SM Said, Jayapura — The Nemangkawi Cyber Ops Task Force have arrested the owner of a Facebook account in the name of Manuel Metemko for allegedly spreading fake information or hoaxes and inciting hatred or ethnic, religious, racial and inter-group (SARA) hostility between individuals or social groups.
Metemko is the chairperson of Merauke district branch of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) which is a wing of and is affiliated with the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM).
“On Wednesday June 9, 2021 at 22.35 West Indonesia time the Nemangkawi Cyber Ops Task Force arrested the owner of a Facebook account [in the name of] Manuel Metemko in the name of EKM (38) when it was suspected that the suspect was at their home on Jalan Perikanan Darat, Kelapa V sub-district, Merauke district, Merauke regency, Papua”, said Nemangkawi Task Force public relations head Senior Commissioner M Iqbal Al-Qudusy in Jakarta on Thursday June 10.
Al-Qudusy said that the Cyber Ops Task Force has already taken the suspect to the Merauke district police for a forensic digital examination of the evidence which was seized.
“Don’t make hoaxes or untrue news, provoke the public with reports [which incite] hatred and result in animosity in the land of Papua, the public wants to live in peace”, said Al-Qudusy.
Meanwhile there were several postings which are alleged to have broken the law, including among others, sharing a photo which is not in accordance with the original incident with the caption, “Photo: Ilaga Airport, Puncak regency, Papua, was successfully burnt down by the TPNPB, Thursday (03/06/2021)”.
Then, “Otsus [special autonomy] has failed totally, the people oppose it and demand a referendum, thousands of troops have been sent, there are casualties everywhere, Catholic religious figures have been terrorised by OTK [unidentified individuals], rumors of terrorists are thriving in the land of Papua. The question is, who is the breeder of the humanitarian crimes and terrorism in Indonesia and Papua?”.
According to Al-Qudusy there are still many other postings which are deemed to create social unrest and because the person concerned is the KNPB Merauke chairperson police are taking legal action against the owner of the Facebook account.
The perpetrator is alleged to have violated Article 45A Paragraph (2) in conjunction with Article 28 Paragraph (2) of Law Number 19/2016 on Revisions to Law Number 11/2008. (sms)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Manuel Metemko Ketua Sayap Politik OPM-KNPB Merauke Ditangkap Satgas Nemangkawi”.]
With their plight largely ignored by the public, 63 Indonesians detained on treason charges have turned to the United Nations for help, hoping they could be saved from the threat posed by the COVID-19 disease in the country’s overcrowded prisons.
The prisoners made joint appeals to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and three UN special rapporteurs on Wednesday, helped along by Australian and Indonesian lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Veronica Koman. The human rights lawyers argued that the 56 indigenous Papuans, five indigenous Moluccans, one native Batak and one Polish national were arbitrarily and unlawfully detained in violation of the country’s international obligations.
“These urgent appeals have been made given the imminent threat to the prisoners’ lives from being detained in overcrowded prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic […] Their detention is now not only unlawful, but life-threatening. All 63 prisoners should be immediately and unconditionally released,” Robinson said in a statement on Thursday.
The appeal was made following the government’s plan to grant early release or parole to 50,000 eligible prisoners and juvenile inmates as a means of preventing the spread of the infectious disease in correctional facilities. Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly previously said that those eligible for release include 15,442 drug convicts who have already served five to 10 years, 300 graft inmates aged 60 years and above, 1,457 special crimes convicts with chronic diseases and 53 foreign prisoners who have served at least two-thirds of their sentences.
It remains unclear whether the 63 prisoners in question are eligible for early release, but one ministry official said on Thursday that only those who fulfilled the requirements set out in Law and Human Rights Ministery Regulation No. 10/2020 would be considered. The regulation stipulates that convicts are eligible for early release unless they have committed one of several types of crimes, including crimes against national security. Most of the petitioning prisoners were arrested for their involvement in a series of protests against racial abuse last year, which stoked tensions between Papuan rebels and the government. The country’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua have long been dealing with a disorganized separatist movement, which the Indonesian government routinely blames as being the actor behind various cases of violent unrest in the restive region.
Indonesia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, Hasan Kleib, said he had not received any information about the appeals the lawyers claimed to have submitted. “We have not seen the copy of the letters. We are trying to find out and ask the relevant parties at the UN Human Rights Council directly,” Hasan told The Jakarta Post in a short message on Thursday. Indonesia was elected to the Human Rights Council in October last year. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is mandated by the council to investigate alleged cases of arbitrary detention, but only with the consent of the states concerned.
