June 23, 2010

Papuan Political Prisoners


The Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua (referred to collectively here as “Papua”) occupy the western half of the island of New Guinea. Unlike the rest of Indonesia which gained independence in 1945, Papua was under Dutch control until the 1960s.

On December 1, 1961, the Papuan Council, a representative body sponsored by the Dutch colonial administration, declared that Papuan people were ready to establish a sovereign state, and issued a new national flag called the Morning Star.

Indonesia’s then president, Sukarno, had long maintained that Papua should be part of Indonesia and accused the Dutch of trying to create a “puppet state” on Indonesia’s doorstep. In 1962 he ordered Indonesian troops to invade Papua. The US government intervened diplomatically, and after negotiations, Indonesia and the Netherlands agreed to have the United Nations organize a referendum in Papua. The UN-sponsored “Act of Free Choice” took place in 1969, in which only 1,054 Papuans, hand-picked by the Indonesian government, voted unanimously to join Indonesia. Many Papuans consider the “Act of Free Choice” a fraudulent justification for Indonesia’s annexation of Papua.[28]

Over the last five decades, support for independence, fueled by resentment of Indonesian rule, loss of ancestral land to development projects, and the influx of migrants from elsewhere in the country, has taken the form of both an armed guerrilla movement, the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka or OPM), and a diverse series of non-violent organizations and initiatives. A common tactic of peaceful pro-independence advocates has been to raise the Papuan Morning Star flag in public ceremonies, particularly on the December 1 anniversary.

After Suharto’s resignation in 1998 the Indonesian government for a time permitted the Morning Star flag to be flown on the condition that it was raised alongside and placed in a lower position than the Indonesian flag. President Wahid deemed the Morning Star flag to be a cultural symbol. Efforts by Jakarta to address Papuan grievances also included granting the region Special Autonomy status in 2001 which involves the devolution of many political and fiscal powers to the province. The law also explicitly allows for public display of symbols of Papuan identity such as flags and songs. However, raising the Morning Star flag is prohibited by government regulation 77/2007 and the Indonesian courts continue to treat the raising of flags associated with pro-independence sentiment as treasonous and, as such, a banned form of expression.[29]

Nazarudin Bunas, the head of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Jayapura, Papua, reported that as of February 2010 there were 48 Papuan prisoners convicted of treason.[30]

Individual Case Profiles

Filep Karma

Filep Jacob Semuel Karma, age 51, has been in the Abepura prison for five years. In May 2005, the Abepura district court found him guilty of treason for organizing a pro-independence rally on December 1, 2004, and sentenced him to 15 years of imprisonment.[31] He is married with two teenage daughters.

Karma was born in 1959 into an elite family in Papua. His father, Andreas Karma, was a Dutch-educated civil servant who managed to retain his position under Indonesian rule, and was appointed regent of Wamena in the 1970s and Serui in the 1980s. Filep’s cousin, Constant Karma, is a former Papua deputy governor and now the head of Papua’s AIDS Eradication Commission.

In the early 1970s, Karma often heard his father and uncle talk quietly about the mistreatment of native Papuans under Indonesian rule, which they told him were much worse than the abuses suffered by Papuans under Dutch rule. While in junior high school, Karma wanted to get involved in the Papuans’ struggle using political means rather than violence. In 1979, he studied political science at the March 11 University in Solo, Central Java. He graduated in 1987 and began work as a civil servant in Jayapura.

In 1997, he received a scholarship to take an 11-month course at the Asian Institute of Management in Manila. When he returned to Indonesia in 1998, he travelled in Java and learned about widespread student protests against President Suharto.

On his return to Papua, Karma began to openly advocate for Papua’s independence from Indonesia. On July 2, 1998, he helped organize a large pro-independence rally and raised the pro-independence Morning Star flag on the water tower near the seaport in his hometown of Biak, Papua. A violent clash ensued in which approximately a dozen police were wounded. On July 6, the Indonesian military took control of Biak Island and opened fire on the protesters. The full death toll remains unknown as many bodies reportedly were loaded onto trucks and allegedly dumped in the sea from two Indonesian navy ships.[32] Biak residents claim they recovered numerous dead bodies on the seashore near Biak.

