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6 found dead after Indonesian crackdown on Papuan ‘independence’ congress

Papuan detainees

Papuan detainees held after the Indonesian military crackdown at the Third Papuan People's Congress. Photo: Jakarta Globe

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Banjir Ambarita, Markus Junianto Sihaloho and Ezra Sihite in Jajapura

Six people have been found dead a day after Indonesian security forces fired shots while breaking up a pro-independence rally in Papua, a human rights advocate reported.

The bodies of two of the dead, identified as university student Matias Maidepa and Papua Land Defenders member Yacop Sabonsaba, were found on Wednesday behind the military headquarters in Padang Bulan, Abepura.

“On October 20, 2011, four civilians were also found dead around the venue of the Papua Congress, but their identities remain unknown,” said Matias Murib, deputy chairman of the Papua office of the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

Human rights sources later identified the others as: Melkias Kadepa, Martinus Siep (Petapa security guard), Tanepi Kobepa plus one unnamed confirmed dead

Matias said some 300 people were detained by the Papua police, though many of them had nothing to do with the demonstration held in a field in Padang Bulan.

“Many among the hundreds of people detained were not involved in the congress, and only happened to by passing by the area when they were arrested,” he said.

He added that he had received reports that hundreds of armed soldiers and police were out in force on the streets of Manokwari, some 740 km west of Jayapura, the Papua capital.

He cited an unconfirmed report that a man identified as Martinus Yeimo had been killed by a member of the police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) in Enarotali, a town in Paniai district.

Repressive measures
Matias said the commission regretted the repressive measures employed by security personnel against the pro-independence demonstrators.

“The Papua Komnas HAM will conduct a thorough investigation and seek mediation between the people of Papua and the central government in Jakarta, to meet the standard of justice that has been sought through the congress and other Papuan forums,” he said.

A Papua police spokesman, Senior Commander Wachyono, said the provincial police had already released the roughly 300 people they had detained “because it was not proved that they were plotting against the state”.

Wachyono said Selfius Bobby, a social media activist and organiser of the Papua Congress, had been arrested bringing the number of accused over the rally to six.

Police have said all six accused would face charges of violating articles 110, 106 and 160 of the Criminal Code.

Besides Selfius, the other accused are Forkorus Yoboisembut, chairman of the Papuan Customary Council and declared president of the Democratic Republic of Papua at the congress, Edison Gladius Waromi, his prime minister, August Makbrawen Sananay Kraar, Dominikus Sorabut and Gat Wenda.

The chairman of the House Commission on Defence, Mahfudz Siddiq, said the security forces “should have been firmer” and refused to issue a permit for the congress in the first place.

‘Prosperity strategy’
He also said the government would deal with the unrest in Papua by implementing a so-called “prosperity strategy” rather than a security approach.

Meanwhile, the New York-based Human Rights Watch urged Indonesia to treat all detainees from the incident humanely and ensure respect for their right to due process, including giving them access to legal representation.

“Security forces shouldn’t use unnecessary force in quelling a peaceful demonstration,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy director of Asia at HRW.

West Papua media freedom special report

Source: Jakarta Globe