On April 1, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged countries to reduce the population of overcrowded prisons to avoid an explosive spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus – which causes COVID-19 – in closed and choked settings. Indonesia currently houses 268,919 inmates in 524 prisons, roughly double its maximum capacity, according to Law and Human Rights Ministry data from February.
Bachelet urged states to “release all those detained without a lawful basis, including those held in violation of human rights obligations”. Her spokesman, Rupert Colville, later stressed that nations should also release “political prisoners and those detained for critical, dissenting views”. All 63 political prisoners in question have been charged with treason under Article 106 and/or Article 110 of Indonesia’s Criminal Code, which can carry a sentence of up to 20 years. Seven of them have been convicted while the others are still on trial. “The activities for which they have been detained range from simply carrying or displaying the West Papuan or Moluccan national [separatist] flags, to participation in peaceful protests and being members of political organizations that support self-determination: all internationally protected activities,” said the human rights lawyers who organized the appeal. According Article 6, Paragraph 4 of Government Regulation No. 77/2007, the design of a regional logo or banner must not have any resemblance to that of a banned organization or separatist movement. Veronika was previously involved in an attempt to hand over letters to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during his visit to Australia in February. The letters reportedly included details of 57 Papuan political prisoners as well as 243 civilians who have died in Nduga, Papua, since December 2018. The document was dismissed by Coordinating Legal, Political and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD. “So far, we have not received any response, except for the minister saying that the data was ‘probably just trash’. We urge the UN and the Indonesian government to take this matter very seriously now that lives are at stake,” Veronica said. The European Parliament has also called for the Polish man’s transfer back to his home country. Papua has restricted entry to the province by sea and air to stem the spread of COVID-19. As of Thursday, Papua has confirmed 80 cases and six fatalities, while West Papua has recorded five infections and one death. The country’s official tally is currently at 5,516 confirmed cases with 469 deaths.
1) Papuan activist, Victor Yeimo, to face multiple charges including treason
News Desk May 11, 2021 3:24 pm
KNPB’s flag – Jubi
Jayapura, Jubi – Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Mathius D Fakhiri said that Victor Yeimo, the international spokesperson of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) arrested by the police on Sunday, May 9, 2021, would face multiple charges including treason charges.
Other than charged with treason, Yeimo was also accused of violating articles on flags and state symbols, provoking to fight against the authorities, using common force to commit violence, arson, and theft
“I make sure [Victor Yeimo] is a suspect. We arrested Yeimo on Sunday based on a lot of reports. First, we detained him for allegedly provoking the 2019 riots,” Fakhiri said on Monday. In August 2019, riots broke out in Papua and West Papua as local people and students protested against the racial abuse of Papuan students in East Java.
“For that, we will charge him of crimes against national security,” said Fakhiri.
He said Yeimo violated Article 106 jo. 82 and Article 110 of Criminal Code (treason), articles in Law No.24/2009 on flags, languages, state symbols, and national anthem, Article 160 of Criminal Code (incitement to fight against the authorities), Article 187 of Criminal Code (arson), Article 365 of Criminal Code (theft), Article 170 Paragraph 1 of Criminal Code (use common force to commit violence), and Article 2 of Law No.12/1961 on the possession of batting or stabbing weapon.
Fakhiri said his party was investigating all police reports on Yeimo including the alleged violation against Law No. 19/2016 on electronic information and transaction. “Yeimo also [allegedly] distributed propaganda. We will probe the matter further,” he said.
On Sunday, Yeimo was transferred from the Papua Police headquarters to the Papua Mobile Brigade headquarters in Kotaraja. “The police will investigate him there. I have asked the investigators to treat the suspect well. We put forward the presumption of innocence,” he said.
2) Police need time to crush Papuan separatists: senior official
9 hours ago Jakarta (ANTARA) – Indonesian police will need time to hunt down Papuan separatist terrorists owing to their knowledge of the terrains where they operate and hide, a top official has said.
“At the moment, we need to be patient to follow what has become policies,” chief of the National Police’s Security Intelligence Agency, Coms.Gen. Paulus Waterpauw, told the press here on Tuesday.
The Indonesian government formally designated armed Papuan groups, also known as “KKB”, as “terrorists” on April 29, 2021 and attributed the decision to their acts of terror and crimes against civilians.
Labeling the groups as terrorists would help the government track those backing and funding them, Waterpauw explained.
The National Police’s counterterrorism detachment Densus 88 could be tasked with probing such links, he added.
