INDONESIA: Two teenagers arrested and detained for two weeks
INDONESIA: Two teenagers are arrested and detained for two weeks over fabricated charges in Paniai, Papua
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention; fabrication
of charges; inhuman & degrading treatment; military; police
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the arrest and detention of two teenagers based on fabricated charges in Paniai, Papua. The police arrested them after finding a woven bag filled with a cartridge and other materials associated with pro-independence movement, which did not belong to either of them but was left by a stranger just before the police came. The police told the media that the two teenagers are members of a pro-independence group yet the spokesperson of the group has claimed that the arrested individuals are not members.
According to a local activist, Alpons Gobay (15 year old) and Menny Gobay (18 year old) just returned from grocery shopping on 25 February 2013 when they found a stranger sitting in their house in Bobaigo Village, Enarotali, East Paniai. The stranger, who managed to get in as the house was unlocked, explained to Alpons and Menny that he was just taking a rest and would like to go fishing not far from Bobaigo Village. Convinced that the stranger would not pose any harm to them, Alpons and Menny carried on preparing meals for their lunch.
The stranger suddenly left the house as Alpons and Menny started cooking lunch. Both Alpons and Menny thought the stranger would be back as he left his noken (Papuan woven bag). However, as they were cooking at around 10am, a joint police and military force consisted of approximately 45 officers surrounded their house. The force asked Alpons and Menny to surrender themselves otherwise they would open fire. Some of the police and military officers entered the house and dragged Alpons and Menny out. The police and military officers kicked and beat Alpons and Menny. The officers also hit Alpons and Menny with their guns before taking them to Paniai District Police Station in a car. The beatings continued during the journey from Bobaigo Village to the police station as well as during the interrogation process. As a result, both victims’ forehead, lips, head and arms were wounded. Alpons and Menny also suffer from pain in their ribs.
In the interrogation, the police showed Alpons and Menny the materials inside the noken they seized from the house. However, the noken the police seized belongs to the stranger, not to Alpons or Menny. The police found a handheld transceiver, a 7.56 caliber cartridge, a mobile phone, two TPN-OPM (Free Papua Movement’s Military Wing) identity cards which do not belong to neither Alpons nor Menny, and a woven craft with Morning Star flag –a pro-independence symbol- motive in it. Both Alpons and Menny have been charged with a provision under Emergency Law No. 12 Year 1951 on Fire Arms and Explosive which carry the punishments of death sentence, life imprisonment, or temporary imprisonment for a period of 20 years.
To the media, the Indonesian National Police claimed that they have arrested two members of the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM) on 26 February 2013. The Papua Regional Police’s Head of Community Relations I Gede Sumerta Jaya claimed the individuals they arrested, ‘AG’ and ‘PG’, were involved in a number of shootings in Paniai, the hostage of nine employees of a construction company, and the abduction as well as rape of a woman in Paniai. However, he only mentioned that ‘AG’ and ‘PG’ are criminally charged with an article on possession of fire arms and explosive materials.
The latest update received by the AHRC from a local activist reveals that Alpons and Menny were released on 11 March 2013.
Responding to the police’s statement regarding the arrest of Alpons and Menny who they claimed as to be the members of OPM, the spokesperson of TPN-OPM in Paniai, Leo Yeimo, stated that none of his members have been arrested by the police and the military. He clarified that Alpons and Menny are only civilians and not members of TPN-OPM.
A report sent by a local activist to the AHRC reveals that during February-March 2013 only at least 12 civilians have been subject to arbitrary arrest and detention by the joint force of the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian Military. Most of them were arrested and detained because the police suspected they were involved in the pro-independence movement.
Previously on 7 February 2013, the joint force raided Ipakiye Village and arrested six civilians on false allegation on their involvement with the OPM. In the raid, four members of the joint force molested a pregnant woman and assaulted her 18 month old baby. The day before the raid in Ipakiye Village, on 6 February 2013, a civil servant was arrested and detained for six nights at Paniai Sub-District Police station on the false allegation of his involvement in the activities of OPM. In addition to that, the report informs that a civilian was arrested by the police on 11 March 2013 for a fabricated charge on murder. The police beat him during the arrest to the point where his lips were bleeding.
The AHRC has published several cases concerning the arrest of Papuans by Indonesian law enforcement officials for unreasonable allegation on their involvement with the pro-independence group. On 27 November 2012, Frengky Uamang was arrested as the police suspected that he had provided food for the members of OPM. Frengky was severely tortured for two days so that he was not able to walk after the police released him and found out that he was not involved with the OPM. Earlier this year on 15 February 2013, the police also arrested and tortured seven civilians in Jayapura in two separate occasions on the basis of having a relationship with the pro-independence group.
