Attempted criminalisation of Papuan political activists in Sentani – Police officers search house without warrant

Police officers reportedly searched the house of Papuan political activist Mr Steven Itlay in the town of Sentani, Jayapura Regency, in the early morning of 23 October 2022. According to Mr Itlay, the officers did not show a warrant before entering the house as required under Article 33 of the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP).

The unlawful police operation was witnessed by his relatives, who happened to be at the house at that time. The officers later claimed that the search was related to a stolen motorcycle after they could not find any incriminating evidence at Mr Itlay’s house. He understood the police operation as an act of intimidation and an attempt to criminalise him for his engagement in political work.

Mr Itlay is affiliated with the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a movement organisation promoting the right to political self-determination through a referendum. While KNPB leaders underline that the organisation only engages in non-violent activities such as peaceful demonstrations and political discussions, their members continue to be targeted by the Indonesian police.

Following the incident, the KNPB called upon the police to immediately stop arbitrary acts against Mr Itlay and other KNPB activists. In early February 2022, police officers arbitrarily arrested eight KNPB members, including Mr Itlay, in the town of Sentani, Jayapura regency, accusing them of involvement in the theft of a motorcycle.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Sentani (-2.5482046453479095, 140.52059536794243)
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Province, Jayapura Regency, Sentani District, Sentani Kota Village
total number of victims: one
period of incident: 23.10.2022
perpetrator: police
perpetrator details:
Issues: freedom of expression, indigenous peoples, intimidation, criminalisation
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Steven Itlaymaleunknown indigenous, activistintimidation