Karma alleges that many bodies were buried locally on small islands near Biak, and he personally estimates that more than 100 protesters were killed. To Human Rights Watch’s knowledge, the government has continuously failed to carry out a serious investigation of these incidents, or hold accountable the perpetrators of abuses against the people in Biak. Without an independent and impartial investigation to ensure accountability, the memories of those killings will continue to inflame tensions and varied death-toll estimates will continue to circulate.[33]

Karma was wounded on his legs by rubber bullets fired by the military on July 6. The police arrested him and held him in detention from July 6 to October 3, 1998. On January 25, 1999, the Biak district court found him guilty of treason for his leading role and the speeches he gave during the Biak protests and sentenced him to six-and-a-half years in jail. Karma appealed this sentence, won his appeal, and was freed on November 20, 1999.

After his release, he joined the TPN-OPM Forum of Former Political Detainees and Prisoners (Forum Mantan Tahanan dan Narapidana Politik TPN-OPM) whose objectives include helping Papuan prisoners and their families. Their chairman, John Mambor, joined the Presidium Papua Council and headed the pillar group within the council representing former political prisoners.

On November 10, 2001, members of the Indonesian special forces (Kopassus) killed Papuan leader Theys Eluay, the chairman of the Presidium Papua Council. This killing dramatically raised political tensions in Papua. Three years later, Karma helped organize a ceremony on December 1, 2004, to mark the anniversary of Papua’s independence from the Dutch. The event was attended by hundreds of Papuan students, who shouted the word “freedom!” and displayed the Morning Star flag. The chanting at the rally also included calls to reject the Special Autonomy law as insufficient.[34]

When the protesters tried to raise the Morning Star flag, Indonesian police attempted to forcibly disband the rally. Clashes broke out and the crowd attacked the police with blocks of wood, rocks, and bottles. The police responded by firing into the crowd. Karma was arrested immediately and charged with treason, and has remained incarcerated ever since. On October 27, 2005, the Abepura district court sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment. His colleague, graduate student Yusak Pakage, was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Today Filep Karma is probably one of Papua’s most popular pro-independence leaders. He has never advocated violence as a means of obtaining that goal. He said, “We want to engage in a dignified dialogue with the Indonesian government, a dialogue between two peoples with dignity, and dignity means we have no use of violence.”[35]

Karma says that authorities have denied him urgently needed medical attention.[36] In August 2009, he told friends that he had difficulties urinating. He requested medical assistance from the staff of Abepura prison in Jayapura, and prison director Anthonius Ayorbaba ordered that Karma be sent to the prison clinic. Clinic staff examined him, and instructed Karma to just drink more water and to take a rest. Finally, through the intervention of media and NGOs, prison personnel were persuaded to send Karma to Dok Dua hospital on August 18, 2009.

Prisoner Filep Karma in prison in Abepura on August 17, 2009, while enduring difficulties urinating. After denying his request to be treated at a hospital, prison officials told him instead to drink water and to rest with his legs elevated. Only after Bintang Papua newspaper published this photo, taken by a reporter, did prison officials agree to allow Karma to go to Dok Dua hospital. ©2009 Bintang Papua/Hendrik Yance Udam

The doctors at Dok Dua hospital examined Karma several times between August and October 2009, and finally recommended Karma immediately be sent for urology surgery, which they said could only be done in Jakarta.[37] Karma made an official request to be sent for surgery in Jakarta. But prison chief Ayorbaba told Karma’s family members that he is not authorized to order such a transfer and added the Indonesian government lacked funds to send Karma for treatment. Aryorbaba told family members to seek permission for the transfer from Nazarudin Bunas, the head of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Jayapura. But when they approached Bunas, he told Karma’s family to ask Ayorbaba to write the letter and argued the government had no budget to send Karma to Jakarta.[38]

