The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the detention of two activists by the Sausapor Sub-District Police in Papua. The activists were taken from their house to the police station and were being interrogated in relation to an investigation they conducted regarding the death of villagers in Tambrauw Regency due to the lack of medical treatment. It was reported that the two activists as well as others who were engaged in the investigation were previously followed by police officers.
According to the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Desk of Protestant Church in Tanah Papua (GKI-TP), Yohanis Mambrasar and his father, Hans Mambrasar, were taken from their house at Werur Village on 8 April 2013 at 12.20pm by two police officers wearing civilian clothes. The two officers who were identified as Darius Burdam and Sucipto from Sausapor Sub-District Police took the two activists on a black L200 pickup truck to Sausapor Sub-District police where they were interrogated in two separate rooms.
Yohanis was interrogated in the room of the Chief of Sausapor Sub-District Police by the Chief himself and another officer from Sorong District Police. He was questioned on the investigation he conducted with his father and other activists regarding the death of Papuans in Tambrauw regency during November 2012 to March 2013, due to the lack of medical treatment. According to Yohanis and information gathered by other activists, the villagers were suffering from various sicknesses including diarrhoea and malnutrition and the lack of medical treatment resulted in the death of the villagers.
The two police officers asked Yohanis regarding organisations in Papua which are against the Indonesian government as well as the name of organisations he is working with. Yohanis was later released without any charge on the same day at 5pm.
While Yohanis was being questioned in the Chief Police’s room, his father Hans Mambrasar, was interrogated in a police barrack at Sausaport Sub-District Police by four officers wearing civilian clothes. As in Yohanis’s case, Hans was also being questioned by the police on the death of Papuans in Tambrauw regency which he reported along with Yohanis and other activists. Questions being asked by the police included the name of media whom Hans was in touch with in exposing the death in Tambrauw as well as the name of non-governmental organisation to which he is working for. Hans, who is also a priest, was further asked by the police on the source of the funding which provides him with financial assistance in conducting his charitable activities. Hans was released by the police without any charge on the same day at 7pm.
Previously on 3 and 4 April 2013, Yohanis and Hans Mambrasar as well as other activists involved in the investigation were followed by police officers. It was reported that the officers repeatedly told the activists that ‘there should be solid data – do you think you can stand against us?’
The Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code grants the police with the authorities to arrest, detain and summon individuals for the purpose of an investigation of a crime. However, such authorities may be performed in compliance with requirements and procedures provided by law and should not be in contrary with international human rights standards.
In Papua, unfortunately, those mentioned authorities are often conducted arbitrarily. Instead of being exercised for the sake of crime investigation, arrest and detention are performed by law enforcement officials in many instances as a means to spread threat as well as to intimidate individuals engaged with political activities. An online resource concerning political prisoners in Papua, Papuans Behind Bars, recorded that there are currently at least 40 Papuans being detained for political reasons and there were at least 132 Papuans detained in the past. The AHRC also documented last month that two teenagers in Paniai were arrested and detained on an allegation for being involved in pro-independence movement. In the same month, six civilians were arrested and detained for two days on a similar baseless allegation.
Please write to the listed authorities below asking them to intervene in this matter. Please urge them to provide both Hans and Yohanis adequate rehabilitation for the arbitrary arrest and to halt any intimidation and threats towards human rights activists in Papua.
The AHRC is writing separately to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.
INDONESIA: Activists are detained by the police for reporting deaths due to lack of medical treatment in Tambrauw, Papua
Name of victims: Yohanis Mambrasar; Hans Mambrasar
Alleged perpetrators: Officers of Sausapor Sub-District Police, three of which were identified as Darius Burdam, Sucipto and the Chief of Sausapor Sub-District Police
Date of incident: 8 April 2013
Place of incident: Sausapor, Papua
I am writing to express my concern regarding the detention and intimidation of two human rights activists in Papua who reported the deaths of villagers in Tambrauw district, Papua, due to lack of medical treatment in the area. I have been informed that Yohanis Mambrasar and his father, Hans Mambrasar, were taken from their home at Werur Village on 8 April 2013 at 12.20pm by two police officers wearing civilian clothes. The two officers identified as Darius Burdam and Sucipto took Yohanis and Hans in a black pickup truck to Sausapor Sub-District Police station for interrogation.
Yohanis and Hans were questioned by the police in two separate rooms. Yohanis was interrogated in the office of the Chief of Sausapor Sub-District Police by the Chief himself and another officer from Sorong District Police. Hans was interrogated in a police barrack by four officers; all were wearing civilian clothes. Although they were interrogated separately, both Yohanis and Hans were asked by the police on an investigation they conducted with other activists concerning the deaths of villagers due to lack of medical treatment in Tambrauw District, Papua. The investigation revealed that the villagers were suffering from various sicknesses including diarrhoea and malnutrition during November 2012 to March 2013 yet could not have their diseases treated.
The police asked Yohanis and Hans about the name of non-governmental organisation they are working for. To Hans, the police also asked questions regarding the name of media whom they were in touch with in exposing the death in Tambrauw whils, to Yohanis, the name of organisations in the area which are opposing the Indonesian government. Hans was further asked by the police regarding his source of fund which provides him with financial assistance in conducting his charitable activities. After being questioned for hours, Yohanis was released on the same day at 5pm whereas Hans was released at 7pm. Both were released without any charge. On 3 and 4 April 2013, it was reported that Yohanis, Hans and other activists engaged in the investigation on the death in Tambrauw were followed by police officers who repeatedly said ‘there should be solid data – do you think you can stand against us?’
I am aware that the police are granted the authority by the law to arrest, detain and summon individuals for the purpose of crime investigation. However, I am concerned that such authority is often performed arbitrarily by the police and even being used as a mean of threats and intimidation towards individuals in Papua whose political view and activists are deemed to be opposing the government of Indonesia. I have received the reports in the past, for instance, on the arrest, detention, trial and criminal punishment of individuals such as Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni merely for expressing their political view on supporting the independence of Papua.
I wish to remind you that the situation of activists in Papua has been a subject of concern of the then UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani, as she expressed in her report on Indonesia in 2008. During the UN UPR session in May last year, the Indonesian government itself has accepted the recommendations given by various countries in enhancing the protection of human rights defenders in its territory, including Papua.
Considering these above, I am urging you to halt the arbitrary arrest, detention, trial and punishment of individuals advocating human rights in Papua. In accordance with its purpose, police’s authority to deprive one’s liberty should be conducted only for the protection of society and not to be used as a means to spread threats and intimidation. Yohanis and Hans Mambrasar as well as other individuals whose rights and liberty have been arbitrarily deprived by the state, therefore, should be provided with adequate rehabilitation. Allegation on the intimidation and threat need to be effectively and impartially investigated that those who are responsible for it should be brought to justice.
I look forward for your adequate and positive response.
—————-PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Tel: +62 21 386 3777, 350 3088
Fax: + 62 21 344 2223, 3483 4759
2. Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889
Fax: +62 21 525 3095
3. Gen. Timur Pradopo
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110
Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 7220 669
4. Ir. Gen. Drs. Tito Karnavian
Chief of Papua Regional Police
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi No. 8
Tel: +62967 531 014, 533 396
Fax: +62967 533 763
5. Ms. Siti Nur Laila
Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission
Jl. Latuharhary No.4-B
Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)