Three KNPB activists charged with treason – Human rights lawyers file pre-trial

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A coalition of Papuan human rights organisations and human rights lawyers have filed a pre-trial to the District court in Timika in response to the unlawful arrest and subsequent criminalisation of three  activists of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). On 31 December 2018, joint security forces raided the KNPB office in Timika and arrested the six KNPB activists who had organised a worship ceremony (see image on the left). On 7 January 2019, three KNPB activists: Mr. Yanto Awerkion, Mr. Sem Asso, and Mr. Edo Dogopia were called for further questioning. The three activists were then arrested and transferred to the city of Jayapura on 8 January 2019, where they were charged with treason. They remain in detention awaiting trial.

Human rights lawyers argue that the arrests were not conducted in accordance with the ‘Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code’ (KUHAP), because the police officers failed to present either arrest warrants or search warrants as they raided the KNPB office. This violates Article 18 (1) of the KUHAP, which requires that the law enforcement officers show a warrant for arrest to the suspect unless he is caught in the act of committing a criminal offense. Moreover, the right to peaceful assembly and association is guaranteed by Indonesian law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party. Prior to the event, the KNPB in Timika delivered a letter of notification to the police regarding their plan to hold the prayer session, as it is legally required. TAPOL, Franciscans International, International Coalition for Papua, Watch Indonesia!, Westpapua-Netzwerk and Geneva for Human Rights Global Training have launched an Urgent Action Appeal in response to the unlawful arrests and criminalisation.

The KNPB is a political movement that promotes the right to political self-determination for West Papua through a referendum. The organisation facilitates worships and peaceful demonstrations through its Indonesian-wide network and is among the Papuan civil society groups which have been facing a high level of criminalisation and political persecution by Indonesian law enforcement institutions. Security force raids on KNPB facilities and events have significantly increased throughout the past months. The KNPB secretariat in Asmat was burnt down on 1 December 2018. The KNPB main secretariat in Jayapura was destructed and vandalized both on 19 November and 1 December 2018.

Download Urgent Action Appeal