Eleven Students arrested for removing name board of new government office in Wamena – three students remain in custody

Officers of the Jayawijaya District Police (Polres Jayawijaya) arrested eleven university students in the highland town of Wamena on 7 September 2022. Mr Hengki Hilapok, Mr Opinus Asso, Mrs Iren Siep, Mrs Maria Walilo, Mr Alfin Hilapok, Mr Konius Doga, Mr Tanus Siep, Mrs Anike Kiniya, Mr Lukas Daby, Mr Niko Wetipo and Mr Selpianus Lokobal organised a spontaneous protest against the planned erection of the new Papua Pegunungan Governor’s office on the land of the Jayawijaya Education Department. The students removed the temporary name board of the governor’s office in the front yard of the education department building (see photos below, source: independent HRDs).

The police arrested the students around 9.00 am and detained them at the district police station for one day (see photos below, source: independent HRDs). Eight of the students were released on 8 September 2022, while Mr Hengky Hilapok, chairman of the Jayawijaya Pupil and Students Association (HMPJ), Mr Opinus Asso, chairman of the Jayawijaya Regency Student Association (HMKJ), and Mr Lukas Daby (HMPJ member) remain in detention (see photos below, source: independent HRDs). The police charged the students with Article 170 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on violence against persons or objects.

A lawyer who tried to meet with the eleven students shortly after the arrest declared that the police prevented him from providing legal assistance to the arrestees. He was later allowed to visit Mr Hengky Hilapok, Mr Opinus Asso, and Mr Lukas Daby during detention (see photo on top, source: independent HRDs). According to the lawyer, the police should have used Article 406 KUHP on vandalising other people’s property. The lawyer and students called upon the Jayawijaya Education Department to revoke the police report.

Student activists remove the name board

Student activists during detention