Police deny torture claims following arrests and raid in Abepura

Kompas – September 5, 2011
Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar (Radio Elnury)

Jakarta – Jayapura district police have been accused of torturing 15 witnesses who were initially suspected of being members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in a violence related case in Abepura.

On Sunday September 4 the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Haris Azhar, said that the individuals were taken away by police then mistreated before being released.

“Thirteen of them have already been released by police. They have undergone medical examination for their injuries. The victims are residents of the Vuria Kotaraja housing complex. They are members of the Wahno Baptist Church congregation in Kotaraja”, said Haris.

The 15 were arrested on charges of carrying out a shooting at Nafri village in Abepura, Jayapura, on Monday August 1, which resulted in the death of three civilians and a member of the Indonesian military (TNI).

Haris said that during Wednesday’s arrest (31/8) police failed to present arrest or search warrants. Those arrested were asleep or preparing to go out into the fields. The names of the individuals tortured are Yawanus Kogoya, Tinus Wenda, Siki Kogoya, Arinus Wenda, Yusman Kogoya, Mis Kogoya, Bodi Kogoya, Wen Wenda, Denias Kogoya, Ekimar Kogoya, Panius Kogoya, Yeskiel Kogoya and one other who’s name is unknown.

According to Haris, they were struck with rifle barrels, kicked, cuffed, beaten and stepped on with military boots while handcuffed or tied. As a result the victims suffered bruising to their faces, bodies and feet. During the raid, continued Haris, the police fired gunshots. Police also sized bows and arrows, machetes, knives and other items from the location along with documents related to the OPM.

Kontras has condemned the torture as part of the negative stigma attached to Papuans that is developing among law enforcement officials. Haris warned that the practice of torture is an inhuman act and conflicts with Indonesian laws. Law Number 5/1998 on the Convention Against Torture states that Indonesia is bound by the International Convention Against Torture.

Ordered to lie face down

When contacted in Jayapora, police Senior Commissioner Wahyono from the Papuan regional police public relations department denied the charges of physical torture against the individuals who were brought in for questioning as witnesses. “I have contacted the investigators that questioned [them]. While they were at the place that the incident occurred they were only ordered to lie face down [on the floor]”, said Wahyono.

Jayapura district police chief Deputy Senior Commissioner Imam Setiawan also said via an SMS message that it was untrue that they were tortured. “This is one of the OPM’s strategies so that security personnel are not focused on finding the perpetrators of the shooting in Nafri”, said Imam. (JOS/ONG)

Source: Kekerasan: Belasan Warga Papua Mengaku Dianiaya Polisi – Kompas. Senin, 05 September 2011

 [Translated by James Balowski.]