Jayapura, Jubi – A resident of Asiki Sub-district, Boven Digoel Regency, Papua died in a health clinic of a palm oil plantation company PT Tunas Sawa Erma on Saturday (16/5/2020). Prior to his death, a police officer reportedly tortured him.
The apostolic administrator of the Merauke Archdiocese Monseigneur Petrus Canisius Mandagi MSC asked the authority to investigate the incident and its perpetrator accordingly. Meanwhile, Yan Christian Warinussy, the Executive Director of the Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH) Manokwari, asked the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to intervene the investigation.
On Saturday morning Marius Betera found banana plants in his garden located in the plantation area of PT Tunas Sawa Ema (TSE) in Camp 19 destroyed. Hence, he thought the company’s excavator did it.
He then went to the police station in Camp 19 to file a complaint. When he couldn’t meet the police officers there, he went to PT TSE’s office to express his grievance. He complained that the management of PT TSE never gave him a notice about the area clearing. It made him upset and at the same time, lost.
When leaving the company’s office, Betera met a police officer with the initial “M”. He punched and kicked him on the stomach in front of the employees of PT TSE. From some witnesses, Jubi received information saying that Betera’s ear was bleeding from the beating.
Around 11 pm, Betera returned to the police station at Camp 19 to file a complaint on his persecution but couldn’t meet anyone there. Around 1 pm, he felt unwell. People bought him to the health clinic of PT TSE at Camp 19. He then reportedly died in that clinic.
Concerning his death, the Apostolic Administrator of the Merauke Archdiocese Monseigneur Petrus Canisius Mandagi MSC asked for investigation over the incident and said the perpetrator should go on trial. “I strongly condemn this murder. Killing anyone is a crime against humanity. Anyone who perpetrated this murder, especially if he was a member of security forces, must immediately be arrested, tried and punished,” said the bishop.
Bishop Mandagi firmly said that Papuans, like any other human races, are a picture of God. He warned that every police officer stationed in Papua should represent a character of security forces who commit to protecting people.
“It means the police should protect the entire people, not only those who work in the company. If there is a problem, they should put a dialogue as a priority, not violence,” said the bishop.
Separately, the Executive Director of LP3BH Manokwari Yan Christian Warinussy stated the alleged persecution towards Marius Betera must be thoroughly investigated. He said this violence act might involve some other police officers.
Therefore, he urged the National Human Rights Commission to intervene in the investigation of this case. “We urge the National Human Rights Commission to get involved in the investigation over this case. This case should be openly investigated, [so that’ the perpetrator can be examined and tried before the Merauke District Court,” he said. (*)
Jubi journalist Victor Mambor contributed in this article
Reporter: Angela Flassy
Editor: Pipit Maizier