Update on criminalisation of KNPB activists in Merauke – Kristian Yandum dies during police detention

Kristian Yandum (see photo, source: Jubi), one of 13 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) who had been arrested in December 2020, has passed away at the Bunda Pengharapan Hospital in Merauke on 27 February 2021. The news about his death came only three weeks after his lawyers had expressed concerns regarding police officers’ negligent behaviour. They didn’t process Kristian Yandum’s request for medical attention during detention at the Merauke District Police Headquarters for almost one month. The ICP has not yet received any verified information about the cause of death.

Emanuel Gobay, the director of the Papuan Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua), who represents the activists at court, declared that Kristian Yandum’s death has already been reported to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). The Merauke Police Chief claimed in an interview with Jubi that Kristian Yandum passed away because of a congenital illness. Human rights observers are concerned that Yandum died due to multiple injuries sustained from the torture during arrest and detention. Previously, the activists and their lawyer had filed a pre-trial against the Merauke Police chief. They accused multiple police officers of torturing them during arrest and detention.