Police and military officers molested a pregnant woman and arbitrarily arrested six civilians in Paniai, Papua

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The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the raid conducted by a joint police and military force in Paniai, Papua. The raid was conducted to find members of the pro-independence group but the joint force arrested six civilians who are not related in any way with this group. Four officers of the joint force also molested a pregnant woman during the raid and physically assaulted her 18 month old baby.

 

CASE NARRATIVE:

The AHRC was informed by a local activist that in the evening of 7 February, 2013, a joint force of the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian Military raided Ipakiye Village in East Paniai District, Papua. The joint force consisted of members of Papua Regional Police's Mobile Brigade, Community Control Unit of Paniai District Police and the 753 Battalion of the Indonesian Military. The aim of the operation was to find members of the pro-independence group, Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM). At around 9.30pm, the joint force raided the house of Stepanus Yogi, a civilian who is married to Dorpina Gobai and the father of a 18-month old baby. Just prior to the raid some other villagers of Ipakiye told Stepanus that the joint force was coming to his house so he ran for his life, leaving his wife and baby at the house.

Four officers forced their way into the house and asked Dorpina Gobay, who was in the six month of her pregnancy, the whereabouts of her husband. Dorpina could not answer the officers' questions as she was shocked and only speaks the local language but not Bahasa Indonesia. As the joint force could not find Stepanus at the house, they took out their anger on Dorpina as well as her 18-month baby. Four officers stripped Dorpina, held her down and took in turns to grope her indecently. While some of the officers were sexually molesting her, some others turned her baby upside down and shook him harshly until he cried. The officers later left the crying baby and Dorpina and joined with the other members of the joint force.

The raid was continued at the house of Musa Yeimo, the leader of the local church. He and his family were still asleep when the joint force surrounded the house and forcibly entered it. Musa Yeimo was later arrested along with Benny Yeimo, Mesak Yeimo, Sam Yeimo, Kalep Yeimo and Alpius Nawipa – all civilians, members of Ipakiye KINGMI Church and not associated with the pro-independence group. The six civilians were later brought to Paniai District Police Station.

Following the arrest and detention of these six civilians, the residents of Ipakiya Village held two public protests demanding their release. The police unconditionally released Musa Yeimo and the other five individuals on 9 March 2013 as there were no evidence that they were involved in the pro-independence movement.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

A report sent by a local activist to the AHRC reveals that during February-March 2013 only at least 12 civilians have been subject to arbitrary arrest and detention by the joint force of the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian Military. Most of them were arrested and detained because the police suspected they were involved in the pro-independence movement - an allegation which even if proven would not alter the fact the arrest was a violation of their human rights. Under the notion on the right to freedom of association, getting involved in a non-violent political organisation should not be classified as a crime.

The day before the raid in Ipakiye Village, on 6 February 2013, a civil servant was arrested and detained for six nights at Paniai Sub-District Police station on the false allegation of his involvement in the activities of OPM. Four civilians were also arrested separately on 25 February 2013 in the villages of Bobaigo and Daoguto for similar allegation. The report also informs that a civilian was arrested by the police on 11 March 2013 for a fabricated charge on murder. The police beat him during the arrest to the point where his lips were bleeding.

The AHRC has published several cases concerning the arrest of Papuans by Indonesian law enforcement officials for unreasonable allegation on their involvement with the pro-independence group. On 27 November 2012, Frengky Uamang was arrested as the police suspected that he had provided food for the members of OPM. Frengky was severely tortured for two days so that he was not able to walk after the police released him and found out that he was not involved with the OPM. Earlier this year on 15 February 2013, the police also arrested and tortured seven civilians in Jayapura in two separate occasions on the basis of having a relationship with the pro-independence group.

Under Indonesian law, victims of arbitrary arrest and detention may submit a complaint to the District Court demanding for rehabilitation and compensation. They may also submit a complaint to the Professionalism and Security Unit (Propam), a monitoring mechanism within the police, but the proceeding is not impartial, not transparent and, at its best, will only lead to disciplinary punishment of the responsible police officers.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the relevant Indonesian authorities demanding them to ensure those who are responsible for the arbitrary arrest and sexual molestation during the operation to be brought to justice. Please also urge them to provide rehabilitation and adequate compensation for the victims in this case. The list of the authorities is provided below.