A group of activists began a campaign on March 8, 2010, asking for public donations to cover medical treatment for Filep Karma and Ferdinand Pakage. The banner reads: “The illness of Filep Karma and other political prisoners is also the illness of the Papuan people … Let’s help and start humanitarian solidarity.”They collected 25 million rupiah (US$25,000) in the first two days of fundraising. ©2010 Garda Papua

Between December 2009 and February 2010, Karma, his family members, and supporters negotiated with Indonesian officials for the medical transfer. In March 2010, an NGO coalition called the Association (“Solidarity”) of Papuan Human Rights Abuse Victims (Solidaritas Korban Pelanggaran Ham Papua, SKPHP) ran a campaign to raise funds for Karma and Pakage that raised enough money to send Karma to Jakarta. But then both the Ministry of Law and Human Rights and Ayorbaba continued to refuse to proceed with the permit.[39] Karma told Human Rights Watch, “I used to be a bureaucrat myself. But I have never experienced such [use of] a red tape on a sick man.”[40]

A student activist holds a donation box to help political prisoners at an intersection in Abepura, March 2010. The Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights refused to send political prisoners for necessary medical treatment on the grounds that it could not cover the costs. ©2010 Garda Papua

In early May 2010, following numerous complaints of human rights abuses at Abepura prison, the government sent a new prison chief, Liberty Sitinjak, to replace Ayorbaba as head of Abepura prison.[41] On May 27, the Ministry of Health sent two Jakarta-based doctors to Abepura to check Karma’s health situation and determined he could have urology surgery in Makassar hospital. At this writing, the surgery has not yet been performed.[42]


Buchtar Tabuni

Buchtar Tabuni, age 31, is a leader of the West Papua National Committee, a pro-independence organization that has grown more radical since his imprisonment.[43]

He was arrested on December 3, 2008, in his house in Sentani, near the Sentani airport, Jayapura, for organizing protests against the shooting of his relative, Opinus Tabuni. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment under article 160 of the Criminal Code for inciting hatred against the Indonesian government. Prosecutors also charged Tabuni with treason (articles 106 and 110), but the judges acquitted him on those two charges while sentencing him on the third.

Tabuni was born in 1979 in Papani, a small village 20 kilometers west of Wamena in the Central Highlands region of Papua. Indonesian soldiers killed his uncle in 1977. In 1998, he went to college in Makassar, South Sulawesi, to study engineering.

He became more politically active when a distant relative, Opinus Tabuni, was killed by a stray bullet while taking part in a peaceful rally celebrating United Nations Indigenous People’s Day on August 9, 2008, in Wamena. Many Indonesian police, intelligence, and military officers were monitoring the rally when Opinus was struck and killed.

Buchtar Tabuni helped establish the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) in Sentani. On October 16, 2008, KNPB organized rallies in Papua and Java to welcome the establishment of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in London. On December 1, 2008, KNPB organized a peaceful celebration of Papua’s independence in the cemetery in Sentani where Theys Eluay’s is buried. Knowing about the Indonesian government ban on raising the Morning Star flag, Buchtar Tabuni worked with fellow activists to create many small Morning Star flags, too small to be classified as a “flag” but large enough to wave visibly. Still, two days later, the Indonesian police arrested him and an Indonesian court subsequently sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment.

On February 26, 2009, Abepura prison officials discovered that Tabuni had a mobile phone in his pocket. A prison guard hit Tabuni in his eye, causing it to bleed. Prison guards then temporarily moved Tabuni to the Jayapura police detention center, apparently so that Indonesia’s law and human rights minister, Andi Mattalatta, would not see the wound when making a planned inspection of the prison the next day. After Mattalatta left Papua, guards returned Tabuni to Abepura prison.