It is rather strange that the armed terrorists are in possession of expensive firearms and ammunition, he pointed out.
They can also purchase other necessities though they are jobless, he said, adding that the authorities need to find out and break the chain of their financial sources.
Waterpauw also emphasized that the terrorism label is only meant for those committing crimes, and not for members of Papuan communities.
Over the past few years, armed Papuan groups have employed hit-and-run tactics against Indonesian security personnel and mounted acts of terror against civilians in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak to instill fear among the people.
The recent targets of such attacks have included construction workers, motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers, teachers, students, street food vendors, and even, civilian aircraft.
On December 2, 2018, a group of armed Papuan rebels brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya engaged in the construction of the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi sub-district, Nduga district.
The same day, armed attackers also killed a soldier, identified as Handoko, and injured two other security personnel, Sugeng and Wahyu.
Such acts of violence have continued this year. On January 6, 2021, at least 10 armed separatist terrorists vandalized and torched a Quest Kodiak aircraft belonging to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) on the Pagamba village airstrip.
On February 8, 2021, a 32-year-old man was shot at close range in Bilogai village, Sugapa sub-district.
The victim, identified as RNR, sustained gunshot wounds on the face and right shoulder and was taken to the Timika Public Hospital in Mimika district on February 9, 2021.
In a separate incident on February 9, six armed Papuans fatally stabbed a motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver.
another motorcycle taxi driver was shot dead by an unknown gunman in Papua the same day.
On April 8, 2021, several armed Papuan rebels opened fire at a kiosk in Julukoma village, Beoga sub-district, Puncak district, killing a Beoga public elementary school teacher, identified as Oktovianus Rayo.
After killing Rayo, the armed attackers torched three classrooms at the Beoga public senior high school.
On April 9, 2021, armed separatists fatally shot another teacher, Yonatan Randen, on the chest.
Two days later, nine classrooms at the Beoga public junior high school were set ablaze by an armed group.
Barely four days later, Ali Mom, a student of the Ilaga public senior high school in Beoga sub-district, was brutally killed by armed attackers.
On April 25, 2021, Papuan separatists operating in Beoga ambushed State Intelligence Agency (Papua) Chief I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha and several security personnel during their visit to Dambet village. Nugraha died in the attack. (INE)
A former Indonesian military commander has condemned the formal labelling of the West Papuan resistance TPN/OPN as “terrorists”, saying that the Papuan problem was complex and could not be solved by armed force alone.
Among other critics of the tagging are the Papua provincial Governor, Lukas Enembe and a Papuan legal researcher.
General Gatot Nurmantyo, former commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), said during a live interview on TV-One Indonesia that it was wrong to label the TPN/OPM (National Liberation Army/Free Papua Movement) as a terrorist group.
He said that Jakarta had tried to use a military solution since the former Dutch colony of Irian Jaya was “integrated” into Indonesia in 1969 without bringing about any change.
“Papua cannot be solved by military operations,” he said.
General Nurmantyo said military operations would not solve the root cause of the conflict in Papua.
He regretted the decision made by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration on May 5.
“I am saddened to hear that troops are leaving for Papua to fight. It’s a picture that I think makes me sad,” said the general.
Sad for two reasons He said he felt sad for two reasons:
First, Papua was one of the Indonesian provinces and the youngest province of the Unitary State of the Republic.
Second, based on Government Regulation in Lieu of Acts (PERPU) 59 of 1959, Papua was still under civilian rule. So, the military actions should be mainly territorial, which supported by intelligence and prepared combat operations.
The retired general said that Papuans “are our own people”, so the burden could not be imposed only on the military and police. Executive government and other government agencies should comprehend the real background of the movements and be involved to resolve the prolonged problem in Papua.
“Territorial operations are operations to win the hearts and minds of the people, because what we face is our own people. Do not expect to solve a condition in Papua only with military operations,” said General Nurmantyo.
“I remind you, it will not work, no matter how great it will be. Because the problem is not just that small,” he said.
General Nurmantyo, who has been a former military district commander in Jayapura and Merauke said that Indonesia already had experience in Aceh where the conflict had not been resolved by military operations.
As the PERPU 59 of 1959 was still valid, the governor was the single highest authority. The military was not allowed to carry out operations without coordinating with the local government.
Communication with government General Nurmantyo said communication with the local government was carried out and measured operations launched.
“Lest the people become victims! How come, in a situation like this we are waging an open war? Seriously!
