Police need to explain arrest of Papuan human rights lawyer – Komnas HAM

Kompas – November 1, 2007
Komnas HAM commissioners Yosep Prasetyo, Nur Kholis and Ridha Saleh in Jayapura (Tempo)
Komnas HAM commissioners Yosep Prasetyo, Nur Kholis and Ridha Saleh in Jayapura (Tempo)

Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) hopes that the police will soon provide an explanation for the arrest of an activist from the Foundation for Legal Education and Democracy (LPHD), Iwangin Sabar Olif. A clarification is necessary in order that the Papuan public – particularly activists – are not anxious because in the arrest involved members of the Detachment 88 Anti-Terror Unit.

This was conveyed by Komnas HAM commissioner Ridha Saleh on Wednesday October 31 after earlier receiving a group of human rights activists submitting a complaint about Olif’s arrest. Olif, who was arrested on October 18, is currently being detained at the national police headquarters on Jakarta.

Gunawan, one of the activists submitting the complaint with Komnas HAM, said that Olif was arrested on suspicion of incitement and insulting the head of state. The alleged incitement is related to the dissemination of an SMS that among other things contained allegations of genocide against the Papuan people carried out through poisoned food.

The activists believe that the arrest was improper because police did not arrest the person that sent the SMS to Olif or the original writer of the message. In addition to this, after being arrested in Papua, Olif was taken to Jakarta and detained at the national police headquarters.

Contacted separately, the head of the Papua regional police public relations department, Senior Commissioner Agus Rianto said that Olif’s transfer to Jakarta was only done in order to accelerate the investigation process.

“We have limited facilities to establish the truth of the suspects statements. So far we have not yet received the results of the examination and investigation into other suspects in Jakarta. In Papua, the police are conducting the investigation based on information from the suspect. It may well be that if we find other suspects, Iwangin will no longer be a suspect”, said Rianto. (JOS)

[Translated by James Balowski.]