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Cablegate: Suicide of Papuan Prisoner in Abepura Case

VZCZCXRO8604
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0415 0460848
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150848Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3302
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0437
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 3301
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0238
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 1343
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000415

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ID
SUBJECT: SUICIDE OF PAPUAN PRISONER IN ABEPURA CASE

REF: 06 JAKARTA 12800 (ACTIVISTS DENOUNCE ABEPURA

TRIAL)

1. (U) On February 2, 24-year old Yasya Echo Merano
Berotabui ("Echo") died in Abepura Hospital after taking an
overdose of malaria pills in a Papuan prison. He had been
sentenced last July to four years for failing to obey police
orders during the March 16 riots in Abepura, Papua (reftel).

2. (U) Of the 24 persons charged in connection with the
riots, Echo had mounted the most spirited and coherent
defense during his trial, making strong charges against the
security forces. He was also a high-profile prisoner because
he was the son of the Reverend Corinus Berotabui, moderator
of Papua's largest Protestant denomination.

3. (SBU) A source close to the Berotabui family told us that
Echo, already depressed about his incarceration, became
despondent after he took a call on his handphone from his
fiancee, who apparently broke off their engagement. Echo
then tried unsucessfully to reach his parents, who were
traveling on church business. He then collected medication
that had been distributed to his cell mates and ingested it.
Prison authorities found him unsconscious and took him to the
Abepura hospital, where he died. His family asked that no
autopsy be performed.

4. (SBU) Some activists remain suspicious about the
circumstances of Echo's death. An NGO source told us there
are rumors that the family of Echo's fiancee came under
pressure from "third parties" to end their association with
him. The source also questioned as to why Echo was not
treated for an hour after his arrival at the hospital. While
Echo's family is not seeking any redress and has not made
allegations of foul play, the incident will likely remain the
subject of speculation.
PASCOE

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