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Two Freedom Fighting Papuans face weapons charges

Two Papuans face weapons charges and maximum 20-year sentence

Abridged in translation by TAPOL

While dozens of people who were rounded up by the police for participating in a demonstration that had been organised by the KNPB (National Committee for West Papua) have now been released, two people, Mara Koyoga and Linus Pagawe, have been formally charged for allegedly being in possession of sharp implements [the nature of which has not be described].

The two will face charges under Law 12/1951 regarding possession of weapons, and face a maximum of twenty years in prison.

During the demonstration which took place on Monday, the streets of Jayapura were patrolled by police forces from a number of units including Brimob.

The mass arrests were condemned by the deputy chairman of the provincial legislative assembly, the DPRP, Yehuda Gobay S.Th who strongly regretted the repressive actions taken by the police which has become a tradition when Papuans take action to express their aspirations. They frequently round people up on such occasions and fire shots in the midst of demonstrators, he said. This is unacceptable in an era of democracy, he said. What the security forces should be doing is giving protection to people who are expressing their aspirations.

Those involved in the actions had already informed the police in advance of their intention to demonstrate and that should be more than enough. The security forces are continually exaggerating the problems, with the result that Papua is regarded as unsafe and a place that is seen as terrifying for outsiders and the international community.

It is often the case that the security forces are the ones who trigger conflict. Everyone should act together to make Papua a zone of people, he said.

Students and others planning to demonstrate should follow the procedures by informing the authorities while the security forces should help by giving political education to the people, so that we can all live in peace.

He called for the immediate unconditional release of all those arrested earlier this week.

He said that when actions similar to those that occur in Papua occur in Jakarta, no-one is arrested or taken to court.

He blamed the govrnment in the province of Papua for doing nothing as yet to implement the provisions of the Special Autonomy Law of 2001, by introduing the necessary by-laws (Perdasi and Perdasus). ''I would like to ask the officials in Papua what they are doing every day apart from spending money, flying here, there and everywhere, while doing nothing to do improve the conditions of the people.'

He referred also to decision No 14/2002 adopted by the MRP (Papuan People's Assembly) stipulating that the positions of heads of district and their deputies should be occupied by indigenous Papuans. It seems as though the government is doing nothing about this, although this is as decision that should be acted upon.


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