Former Papuan detainee sick – relatives suspect long-term consequences of torture during custody

Mispo Gwijangge, an internally displaced Papuan from the Nduga Regency who was criminalised for the alleged involvement in the killing of multiple road workers in Nduga on 4 December 2018 is currently sick. His relatives assume that the sudden drop of his physical condition is related to multiple acts of torture which Mispo Gwijangge experienced during custody at the Jayawijaya District police station. He was arbitrarily arrested in Wamena on 10 May 2019 and charged with Article 340 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on premeditated murder. The trial was then moved to Jakarta. Mispo Gwijangge was unconditionally released after a forensic examination of his teeth showed that he was only 16 years old. The trial revealed multiple procedural violations in the police investigation, including, torture and the prevention of access to lawyers and translators during police interrogations.

A local human rights defender and a journalist visited Miso Gwijangge (see photo on top, source: Jubi), who is staying with a relative in the Jayawijaya regency. Like many other internally displaced persons, he is unable to return to his village due to ongoing military operations against the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) in multiple regencies across the central highlands. According to the relatives, Mispo Gwijangge became sick in August 2020, shortly after his return from Jakarta. Police officers repeatedly beat Mispo Gwijangge during his detention in Wamena. “The only body part I protected during the beating was my face – I just allowed them to beat the other parts of my body”, said Mispo Gwinjagge during the interview.

Mispo Gwijangge’s physical condition is weak, but he refuses to get medical treatment at the general hospital in Wamena. The torture and 333 days of arbitrary detention have left Mispo Gwijangge traumatized. He does not want to go to Wamena because he fears further repressive acts by members of the police. Mispo’s relatives are treating him with traditional medicine. Human rights defenders want to organise medical treatment for him in the Papuas largest city Jayapura, if Mispo Gwijangge and his relatives agree.