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West Papua - Failure of Justice System

KontraS Papua: Press release on Recent Problems in Abepura Prison

KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) Papua, SKPHP (Solidarity of Victims of Human Rights Violations in Papua) and the Lawyers Team

The Department of Law and Human Rights and Abepura Prison must take responsibility Legal Processes will not solve the problems in Abepura Prison

The clarification made to the media by the public relations department of the Police Force in Papua, Police Commissioner Wahchyono, that Buchtar Tabuni, Filep Karma, Dominggus Pulalo, Alex Elopere and Danny Lopez Karubaba are now suspects is incorrect because their status should be as witnesses in a criminal case in which acts of violence were perpetrated against certain individuals and material goods, as stipulated in Article 170 of the Criminal Code.

The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) Papua and their lawyers believe that the legal procedures now being taken by the Provincial Police Force in Papua regarding Buchtar Tabuni and his associates reflect a failure of the Department of Law and Human Rights and the Abepura Prison to create feelings of tranquillity among prisoners being held in Abepura Prison.

It should be noted that on 3 December 2010, five inmates escaped from the prison, as a result of which one of the inmates, Wiron Wetiipo was shot and fatally wounded but we have not yet received any information about the legal procedures that are now in progress.

This is not the first time that inmates are reported to have escaped from the prison. This should be the focus of attention revealing as it does that conditions in the prison are not in order as they have resulted in the prisoners making an escape from the prison.

It is not right for the Department of Law and Human Rights and the prison authorities to take account only of the consequences but they should also consider the causes of these developments

In our opinion, the legal process will not be able to solve the problems in the prison because, as stated by FORDEM in its statement of 14 December 2010 which was reported in the daily newspaper, Bintang Papua, the Director of Abepura Prsion along with fourteen members of his staff should face charges for committing acts of violence against the prisoners as this would uphold the principle of equality before the law. If legal procedures are only to be taken against Buchtar and his associates, this is unfair and could have unfortunate consequences.

Therefore KontraS Papua and the team of lawyers make the following demands:

1. The Indonesian Minister of Law and Human Rights and the District Head of the Department of Law and Human Rights should take measures that are more appropriate in order to provide an atmosphere of tranquillity for the prisoners and should not focus primarily on legal procedures to resolve these problems.

2. The District Head of the Department of Law and Human Rights and the prison authorities should be transparent in explaining what actually happened so as to avoid creating a variety of perceptions in the community.

3. The Provincial Legislative Assembly of the Province of Papua should also get involved in solving the problems in the prison, for the sake of accountability towards the community as a whole.

The five persons facing charges are:

Filep Jacob S Karma Buchtar Tabuni Alex Elopere Dominggus Pulalo Danny Lopez Karubaba

The charges against them are all as stipulated in Article 170 of the Criminal Code.

[Translated by TAPOL]

ENDS

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