Update on law enforcement process in killing of Rev Yeremia Zanambani – Relatives agree on autopsy under conditions

The relatives of Rev. Yeremia Zanambani, the Papuan pastor killed by military members in Mamba village, Intan Jaya Regency, on 19 September 2020, have agreed to an autopsy of the victim’s body with the condition that the autopsy is done by an independent medical team. It should also be conducted transparently and fairly under supervision of independent observers. The team of observers shall consist of lawyers, members of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the Indonesian Fellowship of Churches (PGI), multiple NGOs including Amnesty International Indonesia and local parliament members. Furthermore, the relatives urged the authorities to conduct the autopsy in the Hitadipa District, Intan Jaya.

The autopsy is a major requirement for the police investigation into murder allegations. The relatives submitted an official statement to a local police representative in Intan Jaya on 14 February 2021. Previously, they had rejected the autopsy because cultural views do not allow that deceased bodies are exhumed or opened up. The head of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), Benny Mamoto, explained in an interview with media outlet Kompas on 15 February that Kompolnas will monitor the autopsy process.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Institution for the Protection of Witnesses and Victims (LPKS) agreed to protect witnesses in the case to ensure that all witnesses will be able to make their testimonies freely, without having to fear attacks or acts of intimidation. The head of LPKS, Nasution, explained that he had already met with Kompolnas and the former investigation team members concerning the case.