“Meanwhile, the situation is still very civil. The leader is the governor or local government.
“This is a state regulation. This is different from when Papua would be designated as a military operation,” said General Nurmantyo.
According to a media release received by Asia Pacific Report. Papua Governor Lukas Enembe and the provincial government also objected to the terrorist label given to the KKB (“armed criminal group”), as the Indonesian state refers to the TPNPB (West Papua National Liberation Army).
Key points Two of the seven points made in the media release said:
“Terrorism is a concept that has always been debated in legal and political spheres, thus the designation of the KKB as a terrorist group needs to be reviewed carefully and ensure the objectivity of the state in granting this status, and
“The Papua provincial government pleaded with the central government and the Indonesian Parliament to conduct a re-assessment of the observation of the labeling of KKB as terrorist. We are of the opinion that the assessment must be comprehensive by taking into account the social, economic and legal impacts on Papuans in general.”
Papua Governor Lukas Enembe … critical of the OPM tagging in a media statement. Image: APR screenshot
A West Papuan legal researcher, who declined to be named, said that the Indonesian government misused the term “terrorism” to undermine the basic human rights of indigenous West Papuans.
So far, the term terrorism had no precise definition and so has no legal definition, said the researcher.
Many of the United Nations member states did not support UN resolution 3034 (XXVII) because it contained a certain degree of disconnection to other international instruments, particularly human rights laws.
Disagreements among the states remained regarding the use of terrorism, especially the exclusion of different categories of terrorism.
Right to self-determination In particular the exception of the liberation movement groups. Particularly contentious which was the affirmation in 1972 of “the inalienable right to self-determination and independence of all peoples under colonial and racist regimes and other forms of alien domination”.
“The legitimacy of their struggle, in particular, the struggle of national liberation movements by the principles and purposes is represented in the UN charter. Therefore, designating West Papua Liberation Army as a terrorist group by the Indonesian government considered outside the category of the terrorist act,” said the researcher.
“Any definition of terrorism must also, accommodate reasonable claims to political implications, particularly against repressive regimes such as Indonesia towards West Papuans.
“The act of self-determination by Papuans cannot be considered terrorism at all.”
The international community should condemn any regime that is repressive and terrorist acts by colonial, racist and alien regimes in denying peoples their legitimate right to self-determination, independence, and other human rights.
A coherent legal definition of terrorism might help “confine the unilateral misuse” of the term by the national government such as Indonesia against TPNPB/OPM, said the researcher.
The other side of the story was war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, oppression, torture and intimidation by the state.
These elements were present in West Papua and they qualified as the act of terrorists and were therefore universally recognised as crimes against humanity and criminals, the researcher said.
The researcher added: “The West Papua army or TPN/OPM are not terrorist groups. They are the victims of terrorism”
This report and the translations have been compiled by an Asia Pacific Report correspondent.
Mongabay Series: Indonesian Forests, Indonesian Palm Oil
In June 2019, photographer Albertus Vembrianto spent three weeks on assignment in the southern lowlands of Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province, for Mongabay and The Gecko Project. He traveled through the villages of Indigenous Papuans whose land had been taken over by palm oil conglomerates.
A decade ago, the Indonesian government promoted investment by plantation firms in this region with a vision of turning it into a major agribusiness hub. Today, Indonesia is the world’s top producer of palm oil, but many Papuans have lost their land and are struggling to acclimatize to a very new world, with their traditional food sources dwindling.
Albertus’s photos were featured in an investigation into the operations of one of the these companies, the Korindo Group, recently published by The Gecko Project and Mongabay in collaboration with the Korean Center for Investigative Journalism-Newstapa and 101 East, Al Jazeera’s Asia-Pacific current affairs program.
In this photo essay, Albertus, who is Indonesian, writes about his experience reporting in Papua.
This article was co-published with The Gecko Project.
Paskalina called to me by waving her hand and asked me to come to her house in a whisper.
It was my third day staying at the family bivouac of an Auyu tribal chief in Boven Digoel, a heavily forested district in southern Papua. Indigenous Papuans like Paskalina usually stay in these temporary shelters when hunting in the forest and harvesting sago, their staple starch that grows wild in groves. In the past four years, however, the area around this bivouac had been converted into an oil palm plantation.
Paskalina, who was 38, didn’t want her story to offend the chief of the clan, one of the traditional elders, who had decided to sell the forest to a palm oil company. But for the past year, after the forest was cleared, she had often felt dizzy and taken vitamins. “The doctor said I am stressed,” she told me. “I have to take medicine.”
