Nabire District Police carries out violent raid and arbitrary arrests

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Human rights defenders of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (KINGMI Papua) have reported that police forces of the district police carried out raids in Nabire, the capitol city of Nabire Regency. The raids took place on the 29 June 2017 in the so-called 'Karang Barat' complex, which is mainly inhabited by indigenous Papuans. Police forces used tear gas and water cannons against the residents. The reason for the raid remains currently unclear.

Inandus Mote (20 years old) was arbitrarily arrested as he witnessed police officers opening fire at the complex. Inandus was brought to the Nabire district police headquarters where officers tortured him by repeatedly beating him in the face. As a result of the torture, Inandus Mote sustained swellings around both eyes and a bleeding nose and mouth. Frederika Pigome (35 years) died on 1 July 2017 after she had inhaled the teargas. A teargas grenade in front of her window had caused the quick spreading of a concentrated amount of tear gas inside her room, where she had been resting in her bed. Most residents of the 'Karang Barat' fled their house to wash off the tear gas residues in the nearby Nabire River.

On 1 July 2017, police officers of the Nabire District Police arbitrarily arrested Yanto Waine (23 years) as he was preparing copies of leaflets for a political discussion organized by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). When other KNPB members found out on 4 July 2017 that Yanto Waine had been arrested, 30 KNPB members – among them Agus Pigai, Henok Tebai, Marthinus Goo and Kristina Yeimo – went to the the Nabire Distict Police office to demand his release. Police officers arrested the KNPB members, forced them to open their shirts and subsequently tortured the activists using rifle butts, wooden sticks and bare hands. 28 detainees were released the same day while two KNPB leaders named Andi Ekapia Yeimo (26 years) and Samuel Wespa Kobepa (24 years) remained in custody.

On 6 July 2017 approximately 250 KNPB supporters had gathered to conduct a peaceful long march to the Nabire District Police headquarters in order to demand the release of the three KNPB arrestees. Police officers blocked the protesters in front KODIM 1705 military headquarters, where they arrested 89 KNPB supporters while the rest of the protesters were able to escape. Subsequently, the arrestees were brought to Nabaruan Sub-district Police Station, where they were interrogated and forced to take off their shirts (see images on top). As a human rights defender tried to enter the police station, the Nabaruan Police Chief prevented him from visiting the arrestees and insisted to check his mobile phone.

Around 4:00 pm the head of Nabaruan sub-district police asked the supporters to enter police trucks, telling them that they would be released and brought home. However, instead of releasing the KNPB supporters, the arrestees were moved to the Nabire district police station where police officers tortured each arrestee with wooden sticks and metal bars. According to human rights activists the officers particularly targeted their heads, the spine and chest during the beatings. Subsequently, the KNPB supporters were detained at the district police station for 24 hours. The police officers did not allow them to defecate or urinate during custody. All 92  KNPB supporters were released on 7 July 2017, at 7:00 pm.