and Electronic Transaction Law No 19/2016, on the dissemination of hate speech or hostility against individuals or groups with a certain ethnicity or religion. He remains in custody until the publishing date of this article.

Obstruction of lawyers during provision of legal counsil to Carlos Magal
Simon C MagalSimon Carlos Magal (29) was arrested in Timika on 1 September 2018. Magal was transferred to Jayapura and detanied at the Jayapura harbor police station.  The arrest was related to the arrest of Jakub Fabian Skrzypski (39), a Polish citizen who had been arrested in Jayawijaya regeceny on 26 August 2018 and is currently in custody. Police alleges Skrzypski  was involved in a weapon trade with members of the Papuan armed independence movement TPN-OPM. According to PAHAM Papua, officers had found mobile phone communications between Simon Magal and Jakub Skrzypski.

PAHAM Papua human rights lawyers, who wanted to visit Mr. Magal, established communication with the criminal investigation unit of the Papua Regional Police (POLDA Papua), which granted permission to meet with Mr. Magal at the Jayappura harbor police station. On 5 September 2018, the two lawyers came to the police station to provide legal consultation to Simon Magal at the meeting room inside the police facility, which is commonly used for this purpose. However, the police officers argued that the suspect was not allowed to leave his detention cell, hence the lawyers had to speak with Simon Magal through the cell door (see image to this paragraph).