Lawyers express concern regarding health condition of political detainees

Lawyers are concerned about the deteriorating health condition of several Papuan political detainees in Jakarta and Jayapura. A group of lawyers in Jakarta stated in a public interview with Papuan media outlet Suara Papua that the health condition of pro-independence activist Surya Anta Ginting and five Papuan students have been deteriorating since last week. The six political detainees are in custody at the Rutan Salemba Detention facility in Jakarta (Rutan Salemba Jakarta). According to the lawyers, some of the detainees suffer from a sore throat and typhus.

The lawyers expressed particular concern about political activist Surya Anta Ginting, whose health condition has severely deteriorated since 26 November 2019. According to the lawyers, Mr. Ginting suffers fever attacks, stomach ache, chills and has difficulties to breathe due to the lack of air circulation inside the detention cells. One of the Papuan detainees had requested medical treatment at the detention facility. The lawyers claimed that the doctor talked to the detainee but did not conduct a physical examination of the patient. It was also critised that basic services and commodities at the detention facility are allegedly provided only against payment.

Just last week, lawyers in Jayapura complained about conditions at the detention facility at the Papua Regional Police Headquarters. The number of detained suspects exceeds the capacities of the detention facility, forcing the political detainees and other suspects to sleep in shifts. The lawyers fear that the lack of sleep over a longer period of time may have serious impact on the detainees’ health condition. They demanded the public prosecution to transfer the thirteen political detainees to the Abepura detention facility, which has the capacity to accommodate a larger number of detainees. The students were arrested on 23 September 2019, as police forces cracked down on a student protest in Jayapura’s suburb of Waena.