Police arrest 83 Papuans after burial ceremony – Five persons processed for attacking officer

Officers of the Jayapura police arrested 83 Papuans following the burial ceremony of Mr Awi Cris Pahabol at the Waena Cemetery in Jayapura on 28 March 2022. The deceased was a member of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a local movement organisation, promoting the right to self-determination through non-violent actions. While 77 arrestees were released within 24 hours, the police charged the five KNPB activists Mr Erepul Sama, Mr Dani Esema, Mr Frengky Edoay, Mr Luky Wisapla and Mr Yohanes Koyop with Article 170 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on violence against objects or persons.

According to the Papuan Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua), several suspects were subjected to torture during arrest and interrogation. Police officers at the Jayapura municipality prevented LBH Papua lawyers from meeting with the arrestees, resulting in 13 suspects being interrogated without the presence of lawyers. Previous misconduct by two police officers causing the situation to escalate has not been processed by the police.

Prior to the arrest, two police officers reportedly disturbed the procession to the burial site causing an argument between the two parties. The police officers overtook the car convoy with a motorcycle while taking photos and recordings of the people attending the burial. Thereupon, the car convoy stopped the police vehicle. Several persons jumped off the cars and allegedly ill-treated one of the officers before the procession continued to the cemetery. The other officer was able to escape and immediately reported the attack to his colleagues. Following the burial, police officers arrested all 83 participants, most of them relatives and KNPB activists (see photos, source: independent human rights defenders).

LBH Papua lawyers claim that the police are processing the suspects without having evidence of the involvement of their clients in the attack against the officer. The five suspects deny any wrongdoing. Some of them testified they were still in Sentani as the attack occurred while others said they had already been at the cemetery to dig a hole and prepare the burial site. The lawyers argue that the police arrested the wrong suspects. They are concerned that the police are forcing the prosecution despite having sufficient evidence against their clients.

LBH Papua called upon the police to uphold the principle of equality before the law. The chronology of events indicates that two criminal violations occurred, namely the misconduct of the police officers on the hand, and the attack against the police officer on the other hand. Accordingly, the police should initiate an investigation into both criminal offences. LBH Papua director, Mr Emanuel Gobay, stated there are indications that the police officers violated Article 134f on the priority of mourning processions of Law No 22/2009 concerning Traffic and Road Transportation and Article 3g of Government Regulation No 2/2003 concerning Disciplinary Regulations for Members of the Indonesian National Police.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Waena Cemetery, Waena, Jayapura Municipality (-2.595562539897185, 140.62363632923106)
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Province, Jayapura Municipality, Heram District
total number of victims: 83
period of incident: 28.03.2022
perpetrator: police
perpetrator details: officers of the Jayapura Municipality Police
Issues: criminalisation, arbitrary arrest, police negligence, impunity
Sources: LBH Papua, Jubi

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Erepul Sama, KNPB membermaleunknownindigenous, political activistarbitrary arrest, criminalisation
1Dani Esema, KNPB membermaleunknownindigenous, political activistarbitrary arrest, criminalisation
1Frengky Edoay, KNPB membermaleunknownindigenous, political activistarbitrary arrest, criminalisation
1Luky Wisapla, KNPB membermaleunknownindigenous, political activistarbitrary arrest, criminalisation
1Mr Yohanes, KNPB membermaleunknownindigenous, political activistarbitrary arrest, criminalisation
77KNPB members, relatives of deceasedmale & femaleunknownindigenous, political activistarbitrary arrest

Photos

Arrested KNPB members, detained at the Jayapura Municipality police station
Arrestees arriving at the Jayapura Municipality police station
Video of LBH Director, Mr Emanuel Gobay, in front of the Jayapura Municipality police station. Mr Gobay and his team of lawyers were not allowed to enter the police station and meet with the arrestees.
Arrested KNPB members, detained at the Jayapura Municipality police station
KNPB members and relatives sitting at the Waena cemetery
Police and military personnel arriving at the Waena Cemetery, Jayapura
Burial of Mr Awi Cris Pahabol at the Waena Cemetery

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