Paskalina never knew when, exactly, the forest had been sold. Women are not involved in such decisions. She only knows when it was demolished and replaced with a sea of oil palms.
To make a living, Paskalina sells products that she grows in her garden. To get to the market, she has to take the dirt road through an oil palm plantation, the hot sun blazing now the forest is gone. Sometimes her child takes her by motorcycle, but more often she walks. The trip takes her two hours each way.
The journey brings to mind her parents and ancestors. “I sometimes cry on the road, feeling guilty to my parents and ancestors for not being able to protect the forest,” she said.
Paskalina’s experience was similar to that of most Indigenous Papuan women I met during my three weeks in the oil palm lands of Boven Digoel and neighboring Merauke district. Without their forest, these women have suffered.
In another village, Angela, 29, was working as a laborer harvesting palm fruits with her husband. His wages were not enough to cover their household needs, so she worked on top of her domestic roles at home.
The Papuans here once held sway over the land, but now toil on it as laborers. Often they take on debt to buy food from the company, with the money deducted from their wages. That often leaves them without enough money to cover their basic necessities for the month.
The loss of the forest has made their traditional food sources disappear. The companies bring in food that comes from factories, through the city. They are slowly getting used to the instant pattern of manufactured food. Some people told me that food from the city is the best food. But they never know what the ingredients are. Some of the children whose family land was turned into plantations suffer from malnutrition.
These photos were chosen to tell the experience of Indigenous Papuan women who are now living according to new customs; customs that came with the oil palm companies. Their lives are more vulnerable, and they have little choice…
In Southeast Asia, there are active armed conflicts in various countries across the region. The Mindanao conflict in the Philippines remains a challenge as several Moro Muslim insurgent groups continue to defy the state. In Thailand, ethnic Malay Muslim insurgents have been fighting against the government for decades. The Rohingya conflict in Myanmar has resulted in the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.
The clash between the Indonesian government and West Papuan nationalists has emerged as one of the deadliest conflicts in Southeast Asia. Indonesia claimed West Papua in 1969 after a group of 1,000 locals voted in favor of joining Indonesia. The west half of the island of New Guinea became the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua. The local population doesn’t recognize the decision and has fought to upend it.
Over 50 years after the takeover, the contested region remains a hotbed of terrorism and militancy. Indonesia has been unable to crush the demand for West Papuan independence. Over the years, Jakarta has used armed militias and heavy-handed police efforts to subdue dissident nationalism.
Indonesia continues to refuse any third party mediation of the conflict, rejecting “interference” in internal matters. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it may further weaken outside oversight and resolution structures, causing the conflict to escalate.
The growing fragility of Jakarta’s control in West Papua
In West Papua, the question of where sovereignty lies remains contested. The longstanding demand for independence and self-rule has challenged the authenticity of Jakarta’s rule over the West Papuan territories.
Over the years, Indonesia’s central government has offered special autonomy to the region that allows West Papuans to exercise more administrative control than residents of other provinces. However, there is a widespread view among the provinces’ population that the special autonomy status is aimed at managing the region rather than offering political space needed for real reforms.
West Papuans complain that funds allocated for the region’s development hardly reach the region. For Papuan students, the quest for higher education is both a privilege and a curse as it comes with a price. Papuan college students have recently faced a wave of racially-motivated hate crimes and increasing police surveillance.
“As Indonesia deliberately tries to create ethnic conflict in West Papua with militia, I must stress that for West Papuans our enemy is not the Indonesian people,” he recently said. “Our enemy is only the system of colonization. We will not be provoked. Our peaceful struggle is for a referendum.”
Currently, there is no international body monitoring the conflict and the emergence of COVID-19 makes any future prospects more difficult still. The growing grievances of West Papuans with Indonesian rule and mounting human rights abuses make the issue a ticking time bomb for Jakarta.
Who will benefit from the COVID-19 threat?
The Free Papua Movement (FPM), as the independence movement is broadly known, has said it would welcome dialogue with Indonesia’s central government if third party mediations are part of the process. However, Jakarta considers any calls for independence to be terrorism and it is unlikely that the Indonesian government will negotiate or allow mediation. In the coming weeks, Jakarta will probably deploy more security forces and tighten its political and administrative control of the disputed territories.
In the past, Jakarta has denied any international request to intervene in West Papua. Last year, Indonesia won a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, but this only means that Jakarta is better positioned to sideline any criticism of its West Papua policy.