On November 26, 2009, three soldiers, one policeman, and one prison guard entered Tabuni’s cell in the Abepura prison. Tabuni told Human Rights Watch that they attacked him without provocation, hitting his head repeatedly, causing him to bleed profusely until other prisoners intervened and stopped the attack. Prison chief Ayorbaba allegedly would not permit him to be treated at a hospital. As news of the attack spread, Tabuni’s supporters in Jayapura believed that the attack was part of a plan to murder Tabuni. So that evening, his supporters surrounded the Abepura prison. They smashed windows, while demanding that the police and military investigate the case and calling for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to punish prison chief Ayorbaba for permitting the attack to occur.[44] Three TNI soldiers and a policeman were publicly implicated and detained by authorities for involvement in the attack, but the Indonesian government has yet to produce a report on the attack or bring these persons to trial.[45]

On April 6, 2010, the Papuan office of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights conducted an unannounced visit to the Abepura prison and recommended the government transfer Ayorbaba without delay. Juolens Ongge of Komnas HAM told the media that there had been more than 20 incidents of human rights violations at the prison since Ayorbaba took over the prison management in August 2008. Ongge confirmed guards beat prisoners frequently and found security in the prisons was poor and that many prisoners had been able to escape.[46] As noted above, Ayorbaba was replaced as prison head in early May 2010.

Ferdinand Pakage

Ferdinand Pakage, worked as a parking attendant in Abepura, near the Cenderawasih University campus prior to his arrest. In 2006, police accused him of stoning and stabbing a police officer to death during an anti-Freeport protest near the Cenderawasih campus. An Abepura court sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment under article 214 of the Criminal Code, covering the killing of government officials.

On March 15, 2006, more than 1,000 students had staged a protest demanding the closure of Freeport McMoran’s mining operation in Papua. The students, organized under a group called the Street Parliament (Parlemen Jalanan), blockaded the main street in front of the campus.[47] Approximately 200 anti-riot police tried to end the blockade by firing teargas, beating the protesters, and arresting a protest leader. The students reacted by rioting and throwing stones at the police. Three police officers were brutally killed, beaten to death by protesters. The dead included First Brig. Rahman Arizona, whom Pakage was accused of killing, and an Air Force intelligence officer.

Pakage, his parents, and his sister contend that he did not participate in the riot and thus could not be responsible for the killing. Pakage argues that the testimony of the prosecutors’ two main witnesses against him—Pakage’s close friend Luis Gedi, a shop keeper, and Alia Mustafa Samori, a police officer—was coerced or unreliable.

Police arrested both Gedi and Pakage on the day after the riots, March 16, while walking near the site of the protests.[48] The police allegedly beat Gedi and forced him to declare he was involved in killing Brigadier Rahman. The police also allegedly pressed him to name another suspect, and he ultimately named Pakage.[49]

At trial, the prosecutors brought seven witnesses but only Gedi and Officer Samori testified in person that they had actually seen Pakage stoning the victim. Five other witnesses, all police officers, provided written testimony but claimed they did not see the stoning. Prosecutors also presented as evidence the results of a blood test on a knife taken from Pakage’s house days later and alleged to have been used to kill Rahman. Police claimed the knife had traces of the blood of the victim.[50]

According to Pakage’s defense statement, he was also tortured by more than two dozen police officers at the Jayapura police station. He alleges that officers threw boiling water at him, and beat him until he bled from his head, lips, legs, hands, and body. Pakage wrote that a Jayapura deputy police chief shot him in the right leg on the night of his arrest, March 16, around 11 p.m., after police under the deputy’s supervision could not find a knife in the sewer outside the campus as Pakage had stated under torture. He also alleges that a detective police chief threatened to kill him with a pistol.[51]

On March 21, 2006, the police went to Pakage’s house and seized his mother’s Kiwi 30-centimeter stainless steel kitchen knife as well as his shirt printed with the number “15” and alleged the knife was the murder weapon.[52] The police also said he was seen wearing that shirt during the violence on March 15. Ferdinand’s father, Petrus Pakage, told Human Rights Watch, “It’s all fabricated. I signed the document and handed over the shirt, the kitchen knife. But it was a knife to cut vegetables. His mother always keeps it at home.”

