Merauke Police accused of hampering access to medical treatment during detention

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The Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) has expressed concerns over the health condition of political activist Kristian Yandum. Kristian Yandum was arrested along with 13 other members of the West Papua National Commission (KNPB) on 13 December 2020 at the KNPB Almasuh branch office in Kaiburse Village, Merauke Regency. The drop in his health condition may be related to the torture he and the other activists experienced during arrest and police detention.


Kristian Yandum already became sick in early January 2021. On 13 January 2021, LBH Papua filed an official letter to the Merauke police, requesting medical treatment for Kristian Yandum. According to Emanuel Gobay, LBH Papua Director, the Merauke district police only processed the request letter on 8 February, while Kristian Yandum’s health condition was continuously deteriorating. On 11 February, Kristian Yandums' family informed Gobay that Kristian received medical treatment at the Navy Hospital in Merauke. Relatives stated that his condition was fragile and doctors had to supply him with oxygen (see image, source: Jubi).

According to Gobay, Kristian Yandum’s health condition would not be critical if the Merauke Police Chief and the head of the criminal investigation unit had processed the request letter earlier. He urged the police chief to meet his obligation to provide health care to all defendants, as stipulated under Article 58 of Law No. 8/1981 about Criminal Procedure.

The KNPB members are currently awaiting trial. They have been charged with treason. In January 2021, the 13 activists filed a pre-trial against the Merauke Police Chief. According to the activists and their lawyers, the police had violated multiple criminal procedure provisions during arrest and detention, including the lack of warrants and use of torture. On 25 January 2020, the Merauke District Court judge ruled that the Merauke Police Chief and his men had acted following the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP).