Published Monday 2nd December 2019, 22:47
Reports by human rights defenders and media articles mention a total of 104 arrests in multiple locations across West Papua. The arrests occurred in relation to commemorations of 1st December, which many indigenous Papuans regard as the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. This year marks the 58th anniversary of the first official Morning Star flag raising under the Dutch colonial government. In Jayapura, the police summoned two leaders of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Markus Haluk and Edison Waromi. At least twenty arrestees were charged with treason.
Eight Papuans arrested in Manokwari
On 27 November 2019, the local police arrested eight indigenous Papuans on their way the Borasi Field in the city of Manokwari, where they wanted to participate in a peaceful political demonstration. They were taken into custody and are currently under investigation at the Manokwari District Police Station (Polres Manokwari). According to local media outlet Jubi, the police seized 29 Morningstar flags, posters, leaflets and two cars. The detainees stated that they had received leaflets calling for a peaceful demonstration at the Borasi field.
Four KNPB supporters arrested in Merauke
Police officers arrested four supporters of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) on 2 December 2019 in the Papuan town of Merauke. Police suspects that the four men sprayed Morningstar symbols on public buildings in various locations in Merauke. All four arrestees were allowed to leave the police station after officers had questioned them and seized several of their pro-independence attributes.
Police summons ULMWP leaders
The police summoned ULMWP Executive Director, Markus Haluk, and ULMWP Executive Chairman, Edison Waromi, in relation to a leaflet calling for a worship ceremony in commemoration of 1st December. Mr. Haluk and Mr. Waromi, together with a team of lawyers, came to Jayapura Municipality (Polresta Jayapura) police station on 30 November where they were questioned for several hours. The leaflet showed the names and electronic signatures of both ULMWP leaders. However, Markus Haluk and Edison Waromi claim that they neither made the leaflets, nor authorised them with their signatures. The police requested Markus Haluk to return to the police station on 1 December 2019 for further questioning. So far, the police has not pressed charges against the ULMWP leaders.
Police arrests four students in Jayapura after bringing morning star flag to Church
Police officers arrested the four Papuan students Marvin Yobe, Desepianus Dumupa, Paul Halapok and Devion Tekege on 1 December 2019 at the Gembala Baik Congregational Church in Abepura, Jayapura Town. The students brought Morningstar flags to the Sunday worship. They wore traditional clothes with morning star face paint. Plain cloth police officers arrested the four students during the worship ceremony and subsequently brought them to the Abepura sectoral police station and later to the Jayapura municipality police station, where the students were questioned (see intro image). They were released without charges on 2 December 2019 at 1.00 am. The police also summoned the pastor of Gembala Baik Congregation as a witness.
34 Papuans arrested in Sentani – 20 charged with treason
On 30 November 2019, police officers arrested 34 indigenous Papuans in Sentani, Jayapura Regency, on their way to the Trikora field, where they allegedly intended to raise the Morning Star flag. Fourteen of them were released because the police could not find sufficient evidence to press legal charges. The remaining 20 suspects were taken into custody. They have been charged with article 106 jo 87 and/or 110 jo 88 of Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason. Six of them were additionally charged with Article 2 (1) of Emergency Law12/1951 regarding illegal possession of slashing or stabbing weapons (see table below). The police claims that the 20 suspects carried member cards of the West Papua National Liberation Army.
54 Papuans arrested in Fakfak
Arrests Pikpik Fakfak editOn 1 December 2019, members of the Police Mobile Brigade Special Unit (Brimob) and 1803 Fakfak District Military Command arrested 54 indigenous Papuans in the districts Kayauni and Kramonmongga of Fakfak Regency. According to information received, the joint security forces applied force against 23 villagers in Warpa Village. The Head of the Fakfak District Police claimed in a public interview that the villagers allegedly resisted the arrest using traditional weapons like spears, bows and arrows. He further accused the suspects of planning to raise the Morning Star flag at the Regency office. It is currently not known what injuries the arrestees sustained during the arrest. The villagers had raised the Morning Star flag in their village around 3.00 pm. Subsequently, the joint security forces arrested one person in Kramongga Village and further suspects in the villages of Pikpik (see image on the right) and Mambuni-buni. The police seized morning star flags, 12 million rupiahs (about € 850) and machetes and other traditional weapons. All 54 Papuans were detained and are currently investigated by the police.