Update on criminalisation of Victor Yeimo – Lawyers report police to Ombudsman office for disregarding Victor Yeimo’s rights during detention

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Victor Yeimo’s lawyers have reported the Papuan police for alleged maladministration to the Ombudsman’s office. According to the lawyers, the police disregarded their client's right to communicate with legal counsel and his family and the right to meet clergy during detention at the mobile police headquarters in Kotaraja, Jayapura (see photo, source: Jubi). Human rights observers had already expressed concerns over various criminal procedure violations in mid-May 2021. The lawyers called upon the Ombudsman’s office to ensure that the police will ensure the enjoyment of the rights of suspects during detention, including those of Victor Yeimo.

Before this report, his lawyers had already taken various initiatives to improve Victor Yeimo's situation in detention. They requested a transfer to a different facility. They also discussed with the criminal investigators and other police superiors. They submitted information to the Papua Representative Office of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM Perwakilan Papua) about the alleged procedural violation. However, none of those initiatives resulted in an improvement of Victor Yeimo’s detention conditions.

Background

Victor Yeimo is the international spokesperson of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a movement organisation that promotes the right to self-determination through peaceful means. He also plays a significant role in forming a petition against the prolongation of Papua’s special autonomy status. Victor Yeimo was arrested on 9 May 2021 in Jayapura and accused of organising a series of protests against the racial discrimination of ethnic Papuans and for self-determination in 23 towns across West Papua and 17 cities in Indonesia between 19 August and 30 September 2019.

Members of the Nemangkawi task force arrested Victor Yeimo on 9 May 2021. They charged him with multiple criminal charges, including Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason, Article 110 on criminal conspiracy and Article 160 on incitement.