Petrus Pakage added: “If you are shot in your leg, and all the officers are all against you, beating you, like an animal, it is difficult not to bow under pressure.”[53]

Both Gedi and Pakage are currently incarcerated at the Abepura prison, where they both told Human Rights Watch they have again been tortured. Pakage reported that on September 22, 2008, Abepura prison guards took him to the prison security office, where a prison security chief allegedly struck him with a rubber club six times in the head. A guard then hit Pakage with his bare hands, while the security chief repeatedly kicked Pakage with his boot. Another guard allegedly punched Pakage’s head while clenching a lock and key in his hand, and the protruding key penetrated Pakage’s right eye.[54]

Guards allegedly threw the unconscious Pakage into an isolation cell at around 8: 20 a.m. Another political prisoner, Selphius Bobii, heard the noise of the beating and later saw Pakage inside the isolation cell. Bobii demanded prison guards immediately take Pakage to hospital, but guards did not send Pakage to the Abepura hospital until 2 p.m.[55] Pakage says that the hospital was closed and he was not seen by doctors until the next day, September 23, at Dok Dua hospital in Jayapura. By that time, it was too late to save his right eye because the bleeding was too severe.

“My son suffered two times. First, he got a 15-year imprisonment when there’re no witnesses, no evidence. Second, he lost his eye,” said Petrus Pakage.

Abepura prison chief Anthonius Ayorbaba wrote a report on the incident, calling it “an accident” that the guard, Herbert Toam, hit Pakage without realizing that the key was still in the lock. The report also claimed that Pakage had previously threatened a prison guard with a dagger. The report does not mention the role of the other prison guards in the attack.[56]

In December 2008, Ayorbaba told Human Rights Watch that the report on the incident had been submitted to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights as well as the National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, or Komnas HAM), and added that the guard named in the report would very likely be fired. Ayorbaba said he had advised the guard, Herbert Toam, to take a leave of absence from work and settle the case through traditional means, involving negotiations with Pakage’s clan.[57] Toam did not go to work from October 2008 to March 2009 but continued to draw his monthly salary. The Pakage clan and Toam did not reach any settlement of the case. Toam returned to work at the prison in April 2009 and reportedly continues to work there.[58]

Neither the Ministry of Law and Human Rights nor Komnas HAM appears to have conducted any serious investigation into this matter. In October 2007, Pakage’s family tried to report the case to the Jayapura police, but the police refused to register and file the case. The family orally lodged a complaint with the Ministry which received no response. In October 2007, the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, a church-based NGO, wrote to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights office, complaining about various cases of abuse, including Pakage’s case, but received no response to their letter.[59]

Simon Tuturop and Tadeus Weripang

Tadeus Weripang and Simon Tuturop are friends, both born in Fakfak, Papua, in the 1950s. On July 3, 1982, they joined dozens of other Papuans in raising the Morning Star flag in Jayapura, and were both arrested. Weripang was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and Tuturop to ten years.

Both served two years at Abepura prison and the remainder of their terms at Kalisosok prison in Surabaya. When Weripang was freed in 1987, he went back to Fakfak to work as a farmer. Tuturop, released in 1989, went to Jakarta to help other political prisoners.

After President Suharto was forced to step down in May 1998, Tuturop and Weripang rejoined the Papuan pro-independence movement. Tuturop helped 100 Papuan leaders, representing Papua’s seven traditional areas, to visit Jakarta and to have an audience with President B.J. Habibie in February 2000, where they made a request for Papuan sovereignty. Habibie turned them down.[60]

Today the two are both back in prison, imprisoned for raising the Morning Star flag at the Pepera Building in Fakfak, West Papua province, on July 19, 2008. Pepera stands for “Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat” or the Act of Free Choice, and it was in this building that many Papuans believe Indonesian authorities manipulated the 1969 UN referendum.

Indonesian police arrested 69 people involved in the flag-raising ceremony. Sixty were released and the remaining nine, including Tuturop and Weripang, were tried. Tuturop says he personally was not tortured, but that the police severely beat eight other detainees. “Maybe because I am already 60 years old they have no feeling to torture an old man,” said Tuturop.[61]

A criminal court found Tuturop and Weripang guilty of treason under Criminal Code articles 106 and 110 and sentenced both to two years in prison. After the prosecutor appealed the leniency of the sentence, the Papua High Court increased their sentence to four years.