The AHRC is writing separately to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

INDONESIA: Police and military officers molested a pregnant woman and arbitrarily arrested six civilians in Paniai, Papua

Name of victims:
1. Dorpina Gobay, 21 year old;
2. SG, 18 month old;
3. Stepanus Yogi;
4. Musa Yeimo, 48 year old;
5. Benny Yeimo, 27 year old;
6. Mesak Yeimo, 25 year old;
7. Kalep Yeimo, 21 year old;
8. Alpius Napiwa, 28 year old.
Names of alleged perpetrators: Members of Indonesian National Police and Indonesian Military Joint Force (Mobile Brigadiers of Papua Regional Police, Community Control Unit of Paniai District Police, TNI 753 Battalion)
Date of incident: 7 February 2013
Place of incident: Ipakiye Village, East Paniai District, Papua

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the raid conducted by a joint force of the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian Military at Ipakiye Village, East Paniai District, Papua, on 7 February 2013. I have been informed that in the raid which was meant to find the members of a pro-independence group, Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM), six civilians were arrested and one woman was sexually molested.

I was told that at about 9.30pm that day, members of Papua Regional Police's Mobile Brigadier, Paniai District Police's Community Control Unit, as well as the Indonesian Miiltary 753 Battalion raided the house of Stepanus Yogi. Yogi managed to escape from the raid as the other villagers told him in advance that the joint force was coming. However, his wife, Dorpina Gobai, and his 18 month year old baby, SG, were at the house when four police officers came in. As they could not find Stepanus, they took their anger out at Dorpina and the baby. They stripped Dorpina, held her down and took turns groping her indecently. They also harshly shook the 18 month old baby upside down until it started crying. Dorpina Gobai was in her six month pregnancy when the molestation took place.

After sexually molested Dorpina, the four officers joined the members of the joint force who continued their raid to the house of Musa Yeimo, the leader of the local church, who was asleep. Along with Benny Yeimo, Mesak Yeimo, Kalep Yeimo and Alpius Napiwa, Musa Yeimo were arrested and detained at Paniai District Police station in Madi. During detention, the police interrogated them with questions regarding their involvement with the OPM. They were released on 9 March 2013 after the residents of Ipakiye village held two public protests demanding their release and the police did not find any evidence concerning their involvement with the pro-independence group.

I am extremely concerned that arbitrary arrest and detention are very common in Papua. A local activist reported that during February-early March 2013 alone, at least 12 civilians had been arrested by the Indonesian law enforcement officials. Eleven of them –including Musa Yeimo and his relatives- were arrested on an unreasonable allegation regarding their involvement with the OPM. I am aware that previously in Kwamki Baru District in November 2012, Frengky Uamang, was also arrested and tortured for a similar reason. The same case took place in Jayapura earlier this year when seven Papuans were arrested separately in two occasions on 15 February 2013. All these individuals are merely individuals and not members of the OPM. Yet even if they were, I wish to emphasise that the right to freedom of association guarantee that individuals should not be taken to the criminal proceeding merely for their involvement with a non-violent political group.

I am aware that under Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code, victims of arbitrary arrest and detention can submit a complaint to the court asking for rehabilitation and compensation. The victims can also lodge a complaint to the internal mechanism of the police and it may lead to the handing down of disciplinary punishment to the responsible officers. I am of the view that the mentioned mechanisms are not adequate and proper legal venue that may provide the victims with justice. An independent mechanism in which the responsible can be held criminally responsible is what is needed.

Given this, I am urging you to ensure an independent and effective investigation on this matter to take place. Those who are responsible for the arbitrary arrest and detention of the civilians should be brought to justice and the four officers who sexually molested Dorpina Gobai and assaulted her baby should be proportionately punished. Rehabilitation and adequate compensation shall also be provided to all the victims in this case.

I look forward to your positive and swift response on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 386 3777, 350 3088.
Fax: + 62 21 344 2223, 3483 4759
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889
Fax: +62 21 525 3095

3. Gen. Timur Pradopo
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 7220 669
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4. Ir. Gen. Drs. Tito Karnavian
Chief of Papua Regional Police
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi No. 8
Jayapura
INDONESIA
Tel: +62967 531 014, 533 396
Fax: +62967 533 763

5. Kombes Pol. Drs. Sudarsono
Head of Security and Professionalism Division
Papua Regional Police
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi No. 8
Jayapura
INDONESIA
Tel: +62967 536 198

6. Mr. Agus Suhartono
Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian Military
Mabes TNI
Cilangkap, East Jakarta
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 8459 1243
Fax: +62 21 845 6805

7. Ms. Siti Nur Laila
Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission
Jl. Latuharhary No.4-B,
Jakarta 10310
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you.