Papuans demand release of defendant in Timika shooting case

Source – September 26, 2006
Reverend Ishak Onawame (Wene Buletin)

Ari Saputra, Jakarta – Dozens of West Papuans demonstrated in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Tuesday September 26 demanding that Reverend Ishak Onawame, a defendant in the shooting case near PT Freeport Indonesia be released.

The demonstrators, who came from the West Papua Peoples Front for Struggle (FPRPB), arrived at the State Palace on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara at around 10am. Not wasting any time, they immediately began holding speeches.

“We call for him (Ishak) to be released. He is not linked with the shooting incident four years ago in Timika. Witnesses have said that the shooters were people wearing camouflage uniforms”, said FPRPB chairperson Martin Cao.

The protesters brought two guitars to the demonstration and accompanied by guitar music, they sang local Papuan songs. They also brought a number of large posters with the message “Release the reverend who is not guilty. He only spread the word of God”. A red FPRPB flag measuring 3x2 metres was also put up.

The action did not continue for long. After several minutes of giving speeches they moved off to the Central Jakarta District Court intending to attend the court hearing into the shooting case.

The shooting took place in the area of PT Freeport Indonesia at Tembagapura Mile 62-63 in Timika on August 31, 2002. Two US citizens, Ricky Lynn Spier and Edwin Leon Burgen, and their Indonesian colleague FX Bambang Riwanto, were killed in the incident. Seven people have been indicted over the case, all of them West Papuans, one of which is Reverend Ishak Onawame. (djo/sss)

[Translated by James Balowski.]