Papuan pastor and villager ill-treated in Kaimana Regency

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The ’Papuan Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy' (ELSHAM Papua) published a new case report about the ill-treatment of a pastor and a villager in Kaimana Regency on their website. According to ELSHAM, a government official beat Rev. Edison Giay in a heated dispute over his testimonial report in relation to a boat accident. Ronald Kirihio, a villager who days later accompanied Rev. Giay to the Kaimana district police station, was also beaten by several police officers. As Ronald tried to defend himself he was detained and criminally charged.

Rev. Edison Giay witnessed a boat accident in Etna Bay on the 19 January 2018 which cost the lives of four Yamor villagers. On 6 February 2018 at 8.00 am, Rev. Edison Giay went to the house of Jamsul Runtuk, the head of Yamor District, to discuss his testimonial report, which he intended to submit to the regent of Kaimana. The heated discussion quickly turned into a dispute when Jamsul Runtuk accused Rev. Giay of having made a false testimony. The head of district became angry and punched the pastor on the left temple and the chest. Thereupon, Rev. Giay left Jamsul Runtuk’s house, went to the hospital for a medical check up and later reported the ill-treatment to the local police.

On 12 February 2018, the pastor together with Ronald Kirihio went to the Kaimana district police station where Rev. Giay wanted to take a confirmation letter (STPL), as a formal requirement of the criminal complaint procedure in Indonesia. When they arrived at the police station, the vice chief of Kaimana district police asked Rev. Giay to talk in private about the dispute with Jamsul Runtuk, so Ronald Kirihio decided to wait at the criminal investigation department until the meeting was over. Suddenly, a police officer approached Ronald Kirihio and started to punch him. As Ronald Kirihio defended himself, other police officers interfered, collectively beating and kicking him to the ground. Ronald sustained bruises on the right cheek and the head. He was then taken into custody and charged for violation of the Emergency Law, which is punishable with a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment. Ronald Kirihio’s relatives fear for the safety of their son during detention and expressed concerns regarding the planned transfer of Ronald to a detention facility in Fak-Fak regency.