Roni Ruben Iba

Roni Ruben Iba is a hotel security guard in Manokwari, West Papua province. Police arrested him and about 35 others for raising a pro-independence flag on January 1, 2009, outside the Bintuni Bay district government office. They raised a flag that resembled, but was not the same as, the Morning Star flag.[62]

At their trial, the defendants said they were mistreated during the arrest and at the Bintuni Bay police station. They alleged that the station police kicked them, beat them, and used a rifle butt to strike their heads and bodies.

On November 12, 2009, a Manokwari district court convicted Roni Ruben Iba and two of his clan members, Isak Iba and Piter Iba, for treason under articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code. Roni Ruben Iba was sentenced to three years in prison while the other two received two years each. They now are imprisoned in Manokwari prison.


[28] US President Barack Obama’s stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was among the Indonesian soldiers sent to invade Papua prior to the 1969 UN-supervised Act of Free Choice. In his book Dreams From My Father, Obama describes how Soetoro was changed—and traumatized—by what he had seen in Papua, including the killing of Papuans. See Andreas Harsono, “Obama Has the Power to Help Papua, the ‘Weak Man’ Under Indonesian Rule,” The Jakarta Globe, February 22, 2010.

[29] “MRP Calling for the Release of Those Classified as Rebels,” http://www.manukoreri.net/west-papua-upheaval-media-briefings-and-background/mrp-calling-for-the-release-of-those-classified-as-rebels/ (accessed May 29, 2010).

[30] Cyntia Warwe, “SKPHP Prihatin Filep Karma dan Tahanan Politik Di Papua,” April 4, 2010, (describing her meeting with Bunas on February 16, 2010), http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/notes/cyntia-warwe/skphp-prihatin-filep-karma-dan-tahanan-politik-di-papua/407736255971 (accessed on April 9, 2010); Human Rights Watch interview with Cyntia Warwe, May 27, 2010. However, as the report was going to press, another official in Papua confidentially told Human Rights Watch that the actual figure of Papuan political prisoners was 39. Human Rights Watch communication with government official (identity withheld), May 31, 2010.

[31] Human Rights Watch interviews with Filep Karma, Jayapura.

[32] See International Crisis Group, “Radicalization and Dialogue in Papua,” Asia Report no. 188, Brussels/Jakarta, March 11, 2010, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-east-asia/indonesia/188-radicalisation-and-dialogue-in-papua.aspx (accessed May 28, 2010).

[33] For a longer account of the incidents in Biak, see Lindsay Murdoch, “Morning Star Massacre,” The Age, November 14, 1998, http://www.blythe.org/nytransfer-subs/98pac/West_Papua_Massacre (accessed May 31, 2010).

[34] Human Rights Watch, Indonesia - Protest and Punishment: Political Prisoners in Papua, February 2007, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2007/02/20/protest-and-punishment.

[35] Human Rights Watch interview with Filep Karma, Jayapura.

[36] There is a history of Indonesian officials denying medical care to Papuan political prisoners. Tom Wanggai received a 20-year prison term for treason for taking part in a pro-independence flag-raising ceremony on December 14, 1988. In 1995, while in the Cipinang high-security prison in Jakarta, Wanggai began to complain about his health, but was not given timely medical assistance. He died on March 12, 1996 in Kramat Jati police hospital in Jakarta. George J. Aditjondro, “Mengenang Perjuangan Tom Wanggai: Dengan Bendera, atau Apa?” Tabloid Jubi, Jayapura, March 20, 2000. A similar case is that of Hardi Tsugumol, who was charged with providing logistical support to Papuan fighters, was in the Indonesian national police headquarters’ detention center when in June 2006 he developed serious heart problems. His medical treatment was delayed until late August 2006, when he finally was permitted to have heart surgery. His lawyer said he repeatedly asked the Central Jakarta court to attend to Tsugumol’s health problems but only infrequent follow-up visits by a doctor were permitted. Tsugumol died in December 2006. Eben Kirksey and Andreas Harsono, “Criminal Collaborations? Antonius Wamang and the Indonesian Military in Timika,” South East Asia Research, vol. 16, no. 2 (July 2008), pp. 165–197.


