KNPB activist
Kristian Yandun rests on a bed in an emergency ward in Merauke Navy Hospital in early February 2021. He died on Feb. 27. Courtesy of Coalition of Law and Human Rights Enforcers Papua

Merauke Police release 12 KNPB activists, accused of treason, after failing to complete dossiers on time


West Papua No.1 News Portal | Jubi


Jayapura, Jubi –  One of the lawyers of 13 detainees (one died in custody) in Merauke Police said the police released the remaining 12 detainees on April 2, 2021, after they failed to complete the dossiers on the treason allegation in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP).


Lawyer Weltermans Tahulending, from Cenderawasih Legal Aid Association, which is part of Papuan Law and Human Rights Enforcers Coalition, said the police could no longer legally detain the 12 activists from the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB).



Read also: ‘It’s illegal’: Merauke court hears expert witness for 14 KNPB arrest case


Tahulending told Jubi on Saturday that the police detained them on Dec. 14, 2020 until Jan. 2, 2021. But because the investigation was not completed, the prosecutors’ office extended the detention period, in adherence to article 24 clause 2 in KUHAP, from Jan. 3, 2021 to Feb. 11, 2021.


On Feb. 11, their detention period should have been over but because the police were still investigating, they extended the detention period again, in adherence to article 29 clause 1, 2, and 3 in KUHAP. They got the decision from Merauke District Court that allowed them to hold the self determination activists from Feb. 12 to March 13. The investigation was still incomplete, so the district court issued another decision to extend the period again from March 14 to April 12.


Tahulending said the police released the detainees 10 days earlier because their investigation process did not see much progress. He said he read the news on Cepos Online on March 25, which made him conclude that the dossiers were still far from complete.


Read also: West Papua KNPB activist held for nine hours by Mimika Police


The 12 were released but they had to “report” to the police several times.


A senior lawyer, Gustav Kawer, said if the police and the judicial system in Indonesia were fair and independent, they would not continue the case. Kawer said the case was weak since the beginning. The charges accused of the detainees were not criminal charges, he said.


“But our courts are not independent. They sided with the powerful, so they rejected the pre-trial. In the end, it was proven, they could not continue the case because of legal reasons.” he said.


During a hearing in the pre-trial, Dr. Nur Asmarani, a criminal law expert, told the judge that the arrest was illegal. Nur also pointed out that the arrests allegedly involved beatings.


Read also: KNPB activist denied proper medical treatment in police detention: Lawyer


On Dec. 13 last year, Merauke Police arrested 14 KNPB activists in two separate places, including the KNPB office in Merauke. Gobay claimed that the activists were beaten using rattan. “All the KNPB activists had their bodies beaten using rattan. Four of them were told to lie down on the ground, and then they were brought to Merauke Police precinct,” said Gobay on Dec. 21, 2020.


He said the police continued the beating in the Merauke Police precinct. One of them, identified as Kristian Yandun, had his head bleeding after the beating while Michael Bteop had his back bleeding.


Out of 14, the lawyers represented 13, including Yandun. Later on Feb. 27, Yandun died in the hospital.


The activists who were arrested and allegedly beaten were Charles Sraun (38), Petrus Paulus Kontremko (32), Kristian Yandun (38), Robertus Landa (23), Michael Beteop (24), Elias Kmur (38), Marianus Anyum (25), Kristian. M. Anggunop (24), Emanuel T. Omba (24), Petrus Kutey (27), Linus Pasim (26), Salerius Kamogou (24), Petrus Koweng (28), and Yohanes Yawon (23).


Coalition of Law and Human Rights Enforcers Papua released a report made available to Jubi on Feb. 11. The coalition claimed that the National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel came to the office of KNPB Almasuh chapter in Merauke Regency on Dec. 13, riding two cars.


The coalition said the personnel besieged the building right away, without showing them a warrant and an explanation of the reason of the arrest. They took KNPB activists identified as Zakarias Yakobus Sraun, Piter Wambon, Robertus Landa, Kristian Yandum, Michael Bunop, and Elia Kmur.


The coalition said the Brimob told four of them to strip and lie down, face down, on the ground. They tied the activists’ hands on their back and then the police beat them with rattan and then they stepped on the KNPB activist bodies.


Later at about 11 pm, Brimob came again to the KNPB office and they took eight more activists to the detention center.


Editor: Kristianto Galuwo

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