Under Indonesian law, victims of arbitrary arrest and detention may submit a complaint to the District Court demanding for rehabilitation and compensation. They may also submit a complaint to the Professionalism and Security Unit (Propam), a monitoring mechanism within the police, but the proceeding is not impartial, not transparent and, at its best, will only lead to disciplinary punishment of the responsible police officers.
Please write to the listed authorities below asking them to ensure those responsible for the arbitrary arrest and detention as well as the torture of Alpons Gobay and Menny Gobay are brought to justice. Please also urge them to stop the arrest of individuals based on arbitrary allegations which have been taking place in Paniai and other parts of Papua. Both Alpons and Menny should be granted adequate compensation, including medical treatment for their injuries.
The AHRC is writing separately to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest and Detention as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment requesting for their intervention in this case.
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INDONESIA: Two teenagers are arrested and detained for two weeks over fabricated charges in Paniai, Papua
victims: Alpons Gobay and Menny Gobay
Names of alleged perpetrators: Members of Indonesian National Police and Indonesian Military Joint Force (Mobile Brigadiers of Papua Regional Police, Community Control Unit of Paniai District Police, TNI 753 Battalion)
Date of incident: 25 February – 11 March 2013
Place of incident: Enarotali, East Paniai, Papua
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the arbitrary arrest and detention of Alpons Gobay (15 year old) and Menny Gobay (18 year old), two teenagers in Enarotali, Papua on 25 February – 11 March 2013. I was informed that their liberty was deprived as the Indonesian authorities falsely suspected them to be involved with the pro-independence group, Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM).
According to my local resource, Alpons and Menny found a stranger inside their unlocked house when they just got back from grocery shopping. As the stranger explained that he was just taking a rest and will be leaving soon to go fishing, Alpons and Menny were convinced that he would not do any harm. Yet as Alpons and Menny were preparing their lunch, the stranger left the house without taking his noken (Papuan woven bag) with him. Both Alpons and Menny thought the stranger would be back yet soon after he left the joint force of the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian Military came and surrounded their house. The joint force consisted of approximately 45 members of Papua Regional Police’s Mobile Brigade, Community Control Unit of Paniai District Police and the 753 Battalion of the Indonesian Military.
Alpons and Menny were dragged of their house by the members of the joint force. The officers kicked, beat, and hit both of them with their guns and took Alpons and Menny to Paniai District Police station. The officers continuously beat them during the journey to the police station as well as during the course of the interrogation process. I have been told that Alpons and Menny’s forehead, lips, head and arms were wounded. They also complained that they suffer from pain in their ribs.
The police seized the noken left by the stranger in Alpons and Menny’s house as evidence against them. Inside the noken, the police found 1 unit of handheld transceiver, a 7.56 caliber cartridge, a mobile phone, two TPN-OPM (Free Papua Movement’s Military Wing) identity cards without neither Alpons’s or Menny’s name on it, and a Morning Star motive-woven craft. Based on this finding, the police charged Alpons and Menny with a provision under the Emergency Law No. 12 Year 1951 on Fire Arms and Explosive which carry the punishments of death sentence, life imprisonment, or temporary imprisonment for a period of 20 years.
After the arrest of Alpons and Menny, the police told the media that they have arrested two TPN-OPM’s members who are alleged to be involved in a series of crimes such as hostage, abduction and rape. However, the spokesperson of the TPN OPM in Paniai, Leo Yeimo, had made a statement saying that Alpons and Menny are civilians and not members of his organisation. The police appear to ‘realise’ the mistake they made only over two weeks after the arrest as on 11 March 2013 they released both Alpons and Menny.
I am extremely concerned that arbitrary arrest and detention as happened in this case is very common in Papua. I have received so many reports on how civilians have been arrested and detained on false allegations regarding their involvement with pro-independence movement, and I am disgusted to learn that most of them have even been tortured. I recall in the last UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session in May last year, the Indonesian government accepted the recommendations from various countries on improving the human rights situation in Papua. The Indonesian government also made an official statement claiming that impunity does not exist anymore in the region. What has been happening in Papua is in total contradiction with these commitments the Indonesian authorities made in the international forum. Not only human rights violations remain bitter experience the Papuans still have to deal with as of today, but those who responsible for it never been held accountable.
I am therefore calling you to halt all arbitrary operations held by the Indonesian National Police as well as the Indonesian Military in Papua. In accordance with the law in your countries and international human rights standards, individuals may be detained only in limited circumstances. Deprivation of liberty should be based on genuine suspicion that an individual has committed a crime, and such suspicion should be supported by legitimate evidence. As for the case of Alpons and Menny, I urge you to provide them with adequate rehabilitation and compensation and to punish those responsible for violating their basic rights proportionately, in accordance with international human rights standard.
I look forward for your positive and adequate response in this matter.