Human rights defenders documented the arbitrary arrest of at least nine villagers in the Maybrat regency, where the police carried out raids (see photo on top, source: independent HRDs) in the districts Aifat, Aigat Timur Tengah, and Aifat Selatan on 14 October 2022. While the number of arrests varies among sources, the Papuan Association of Human Rights Lawyers (PAHAM Papua) confirmed that most arrestees were released within 24 hours, while 14-year-old Manfret Ky, Mr Yanwaris Sewa, and Mr Jefry Aifat remained in custody. Some sources claim that the number of arrestees reached 24, including women, elderly persons, and children. All arrestees were detained at the Sorong Selatan Police headquarters.
The spokesperson of the Papua Barat Regional Police, Officer Adam Erwindi, confirmed the arrest of only two persons, namely Mr Yanwaris Sewa and Mr Jefry Aifat. Mr Sewa is accused of being involved in an armed attack against a military post in Kisor on 2 September 20221, which resulted in the deaths of four military personnel. Mr Yanwaris Sewa’s name was on a police search list, while Jefry Aifat was taken into custody because he allegedly resisted police officers during the arrest.
It must be assumed that the police will continue to carry out raids in the Maybrat regency as the police are searching for ten more suspects in reaction to the armed attack. Following the incident, the police compiled a list of 21 suspects, mainly consisting of members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a movement organisation promoting the right to self-determination through peaceful means. As of late November 2022, the police arrested eleven suspects concerning the attack on the military post, said officer Erwindi during a media interview.
Human rights organisations have widely criticised the trials against ten suspects concerning the case. A series of breaches, including torture, obstruction of lawyers, and other violations of the right to a fair trial, characterised the law enforcement process against them. Seven suspects, including at least one minor, have received long-term imprisonment sentences between eight and twenty years. Three other defendants are currently standing trial at the Sorong District Court. One of them, Mr Abraham Mate, died on 2 November during detention at the correctional facility in Sorong City, Papua Barat Province. The trial against him was still ongoing (see images below, source: Jubi and Suara Papua). The cause of his death remains unclear. According to relatives, Abraham Mate was not in Kisor Village at the time of the incident.
Table of villagers arrested during a police raid in the Maybrat Regency on 14 October 2022
|No||Name||Location of arrest||Age||Additional info|
|1||Yanwaris Sewa||Susumuk Village, Aifat District||29 years||Police suspect for alleged involvement in the attack on Kisor military post in September 2021|
|2||Jonathan Assem||Faan Kahrio Village, Aifat Timur Tengah Distict||40 years||Employees of logging company PT Bangun Kayu Irian (BKI)|
|3||Gerardus Faan||Faan Kahrio Village, Aifat Timur Tengah Distict||40 years||Employees of logging company PT Bangun Kayu Irian (BKI)|
|4||Leonardus Kamat||Faan Kahrio Village, Aifat Timur Tengah Distict||56 years||Employees of logging company PT Bangun Kayu Irian (BKI)|
|5||Simon Kamat||Faan Kahrio Village, Aifat Timur Tengah Distict||39 years||Employees of logging company PT Bangun Kayu Irian (BKI)|
|6||Jefry Aifat||Kisor Village, Aifat Selatan District||34 years||Kisor villager|
|7||Zadrak Ayah||Kisor Village, Aifat Selatan District||40 years||Kisor Villager|
|8||Karel Saa||Kisor Village, Aifat Selatan District||50 years||Kisor villager|
|9||Manfret Ky||Kisor Village, Aifat Selatan District||14 years||Kisor villager|
Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Polres Sorong Selatan (-1.4460378750808258, 132.02171169798586)
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Barat Province, South Sorong Regency
total number of victims: 24
period of incident: 14.10.2022
perpetrator details: unknown
Issues: arbitrary detention, indigenous peoples
Further HRM News: https://humanrightspapua.org/news/2021/indigenous-peoples-flee-their-homes-in-fear-of-military-raids-in-maybrat-regency-papua-barat-province/, https://humanrightsmonitor.org/news/whats-wrong-with-the-indonesian-justice-system-trials-in-maybrat-provide-an-insight/
|Number||Name, Details||Gender||Age||Group Affiliation||Violations|
|1||Yanwaris Sewa||male||29||indigenous||arbitrary detention|
|1||Jonathan Assem||male||40||indigenous||arbitrary detention|
|1||Gerardus Faan||male||40||indigenous||arbitrary detention|
|1||Leonardus Kamat||male||56||indigenous||arbitrary detention|
|1||Simon Kamat||male||39||indigenous||arbitrary detention|
|1||Jefry Aifat||male||34||indigenous||arbitrary detention|
|1||Zadrak Ayah||male||40||indigenous||arbitrary detention|
|1||Karel Saa||male||50||indigenous||arbitrary detention|
|1||Manfret Ky||male||14||indigenous||arbitrary detention|