Military member kills indigenous Papuan in Yapen Island

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Local human rights defenders have reported a further extra-judicial killing case from the regency Kepulauan Yapen. A member of the Kodim 1709 Yapen Waropen military unit named Frits Raunsai killed 42-years-old Yohanis Bisai in his house. The incident occurred in Anotaurai Village (Cengkeh Street), in the Yapen Selatan District. On 21 May 2018 around 00.30 am, the perpetrator came to Yohanis Bisai’s house, punched him and subsequently stabbed the victim with his bayonett knife to the forehead, the chest and twice in the back. Yohanis Bisai was rushed to the intensive care unit of the General Hospital in Serui where he died due to the severe injuries which he sustained from the knife attack.

Prior to the incident, a group of men from the nearby Mariadei Village had come to Frits Raunsai’s property, allegedly throwing stones at the house. The reason for the mob attack is currently unclear. However, the perpetrator saw the victim sitting with two friends approximately 70 meters away from his house. He approached Yohanis Bisai and instantly attacked him, while accusing him of being responsible for the mob attack. According to the report, Yohanis’ friends witnessed the attack but were afraid to intervene. Yohanis was able to escape to the house of a relative who instantly drove him to the Serui General Hospital. Members of the military police arrested and detained the perpetrator after the attack.

The spokesman of the XVII Cenderawasih military command, Colonel Muhammad Aidi, confirmed the incident in a public interview. According to Aidi, the case will be investigated by the military law enforcement unit DENPOM Biak and submitted to a military court. The Papuan news outlets CEPOS Online and published articles about the incident.

Indonesian military courts often fail to produce sentences which are proportionate to the severity of the committed offense. Most military trials are opened for media coverage, but it remains un-transparent as to whether perpetrators serve their senten­ces or not. A recent military court trial in March 2018 against a military member who had opened fire at a group of civilians at the Pumako Port in Timika is a representative example for the failures in the Indonesian military court system. The incident resulted in the death of a Papuan fisherman and severe bullet injuries of two other victims The perpetrator, Chief Brigadier Yusuf Salasar, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment. The investigation took more than six months, before the case was finally submitted to the military court. The case was not processed at a military court in Timika, but transferred to the distant city of Jayapura which made it difficult for witnesses and the victim’s relatives to attend the trial.