[37] In a letter dated October 5, 2009, Dr. Mauritz Okosera and Jhon Sambara, respectively the head of patient transfers and the administration head of Dok Dua Hospital, wrote to PT Asuransi Kesehatan Indonesia, an insurance company, saying that patient Filep Karma should be sent to PGI Cikini Hospital in Jakarta for urology surgery. On November 11, 2009, Dr. Donald Arronggear of Dok Dua hospital detailed the results of Karma’s medical examinations, conducted at the hospital from August to October 2009. Copies of the two letters are on file with Human Rights Watch.

[38] Radio 68H, “Siksa Tahanan Politik di Balik Jeruji Besi,” May 4, 2010, http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=385953959914 (accessed on May 17, 2010).

[39] Human Rights Watch interview with Peneas Lokbere, Jayapura, March 12, 2010. SKPHP asked for public donations to cover Karma’s medical treatment. Their posters read: “The illness of Filep Karma and other political prisoners is also the illness of Papuan people … Let’s help and start humanitarian solidarity.”In Indonesian, the posters read: “Sakit Filep Karma Dan Tahanan Politik Adalah Sakit Rakyat Papua-Rakyat Papua ... Mari Bersolidaritas Untuk Kemanusiaan’’ and “Pemerintah Tidak Peduli Membiayai Pengobatan Tahanan Politik Filep Karma Dan Ferdinand Pakage.’’ SKPHP collected 25 million rupiah (US$25,000) in the first two days of fundraising. Karma raised an additional 75 million rupiah from friends.

[40] Human Rights Watch interview with Filep Karma, Jayapura.

[41] Elaine Pearson (Human Rights Watch), “The Thinker: Papua Behind Bars,” commentary, The Jakarta Globe, May 18, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/18/thinker-papua-behind-bars.

[42] Human Rights Watch communications with Cyntia Warwe, May 26 and 27, 2010.

[43] With the imprisonment of Tabuni, there have been leadership changes in the West Papua National Committee, and some of the leaders have started to advocate the use of violence. See International Crisis Group, “Radicalization and Dialogue in Papua,” Asia Report no. 188, March 11, 2010, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-east-asia/indonesia/188-radicalisation-and-dialogue-in-papua.aspx (accessed May 28, 2010).


[44] “Lapas Abepura Rusuh Aksi Buchtar Tabuni,” Metro TV, November 27, 2009, http://metrotvnews.com/index.php/metromain/news/2009/11/27/6346/Lapas-Abepura-Rusuh-Aksi-Buchtar-Tabuni (accessed June 2, 2010); “Lemahnya Pengamanan Lapas Abepura,” Tabloid Jubi, November 27, 2009, http://tabloidjubi.com/index.php/index-berita/87-lembar-olah-raga/4434-lemahnya-pengamanan-penjara-abepura (accessed June 2, 2010); “Puluhan Massa Menggeruduk Lapas Abepura,” Vivanews, November 27, 2009, http://nasional.vivanews.com/news/read/109474-puluhan_massa_menggeruduk_lapas_abepura (accessed June 2, 2010).

[45] “Indonesia: Stop Prison Brutality in Papua,” Human Rights Watch news release, June 4, 2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/06/04/indonesia-stop-prison-brutality-papua; and US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2009: Indonesia,” March 11, 2010, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135992.htm (accessed May 30, 2010).

[46] Jerry Omona and Angga Haksoro, “Kekerasan di Penjara Komnas HAM Papua: Copot Kepala LP Abepura,” Voice of Human Rights, April 10, 2010.

[47] Human Rights Watch interview with Chosmol Yual, the protest coordinator of the Street Parliament, Doyo Baru prison, Jayapura.