The independence of East Timor has also taught Indonesia that external intervention should be opposed at all costs. To this end, a complete ban on media coverage in West Papua has prevented the world from seeing the true scale of the crisis. Indonesia has evaded criticism from the international community in part because foreign journalists are banned from entering or reporting from West Papua. Most of the news that comes out of the region is approved by government regulators.
As the world grapples with the pandemic, Indonesia is likely to clamp down harder on West Papua. The spread of COVID-19 into West Papua will further alienate the West Papuans from Indonesia. “The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic appears likely to stall any peaceful resolution, with conflict in West Papua continuing at various flashpoints. Public health issues will take priority, and could distract attention from the West Papuan cause for some time. Despite this, West Papuan claims are unlikely to be abandoned,” notes a recent report published by the Lowy Institute.
Does Jakarta need to change its West Papua policy?
Indonesia’s government needs to carry out serious reforms if it is determined to keep West Papua a part of Indonesia. To forge sustainable peace in the disputed region, Indonesia should work on addressing the indigenous people’s demands. The mismanagement of development funds, rampant underdevelopment and strict policing of the region remain key issues. A partnership between government and civil society is necessary to bridge the existing trust deficit.
Indonesia cannot successfully govern the West Papua region unless it has the support of the local people. West Papua’s large young population base represents a big opportunity for Indonesia as winning their support can go a long way towards addressing Jakarta’s concerns. Offering better education opportunities and curbing the growing racism against Papuan students would be steps in the right direction for Jakarta. Unless the community’s core needs are fulfilled, West Papua’s demand for independence will not abate.
A panel of judges at the Central Jakarta District Court have found six activists guilty of committing treasonous acts for holding a protest in support of Papuan independence in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta in last August.
The bench handed prison sentences to the activists – Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua) spokesperson Surya Anta and students Charles Kossay, Deno Tabuni, Isay Wenda, Ambrosius Mulait and Arina Elopere – during a virtual verdict hearing on Friday afternoon.
All activists were handed a nine-month prison sentence, except for Isay who was punished with eight months’ imprisonment.
Judges said during the session that all defendants had violated Article 110 in relation to Article 106 of the Criminal Code Law (KUHP) for conspiring to promote secession.
“All defendants are found guilty of a collective act of treason,” presiding judge Agustinus Setyo Wahyu read the verdict during the session.
The sentence is lower than the one year and five months in prison demanded by prosecutors.
Arina was found guilty of waving the banned Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag, which has come to symbolize the Papuan independence movement. She also danced and sang a song with the lyrics, “We are not red and white [the colors of the Indonesian flag],” during the protest on Aug. 28 last year.
The bench also found Dano guilty of treason in the form of a speech at the same protest, where he demanded that the government immediately hold a Papuan independence referendum.
The remaining activists were found guilty of attending the protest and voicing their opinions over demanding the independence referendum for Papuans.
The defendants’ lawyer, Oky Wiratama, said she was disappointed with the verdicts and questioned the process.
“[The verdict stated that] treasonous acts have pros and cons in addition to containing political substance, so the treason charges can be misused by the government to oppress its citizens.”
“If the judges were in doubt, I think the best way to resolve the case would have been to not impose a prison sentence for the defendants. They should be free of charges,” Oky told The Jakarta Post after the trial.
She added her team would deliberate the case for seven days before deciding whether to appeal.
Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid echoed Oky, saying the treason charges might have been misused by the government against individuals who should never have been arrested or detained in the first place.
“The six who were sentenced today did nothing but attend a peaceful protest, enjoying their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. It is appalling that they had been in detention since August 2019, awaiting a verdict on such blatantly abusive charges,” Usman said in a statement.
He urged the government to immediately release the activists.
Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly were rights protected under international law and the Constitution, Usman added.
“No one should ever have to suffer this treatment for peacefully attending a protest, and it is high time that Indonesia stops criminalizing Papuans under treason provisions.”
End police power to punish everything under the sun
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta / Tue, October 15, 2019 / 09:02 am
A policeman’s abuse of a motorcycle taxi driver who was mistakenly about to enter the palace grounds in Bogor sparked public anger. Although the traffic policeman who beat and kicked the Gojek driver apologized after the video of the abuse went viral on Oct. 5, the outburst perfectly reflects growing anxiety about Indonesia moving closer to becoming a police state. More than 20 years ago, people demanded an end to the military’s “dual function” because of its repeated abuse of power, but over the past decade or so the police also seem to have been enjoying their privileges too much.
