Police investigator in Sorong Selatan prevents lawyers from meeting with detainees

The Manokwari Institute for Research Study and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH Manokwari) reported another case of obstruction against three lawyers in the regency of Sorong Selatan. According to LP3BH Director, Yan Christian Warinussy, the lawyers of the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Kaki Abu wanted to visit the four suspects who were arrested in multiple locations during a police raid in the regency of Maybrat between 15 and 23 April 2020. The police suspect them of being involved in the killing of a police officer in the regency of Bintuni.

On 8 May 2020, the lawyers Fernando Ginuny, Steven Peyon and Leonardo Ijie went to the Sorong Selatan District Police Office to meet the four detainees and get the power of attorney letter signed, as a legal requirement for the provision of legal assistance. According to information received, the Head of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Sorong Selatan District Police, Inspector Vhalio Agafe, prevented them from accessing the detention facility to talk with the four suspects. Warinussy urged the Papua Barat Regional Police Chief to take disciplinary sanctions against Inspector Agafe for ignoring fundamental human rights principles.   

The obstruction of lawyers during provision of legal aid for suspects during detention constitutes a violation of the articles 54, 55, 56 and 57 of the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP). Moreover, the right to receive legal counsel during detention and trial, as well as the right to consult a lawyer of own choice is guaranteed under Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), which Indonesia ratified on 23 February 2006.