Update on criminalisation of Victor Yeimo – Lawyers demand immediate release

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Lawyers representing Papuan activist Victor Yeimo have called upon the police to release their client immediately. Mr Yeimo has been detained at the Police Mobile Brigade headquarters (see photo, source Jubi) for more than 60 days. According to Article 29 (1) b, of Law No. 8/1981 on the Criminal Procedure Code, suspects can only be detained longer than 60 days if their criminal charges carry a maximum penalty of nine years imprisonment. Victor Yeimo was charged with multiple criminal charges, including Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason. While Article 106 on treason authorises the courts to sentence a person to life imprisonment or a maximum of twenty years imprisonment, most charges against Victor Yeimo carry maximum penalties of less than nine years. The police recently extended the period of detention for another 30 days.

Criminal investigators of the Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua) submitted Victor Yeimo’s case files to the public prosecutor in Jayapura on 8 June 2021 and have since been waiting for further instructions to complete the case files.

Victor Yeimo was arrested on 9 May 2021. The police believe he played a significant role in organising and leading 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. Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns regarding the obstruction of his lawyers and the detention conditions at the Brimob headquarters in Jayapura.