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West Papua: Villager dies in police custody

Further details of the police brutality that resulted in the death of Roni, a man from Sanggase Village, Merauke Regency, after he was arrested on New Year’s Eve:

31st December (evening) The victim and residents of Sanggase were holding a New Year’s Eve party with music and alcohol, when an alcohol-influenced quarrel broke out between the victim and the DJ. Others stepped in and calmed the situation down.

1st January 2014 (morning) The victim was still angry with the DJ and several other people. He hit someone with a coconut branch, at which point a fight broke out, involving several people.

Police arrived on the scene and arrested five people who they brought to the Okaba police station. Once at the station they were struck and whipped with rope that had been wound around itself.

Afterwards, the victim was brought into a room and was heard to scream, thought to be because he was being tortured by a police officer named Markus or Max and one of Astra’s security guards, named Andre Paat.

People outside the room could only hear the victim groaning in pain, until later no more sound could be heard.

Night of January 1st.

The arrested villagers spent the night in separate rooms, four people were placed in one room and the victim in another.

2nd January When the four others woke up they couldn’t hear their friend’s voice, so they looked into the room where he was being held and saw that he was not moving. They reported this to the guard and they were asked to bring their friend to the Okaba hospital.

The officials at the hospital examined the victim and pronounced that he had died before arriving at the hospital. As they were bringing the victim back to the police station, the local priest (Beni Marko) told them otherwise, that they should just bring the victim back to his village using a district official’s vehicle.

3rd January The victim was buried in Sanggase Village.

This is an update on previous news about this incident, which can be read here.

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