We hope to rely on the police for our safety, but instead we’ve become rather nervous as police duties and tasks have come to cover almost everything: from policing bedrooms and petty crimes to dealing with any kind of corruption, terrorism, treason and defamation allegedly committed even just through an updated social media status. The National Police has become a super-body with little control from the outside.
Therefore, in forming his new Cabinet, scheduled to be announced after taking office for his second term on Oct. 20, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will hopefully complete the security sector reform by placing the police force under the Home Ministry, as many have demanded. To realize it, of course, some legal technicalities should be settled.
Jokowi can assign the current National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian to be home minister if he is worried about police resistance, although he might also spark a public outcry. The military may welcome Tito’s move into the Cabinet if it is part of a plan to move the police force from directly answering to the President to being under the direction of the Home Ministry.
Gen. Tito has led the police force since July 13, 2016. As the top graduate from the Police Academy in 1987, the former counterterrorism chief was more academically qualified than his predecessors. Under his leadership, the police have been hailed among other things for foiling a terrorist plot following the April general elections.
The choice of then-Insp. Gen. Tito to lead the police starting on July 13, 2016, seemed bold of President Jokowi, as the country’s most powerful politician, Megawati Soekarnoputri, had signaled that another was her favorite for the job, her former adjutant Comr. Gen. (ret) Budi Gunawan, who was then nearing retirement age.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had declared Budi a graft suspect shortly after Jokowi proposed to the House of Representatives in January 2015 that Budi succeed then-National Police chief Sutarman. The court annulled the KPK’s decision but Jokowi finally chose Tito, a younger, much less controversial and more popular officer.
Indeed, according to the 2002 National Police Law, the police are under direct control of the President and the House must approve the appointment or dismissal of a police chief. However, more importantly, we need Jokowi’s political will and courage again to put the police on par with the Indonesian Military (TNI), with both having minimum potential to abuse power.
The harsh, if not militaristic, approach of the police in dealing with mass protests in Jakarta and elsewhere last May and September, the numerous arrests of demonstrators and the death of a number of them have increased resentment against the police’s show of force.
Like the military of old, the police enjoy virtual impunity.
A number of police generals now lead posts normally given to civilians, such as the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). It’s all legal, too a National Police chief decree dated April 12 makes police ranks for the civilian positions compatible with high echelons of civil servants.
Cynics say the police are now enjoying the ‘dwi fungsi ‘(dual function), along with increasing powers and welfare. Occasional clashes involving the police and the TNI reflect the excess of reduced financial opportunities for the military compared to the police.
These range from large security jobs to extorting couples in a romantic embrace in public parks. The military policy and budget are controlled by the defense minister while TNI’s role is limited to defense, although there is considerable leeway in “operations other than war”.
The removal of the police from the president’s direct line of command should also reduce the apparent jealousy of TNI soldiers and officers toward the police. Police personnel are generally more prosperous than those in the three forces. Just visit the houses of police and military officers of equal rank and check for yourself.
Many Indonesians may find it quite hard to quickly answer when asked to identify one aspect of their lives where police cannot interfere. Dealing with the police is among the last things Indonesians want these days, despite experiencing improved services. Many of us feel uncomfortable when a police officer is nearby, like under the old regime.
Ahead of the new government set to begin later this month, this is the right time to reevaluate, again, the position of both the police and military.
The military has long faced temptations to regain its role in politics. This is very dangerous; I cannot imagine active officers regaining civilian positions. However, while foreign enemies have never (yet) come to our front door, which is the main threat the TNI should deal with, it is probably wise to give the military more additional jobs.
Whatever is decided, we should not let our nation become a police state. We need a professional police force, not one that can enter your house anytime it wants.
President Jokowi, please end the police’s power to punish everything under the sun
On a Sunday evening, after considering various advice from colleagues, I decided to fly to Jayapura – just 10 days after violent protests rocked the city. There were friends to visit and people to meet to understand the current circumstances.
Gloomy news greeted me as soon as I landed in Sentani. A brief meeting with a local human rights lawyer at the airport provided me a vivid illustration of the widespread arrests and detentions in the cities of Jayapura, Fakfak, Deiyai and Timika by security forces in the aftermath of the demonstrations in each city. In Timika, the lawyer cited data showing that 33 people had been arrested with 10 still in detention since Aug. 21. Some of them experienced violence and excessive use of force including being shot during their arrests.
Moreover, although human rights organizations in Papua and West Papua are trying to organize legal aid and court monitoring, some more remote areas such as Deiyai will be too expensive to cover as police used to maximize the detention periods prior to trial.
