Unlawful arrests reported from Timika – three Papuans prosecuted and ill-treated

The ‘Association of Human Rights Lawyers for Papua’ (PAHAM Papua) has documented the unlawful arrests of Polce Tsugumol (31 years), Orpa Wanjomal (40 years), Titus Kwalik (48 years), Julianus Dekme (31 years) and Alosius Ogolmagi (49 years). The arrests occurred in the night from 9 to 10 June 2018 at multiple locations in Timika City. All five arrestees are indigenous Papuans and three of them were ill-treated during the detention. They were taken to the Police Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB) headquarters in Timika. According to PAHAM, the police officers conducted the arrests without a warrant. Apart from physical ill-treatments, the officers threatened Orpa Wanjomal at gunpoint and forced her to tell the whereabouts of possible evidence for the prosecution of her stepson. They intimidated family members and obstructed a human rights lawyer and relatives at the police station. The Asian Human RIghts Commission (AHRC) published a statement in which the organisations condemns the arrests as violation of the right to fair trial.

On 9 June 2018 around 09.00 pm, members of the Mimika Sub-district police unlawfully arrested Polce Tsugumol without warrant at SP Dua Street and detained him at the BRIMOB headquarters in Timika City. Subsequently, the officers drove to Polce Tsugumol’s stepmother Orpa Wanjomal, entered her house and threatened her at gunpoint to hand out documents which Polce Tsugumol had kept in the house. They also forced Orpa Wanjomal to show the pigsty, where Polce had allegedly hidden ammunition. Orpa Wanjomal was arrested and detained for more than 24 hours and later released.

On 10 June 2018 around 03.00 am, police officers came to Titus Kwalik’s house at SP Lima and forced their way into the building without showing a warrant. As Titus refused to follow the police officers to their vehicle, several officers dragged him outside, one of them forcefully pushing his rifle butt into Titus’ back. The police detained him at the BRIMOB headquarters. The arbitrary arrest was witnessed by his pregnant wife and children.

Almost simultaneously, police officers broke the front door of Julianus Dekme’s house open while he and Alosius Ogolmagi were sleeping. Without showing a warrant, police officers dragged both men outside, pushing and beating them with rifle butts on the back. The officers seized 200 million rupiahs (aprox. 14 360 US$) which Julianus had stored in a plastic bag. They also took Julianus wife’s wallet. Julianus and Alosius were forced to enter a civilian car which brought them to the BRIMOB headquarters. According to PAHAM, Alosius Dekme is Deaf and earns a living as farmer. He was released on the following day.

Polce Tsugumol, Titus Kwalik and Julianus Dekme were charged with article 1, paragraph (1) of Emergency Law No 12/1951 about the unauthorized ownership or use of firearms.

Article 18 (1) of the ‘Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code’ (KUHAP) requires law enforcement officers to show a warrant unless the suspect is caught in the act of committing a criminal offense. Contrary to article 18 (1) KUHAP, the police did not show any warrant to the suspects during the arrest. The warrants were only given to the arrestees' relatives two days later, on 12 June 2018. The police officers reportedly obstructed the lawyer and relatives as they wanted to visit the suspects in the detention cell. On 13 June 2018, a PAHAM human rights lawyer came to the BRIMOB headquarters to provide legal assistance to the detainees. He was accompanied by the detainees’ family members. The relatives were only allowed to see the detainees for three minutes. Likewise, the lawyer was not given enough time to speak with the detainees. The police officers ordered the lawyer to keep a distance of four meters to the detention cell while providing legal consultation to the detainees. PAHAM also reported that the families felt intimidated because police officers monitored their houses and surveilled family members.