Police officers arrest Papuan human rights activist and relatives in Mimika Regency – five allegedly beaten during custody

According to the Papuan online media outlet ‘Suara Papua’, police officers in Timika arrested five indigenous Papuans on 7 April 2020. Around 3.00 pm, Papuan human rights activist Ema Natkime (see intro image, Source: Suara Papua) and five of her relatives named Yohanis Wamang, Roni Wamang, Nangain Magai, Emarain Marai and Imelda Magai (still a minor) were driving to the village of Jayanti, Iwaka District, as police officers stopped their car. When the officers found basic food supplies in large quantities inside the car, they suspected the six passengers were supplying food to members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB). Subsequently, the police officers arrested the six passengers and brought them to the Kuala Kencana Sub-District police station.

Ema Natkime claimed that the Police officers allegedly beat the detainees – except Imelda Magai – during police interrogation in order to force a confession. All detainees were released on 8 April 2020, at 5.00 pm. However, human rights defenders are concerned that the police might press charges against Ema Natkime, the founder of the local human rights organisation ‘Yahamak’. The Mimika District Police Chief, I Gusti Gede Era Adhinata, stated in an interview with the media outlet Okezone that Ema Natkime allegedly confessed she had supplied TPN PB members with 35 bullets of ammunition between 2016 and 2017. According to Adhinata, the police interrogation revealed that the food supplies in the car were supposed to be delivered to Hengky Wanmang, a TPN PB commander operating in the Mimika Regency.