Third Update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua

This article provides an overview on trials related to Papua-wide anti-racism protests between late August and late September 2019 as well as the subsequent wave of criminalisation against human rights defenders and political activists. The International Coalition for Papua summarised earlier stages of the legal proceedings and detentions in previous articles (first update, second update). The following article covers recent developments in relation to the anti-racism riots between mid-December 2019 and 22 January 2020.

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Update on killing of Govt contractors in Nduga Regency - Trial against defendant launched in Jakarta

More than one year has passed since West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) members killed a group of road workers in the Papuan highland regency of Nduga. On 6 January 2019, a trial against Mispo Gwijangge was launched at the Central Jakarta District Court. The defendant originates from Suwenem Village in the Yigi District, Nduga Regency, where he helped his parents by working in the garden. Police officers arrested Mispo Gwijangge and two other suspects at the Sinakma Market in the regency of Jayawijaya on 10 May 2019, after he fled from his village to the highland town of Wamena. He was detained and charged with article 340 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with article 55 (1) KUHP on involvement in premeditated murder, punishable with a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment or capital punishment. The public prosecution also charged him with a number of other criminal charges, among them articles 338 KUHP on homicide, 351 on ill-treatment and 333 on deprivation of someone's liberty. The other two suspects were released without charges. Mispo Gwijangge denies any involvement in the killing of PT Istaka employees on 4 December 2018.

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Constitutional Court rejects request to review law on formation of Irian Barat Province

On 12 April 2019, a group of Papuan civil society representatives, the Papuan Tabernacle Church (KINGMI Papua) and the Papuan Women Solidarity (SPP) officially registered an application for the annulment of certain sections in No. 12 of the year 1969 on the formation of the autonomy province Irian Barat (nowadays consisting of the provinces Papua and Papua Barat) to the Indonesian Constitutional Court. The applicants argued that those parts of the law referring to the implementation of the Act of Free Choice (PEPERA) contradict the human rights principles as stipulated in the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. The annulment of these sections would have a significant meaning for the people of Papua to rectify the history of Papua integration into the Republic of Indonesia.

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Police officers open fire at house in Yahukimo Regency – Two residents sustain bullet injuries

The online media outlets ‘Suara Papua’ and 'Noken Wene’ have reported another shooting in Dekai, the largest town in the regency of Yahukimo. According to the media outlets, members of the Police Mobile Brigade Special Unit (Brimob) and the Yahukimo District Police approached the victim’s house on 20 December 2019 around 6.10 pm in multiple vehicles, as Fetrik Nepsan and Lefinus Saram were sitting on the porch in front of the house. Relatives claimed that the police officers immediately shot both men, without giving instructions or releasing warning shots.

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West Papua Human Rights Update January 2020

The last quarter of 2019 was dominated by the aftermath of the Papua-wide anti-racism riots that took place throughout August and September 2019 and the exacerbation of the armed conflict in the central highlands. The trials in relation to the anti-racism riots and the subsequent political prosecutions during the previous quarter have been launched. Some lawyers attempted to raise criminal procedure violations in pre-trial hearings – none of the pre-trial hearings were successful. The statistics clearly reflect the continuing prosecution of political activists, as Government authorities keep on restricting civil society space for peaceful protest, freedom of assembly, media freedom and freedom of expression in West Papua. While the number of arrests have significantly decreased compared to the third quarter, the figure is still considerably high and the main reason is that the 1st December, which many indigenous Papuans regard as the ‘Papuan Independence Day’, was marked by a high number of political arrests and treason charges against indigenous Papuans participating in the commemoration.

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Military members alleged of executing Papuan driver in Nduga Regency

The armed conflict in Nduga has resulted in another civilian fatality. According to information received, military members shot dead a driver named Hendrik Lokbere, on 20 December 2019 around 7.15 pm, as he was driving his pick-up truck on Yosema Road towards the bordering area between the regencies of Nduga and Asmath, where Mr Lokbere wanted to pick up a group of indigenous Papuans who had been working in their gardens. Armed clashes between Indonesian military forces (TNI) and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) were happening ealier that day. The incident was witnessed by one of Mr Lokbere’s relatives, who was with him inside the car.

 

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Four students in Ternate expelled from university for participating in peaceful demonstration for West Papua

The director of Khairun University expelled four students for participating in a peaceful demonstration in commemoration of the ‘Papuan Independence Day’ in front of the Muhammadiyah University Campus in Ternate, Maluku Utara Province, on 2 December 2019. Police officers forcefully dispersed the demonstration and arrested the students Arbi M Nur, Fahyudi Kabir, Ikra S Alkatiri and Fahrul Ahmad Abdullah along with 6 other protesters. The protesters were subsequently detained for 24 hours at the Ternate District Police Station. According to the students, the officers dragged and repeatedly beat the protesters during arrest. After the release, the Ternate district police sent a letter to the directorate of Khairun University, stating that the students had participated in activities which ‘must be categorised as treasonous acts (makar)’. Although the police letter is not a legally binding document, the University expelled the students for their involvement in the peaceful protest.