[48] Human Rights Watch interview with Ferdinand Pakage, Jayapura. Detention letter signed by Jayapura Police Adjunct Commissionaire Taufik Pribadi, March 17, 2006, copy on file with Human Rights Watch.

[49] Human Rights Watch interview with Luis Gedi, Jayapura.

[50] Criminal accusation filed by prosecutors against Ferdinand Pakage (“Tuntutan Pidana Terdakwa Ferdinand Pakage alias Feri”), Kejaksaan Negeri Jayapura, July 12, 2006, copy on file with Human Rights Watch.

[51] Defense statement of Ferdinand Pakage (“Pembalaan [sic] Terdakwa Ferdinand Pakage alias Feri”), Jayapura, July 26, 2006. His defense lawyers asked the judges to release Pakage on the grounds that the prosecutors had doubted the only witness, police officer Alia Mustafa Samori, who testified that he had seen a Papuan youth with a shirt numbered “15” stoning Arizona Rahman on March 16, 2006. “Nota Pembelaan Penasehat Hukum Terdakwa Ferdinand Pakage,” Jayapura, July 26, 2006.

[52] The items are referred to in a seizure document signed by Jayapura Police Adjunct Commissionaire Syafri Sinaga, dated March 21, 2006.

[53] Human Rights Watch interview with Petrus Pakage, Jayapura, December 4, 2008.

[54] Human Rights Watch interview with Ferdinand Pakage, Jayapura; Human Rights Watch with Luis Gedi, Jayapura.

[55] Human Rights Watch interview with Selphius Bobii, Jayapura.

[56] Antonius Ayorbaba provided a copy of his undated chronology to Human Rights Watch in Jayapura on December 6, 2008, copy on file with Human Rights Watch.

[57] Human Rights Watch interview with Antonius Ayorbaba, Jayapura, December 6, 2008.

[58] Ayorbaba contended that Pakage had run away from the prison and later tried to rob a meat seller in Abepura. He said that Petrus Pakage, Ferdinand’s father, admitted that Ferdinand had a dagger with him. Petrus also admitted that his son had stayed at home for one month, a practice quite common in the Abepura prison if one bribes a prison official. Human Rights Watch interview with Petrus Pakage, Abepura, December 4, 2008. Rujinem Basuki, the butcher on Gerilyawan Street, Abepura, told Human Rights Watch that she remembered that a young Papuan man matching Pakage’s description tried to sell a goat to her, but it was a normal transaction, and he did not try to rob her or use any dagger, as Ayorbaba had alleged. She questioned why Ayorbaba used her name in his report. Human Rights Watch interview with Rujinem Basuki, Jayapura, December 7, 2008. No charges were ever filed against Pakage for the armed robbery attempt Ayurbaba alleged.

[59] On June 4, 2009, Human Rights Watch published a statement on abusive prison guards in Abepura. It chronicled more than two dozen cases of beatings and physical abuse since Ayorbaba, a Papuan civil servant who previously worked in the Jayapura office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, became prison warden in August 2008. Ayorbaba denied the findings of the report, admitting only the beating of Pakage, and criticized Human Rights Watch. Cenderawasih Pos, a local newspaper, was allegedly pressured into apologizing to Ayorbaba for publishing the Human Rights Watch report and then retracted the story. “Indonesia: Stop Prison Brutality in Papua,” Human Rights Watch news release, June 4, 2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/06/04/indonesia-stop-prison-brutality-papua.

[60] Peter King, West Papua & Indonesia since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy or Chaos? (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2004).

[61] Human Rights Watch interview with Simon Tuturop, Fakfak.

[62] Some Papuans do not like the fact that the Morning Star flag colors are the same as those of the Dutch flag: red, white, blue. They want to use a red-and-black dominated flag. According to Tom Wanggai, red and black are colors most Papuan think representing their land (red) and people (dark skin). See: Aditjondro, “Mengenang Perjuangan Tom Wanggai: Dengan Bendera, atau Apa?” Tabloid Jubi.