Detained Papua activist Surya Anta seriously ill, still in isolation cell

CNN Indonesia – October 5, 2019
Papua activist Surya Anta (Kompasiana)
Papua activist Surya Anta (Kompasiana)

Jakarta – Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) spokesperson Surya Anta, who has being detained at the Mobile Brigade Command Headquarters (Mako Brimob) in Depok since September 1, is reportedly ill and is not receiving proper treatment. Anta is said to be suffering from an ear infection and cannot hear out of his right ear.

This was revealed by Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) lawyer Nelson Simamora who is part of a team of lawyers providing legal aid to Surya.

“Surya is suffering from an illness in his right ear. It seems like there’s a swelling inside his ear canal. The infection has already spread to his head and he’s having difficulty eating. He can’t hear out of his right ear”, said Simamora when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Saturday October 5.

According to Simamora, Anta had been feeling ill for three days and officials have been unable to contact the doctor who is normally on duty at the Mako Brimob.

Simamora said that LBH Jakarta has been asked to find an ear, nose and throat specialist to visit Mako Brimob. The other option is for LBH Jakarta to try to get Anta referred to the Bhayangkara Hospital which is located alongside the Mako Brimob.

This request was not made by Mako Brimob but rather by a lawyer who recently met with Anta. “So far the police have only given him medicine to relieve the symptoms. Surya Anta isn’t getting better”, said Simamora.

CNN Indonesia has tried to confirm the report with Metro Jaya Regional Police (Polda Metro Jaya) public relations head Senior Commissioner Argo Yuwono via an SMS message but there has been no response.

Anta was transferred to the Mako Brimob in Kelapa Dua, Depok, on September 1, a day after being arrested at a shopping centre in Jakarta.

The Metro Jaya police declared Anta and five Papuan students as suspects on treasons charges for flying the Morning Star independence fag during a protest action alongside the State Palace on August 28.

Civil Society Coalition for Democracy spokesperson Suarbudaya Rahadian said that Anta is being held in an isolation cell and is being bombarded by nationalist songs all day long.

Rahadian said that Anta can no longer stand being incarcerated in the call. Rahadian related this after visiting Anta after he had been detained at Mako Brimob for 20 days.

“The other cells have a terrace so you can see the corridor outside. In Surya’s case the steel door has no terrace, there’s nothing [just a folded mattress], just a small ventilation duct above, you can’t see anything”, said Rahadian at Mako Brimob on Friday September 20.

Yuwono earlier refuted Rahadian’s statement saying that they do not have any isolation cells. Conversely, Yuwono said that Anta has been given a cell which is better than those at the Metro Jaya detention centre.

“Compared with the detention centre at Polda Metro, yes well, here there’s one cell for one person. At the Polda Metro, one cell can have 15 people, 20 people”, said Yuwono at Mako Brimob on Friday. (dis)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Surya Anta Disebut Sakit Telinga hingga Tak Bisa Dengar”.]