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Second update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua

Three months after Papua-wide anti-racism protests and riots, a series of arrests and trials occurred in various Indonesian cities. This article provides an overview on trials related to the protests and the subsequent wave of criminalisation against human rights defenders and political activists. ICP summarised earlier stages of the legal proceedings and detentions in a previous article. The following article covers recent developments regarding the anti-racism riots between late November and mid-December 2019.

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Security force operation in Intan Jaya Regency during Christmas – indigenous villagers flee their homes

A further security force operation was launched in the highland regency of Intan Jaya. A few days before Christmas, police and military helicopters deployed additional military units to Intan Jaya (see intro image), after armed clashes between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) on 17 December 2019 had resulted in the death of two TNI members. Human rights defenders and news outlets reported that indigenous people from the villages Wayasiga, Bulapa, Kulapa, Yoparu, Wabui, Ugimba and Ndugusiga have fled their homes as a result of the armed clashes and the heavy military presence. The total number of IDPs is currently not known. According to information received, the military members searched houses and occupied the facilities of the Catholic Primary School SD YPPK Titigi to accommodate soldiers.

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Update on Treason Trial against Polish citizen – Supreme court raises sentence to 7 years

On 14 January 2019, the District Court in Wamena launched the trial against Polish citizen Jakub Fabian Skrzypsk. Skrzypski was charged with the articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason because he had met with members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB). The police claimed that he intended to sell weapons to the TPN-PB.  The panel of judges found Skrzypski guilty and sentenced him to five years imprisonment. Jakub Skrzypski’s team of lawyers and the public prosecutor had both filed an appeal against the verdict to the Supreme Court in May 2019. The Supreme Court has now ruled that Skrzypski’s imprisonment sentence shall be raised to seven years.

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More Articles...

  1. Police officer ill-treats journalist in Dekai, Yahukimo Regency
  2. KOMNAS HAM observes deterioration of human rights situation throughout 2019 as Govt institutions block the settlement of human rights violations
  3. Special force members intimidate human rights defender in Nabire
  4. Military operation in Lanny Jaya claims lives of two indigenous villagers and causes internal displacement
  5. Recent cyber-attacks aimed to prevent publication of new report on Papuan political prisoners
  6. Commemoration of ‘Papuan Independence Day’ - 115 Papuans reportedly arrested, at least 31 charged with treason
  7. Lawyers express concern regarding health condition of political detainees
  8. Update on trials and detentions after racist assaults on Papuan students and subsequent anti-racism riots in West Papua
  9. Human Rights Watch is calling for Indonesia to release peaceful Papua activists
  10. New discourse on settlement of past human rights violations in Indonesia – Papuans hope for Justice
  11. Military members kill indigenous Papuan and injure three others in Tolikara Regency
  12. 'Papuans Behind Bars' publishes new report on political prisoners, treason charges and lack of judicial transparency in political prisoner cases
  13. IPAC publishes new report - Numbers matter, The 2020 census and conflict in Papua
  14. 1,200 Papuan students return to Meepago area - Police arrests 19 protesters during peaceful assembly in Nabire
  15. 2019 Press Freedom Index in Papua Province: lowest in Indonesia
  16. Human rights defenders find grave in Nduga Regency – Evidence points to involvement of Indonesian military members
  17. Anti-racism riot in Wamena affects education and medical services in the regencies Jayawijaya and Yahukimo
  18. Update on Biak police detention suicide case – Victim’s family demand transparency and justice
  19. Update: Crackdown on student protest in Jayapura – four killed victims confirmed
  20. Mysterious death of student in Enarotali – Police excludes murder as cause of death
  21. Amnesty International - Papua visit shows President Widodo still neglecting human rights
  22. Update: Riot in Wamena – Chronology of events and consequences of the riot
  23. Appointment of Prabowo as Defense Minister met with criticism by human rights activists
  24. Update Anti-Racism Protests: 93 protestors and activists charged within the past two months
  25. Update Nduga Regency: Security force operation still ongoing – death toll estimated at 189
  26. West Papua conflict exacerbates after racist assaults against Papuan students - An analysis
  27. Human Rights Update West Papua - 3rd Quarter 2019
  28. President Jokowi willing to meet with representatives of independence movement
  29. Amnesty International deeply concerned about increasing use of “makar” against Papuans - Open Letter to President Joko Widodo
  30. Ecumenical Forum of Papuan Churches further appeal to President Joko Widodo

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