photo of Buchtar Tabuni

Police intimidate and arrest Papuan activist Buchtar Tabuni and six others in Jayapura

Six police officers intimidated and arrested the Papuan activist and chairman of West Papua National Parliament (PNWP), Mr Buchtar Tabuni, along with six activists of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in his house in Jayapura on 24 March 2022. Mr Tabuni and one activist were reportedly ill-treated during the arrest. Both organisations promote the right to self-determination through non-violent political actions and diplomacy.

The officers had received intelligence information that a meeting among independence activists would take place in Mr Tabuni’s house. The officers reportedly entered Mr Tabuni’s property and took photos without showing a warrant or asking for permission to enter. A heated argument followed. The police claim one of the activists attacked an officer. Mr Tabuni declared that the police officers used excessive and unnecessary force during the arrest, resulting in injuries among two activists. According to information received, a police officer punched Mr Buchtar Tabuni in the face, causing a bruise on his left temple (see photo, source: Jubi). Another officer allegedly choked one of the activists resulting in difficulties to swallow fluid and food.

The seven activists were detained and interrogated at the Jayapura Municipality police headquarters. Mr Emanuel Gobay, a lawyer and director of the Papuan Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua), tried to visit the activists but was reportedly prevented from entering the police station. All seven were released in the late evening of 24 March 2022l.    

Background

Mr Buchtar Tabuni was repeatedly arrested and prosecuted for his political views and affiliations. On 17 June 2020, judges at the Balikpapan District Court sentenced him to eleven years imprisonment, to be reduced by the period of detention. He and six other Papuan activists were arrested for allegedly organising a series of protests against the racial discrimination of indigenous Papuans in Indonesia. The demonstrations occurred in all towns across West Papua and many Indonesian cities throughout August and September 2019. Amnesty International demanded an immediate release of the seven prisoners of conscience (PoCs). All of them have served their sentences but continue to be closely monitored by authorities.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Kambolker, Waena, Jayapura Municipality (-2.576442, 140.648385)
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Province, Kota Jayapura, Heram District
total number of victims: 7
period of incident: 24.03.2022
perpetrator: police
perpetrator details: Six officers of the Jayapura Municipality Police
Issues: criminalisation, intimidation, torture & ill-treatment, excessive use of force, freedom of opinion and expression
Sources: Jubi, Suara Papua Further HRM News: https://humanrightspapua.org/news/2020/ninth-update-on-trials-and-detentions-after-anti-racism-riots-in-west-papua/

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Buchtar Tabuni, member of the West Papua National Parliamentmaleunknownindigenous, activiststorture
1unknown, activist of the United Liberation Movement for West Papuaunknownunknownindigenous, activiststorture
5unknown, activists of the United Liberation Movement for West Papuaunknownunknownindigenous, activistsarbitrary detention