Report – By the Pacific Media Centre news desk
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has protested over allegations of the torture of a priest in Pania, in the Indonesian-ruled region of West Papua earlier this month.
The 55-year-old priest. Yunus Gobai, was arrested and beaten by five police officers after randomly shouting in front of a police station.
Rev Yunus was injured from the beating but police failed to provide any medical assistance for him.
Based on AHRC’s interview with a local independent activist who documented the case, Rev Gobai is the former leader of KINGMI Maranatha Nabire Church.
On 2 March 2013 at around 8.30 in the morning, according to an AHRC statement, Rev Yunus went into the front yard of Enarotali Sub-District police station and shouted several random words while running around the yard. According to the local activist, Rev. Yunus did this because he has been suffering from epilepsy and mental problems.
Responding to Rev Yunus’s shoutings, five police officers approached and started beating him in the front yard of the police station. The officers repeatedly beat Rev Yunus with their fists until his nose as well as lips were bleeding and his head along with his arm were wounded. The police later detained him in the police station.
The police asked Rev Yunus’s family for some money as a condition for his release. A member of the Paniai Legislative Council (DPRD Paniai) helped the family and paid IDR 1,000,000 (approximately US$100) to the police so that Rev Yunus was later released on the same day.
The AHRC strongly suspects the money asked by the police was illegal. It cannot be an official bail fee as Rev. Yunus has not been charged with any crime.
The latest information received by the AHRC reveals that Rev Yunus’s injuries have been treated and he is recovering at the moment.
“However, it was his family who are forced to bear the cost of the medical treatment as the police have failed to take any measures to treat Rev Yunus’s injuries despite the fact that it was their officers who were responsible for it,” said an AHRC statement.