Without intervention from civil society, the public will never know what happens there. There is a small likelihood of a fair trial, with virtually no obligation from the government for transparency. After a depressing one-hour talk, the lawyer flew to Timika to provide assistance for those 10 people.
On the way to a hotel, my driver, who had personally observed the protest on Aug. 29, described how chaotic the situation was. “It was very different from the peaceful rally on Aug. 19,” he said. “People looked more hostile, angrier and seemed prepared to make trouble.” He wished the central government was quicker in taking the right steps to calm tensions. He praised the swift move by Jayapura Mayor Benhur Tommy Mano who prevented further escalation of violence by announcing local government readiness to cover the physical damages and financial losses from the riot.
However, I spotted three trucks of the Mobile Brigade Corps (Brimob) parked in the streets of the Waena area. Dozens of armed Brimob officers stood on alert along the roadside within a 200-meter perimeter, while some entered houses, climbed stairs and knocked on doors in search of new suspects under the anxious glances of Papuans outside the perimeter. I imagined the implications and the psychological effects of this scene toward fellow Papuan witnesses.
Later I joined a press conference held by the Papua Civil Society Coalition, which opened a pos pengaduan (help desk) in Jayapura for families of riot victims who were looking for information and wanted to submit reports. The initiative aims to provide the public with independent and reliable information regarding the Aug. 29 incident, as the government tended to monopolize and control the flow of information by temporarily shutting down the internet in Papua.
The statement from coalition members showed how the police restricted access to victims in the hospital even for organizations with church affiliation. The coalition also criticized government unwillingness to disclose the number of those killed or injured as represented by the previous statement of Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto while being so fast to estimate the cost of physical destruction and financial loss in the city.
American statesman Thomas Jefferson once said that “information is the currency of democracy”. The people’s government requires a free flow of information – when data can be exchanged deliberately to provide citizens with choices, best options and a push for government accountability in addressing policy problems. Problems arise when information is controlled and its absence results in disinformation, state propaganda and repression.
Unfortunately, the government opts for the opposite way to handle the Papua issue. A security approach requires control. Control is easier to achieve through fear and there is no breeding ground of fear more fertile than secrecy.
As I turned on the television for the evening news, Wiranto was on screen to inform the public that the government has mobilized 6,000 security officers in Papua. Why so many? No explanation. For how long? No exact period was unveiled. How will the expense be covered? Zero information.
Similar patterns of strategy have been seen over and over again. In the eyes of the government, citizens-cum-taxpayers do not have the right to know. For Papua, the “why” is out of the question. After the news, my phone rang. Buchtar Tabuni, a member of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua was arrested earlier in the evening. A chill crawled up my spine. It could be anyone, anytime, for any reason as the morning scene in Waena returned to my brain.
Maybe Jefferson, as well as the journalist Edward Murrow, were right once again: “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” But we are not sheep, are we?
2) Australia does not rule out handing over human rights lawyer to Indonesia
UPDATED 3 HOURS AGO BY VIRGINIA LANGEBERG
Australia has not ruled out acting on a Interpol red notice threatened against an Indonesian human rights lawyer amid political unrest in West Papua.
Australia has refused to rule out handing over a well-respected human rights lawyer, who specialises in West Papuan matters, to Indonesian authorities.
Veronica Koman is being threatened with an Interpol red notice, which is due to be issued Wednesday, if she doesn’t turn herself in to an Indonesian embassy in Australia.
The human rights lawyer, in hiding in Australia, is being pursued by Indonesia for disseminating evidence of security forces carrying out violence in the troubled provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The move has outraged human rights groups across the world and drawn criticism from a group of UN experts.
Human Rights Lawyer Jennifer Robinson told SBS News Ms Koman is being targeted by Indonesian authorities over her work for West Papuan activists.
“This is a human rights lawyer who has been defending West Papuan dissidents, she is now being prosecuted by Indonesia – that is an outrage. And the Australian government should have nothing to do with it,” Ms Robinson said.
Australian authorities have not ruled out acting on an Interpol red notice.
When asked if the Australian Federal Police (AFP) would take action on such a request, a spokesperson said it could not comment on the matter:
“INTERPOL’s Constitution prohibits progressing matters of a Political, Religious, Military or Racial nature,” the statement said.
“Each enquiry is considered and assessed on its merits and the information available.”
A Red Notice is a request to worldwide law enforcement agencies to locate and provisionally arrest a person, pending extradition to the country issuing the notice.