V. Summary of Other Cases

Welmus Musa Asso, Mayus Togodly, Andi Asso, Ghen Jhon Hilapok, Heri Asso, Jean Hasegem, Gustaf Ayomi

These seven individuals are believed to have been arrested and charged with offenses in relation to the raising of the “Bintang 14” (Fourteen Star) flag in front of the Wamena district parliamentary office on July 7, 2003.109 The Bintang 14 is the flag of an independence group, started by activist Thomas Wapai Waingai, which is peacefully campaigning for an independent West Melanesian state. The 14 stars represent 14 Melanesian groups. There are also reports that police in Wamena also shot and killed one of the estimated 20 Papuans who tried to raise the flag on July 7.110

Human Rights Watch was unable to obtain much information about the sentences handed down for the seven demonstrators. We were able to learn that Gustaf Ayomi was sentenced to ten years in prison; Jean Hasegem was sentenced to eight years in prison for raising the flag; and Heri Asso was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having documents on him that related to independence for Papua.111

On December 15, 2004, Heri Asso, Jean Hasegem, and Gustaf Ayomi were moved from Wamena prison to a prison in Makassar, Sulawesi. Neither the defendants, nor the defendants’ lawyers or families, were given advance notice of the move.  The defendants were first informed at 3p.m. on December 15 that they would be moved to Makassar. At 5p.m. the defendants were reportedly beaten and then put in a police vehicle and taken to Wamena airport, with no belongings except for the clothes they were wearing.  The defendants were held overnight in Biak and transported to Makassar at 5a.m. on the morning of December 16, 2004.112 

Yance Hembring

The charges against Yance revolved around his involvement in independence meetings in November 2003 and January 2004 in Nimbokrang, Jayapura regency. Yance was also accused of membership in the OPM. He was accused of building a house for meetings or gatherings of OPM members and inviting and asking for funds from the community, without the authority of the government.

Originally arrested with at least nineteen other people Yance was eventually charged with treason under articles 106 and 110 of Indonesia’s Criminal Code. 113 There is no evidence he engaged in or abetted any acts of violence and, as already noted, membership in the OPM is itself not illegal in Indonesia.

Prosecutors at Yance’s March 2004 trial produced a Morning Star flag and an OPM office sign and related documents. They also pointed to the fact that Yance was arrested while chairing a meeting at the OPM secretariat.114  

In August 2004 Yance Hembring was convicted of treason and sentenced to ten years in prison by Jayapura’s district court. The sentence was particularly severe considering that prosecutors in the case had only requested five years.

Reverend Obed Komba, Amelia Yiggibalom, Reverend Yudas Meage,  Yafet Yelemaken, and Murjono Murib

In 2001, Reverend Obed Komba, Amelia Yiggibalom, Reverend Yudas Meage, Yafet Yelemaken, and Murjono Murib were convicted of rebellion under Articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP).  Each was sentenced to four years of imprisonment.

Reverend Komba was one of the executive members of the Papua Presidium Council, a civilian organization which supports independence for Papua. The other four were part of the broader decision-making body of the council.115 All five were accused of instigating violence in Wamena town in October 2001. Evidence showed, however, that they actively tried to prevent the violence. Amnesty International reported that they had been told by the police to find those responsible. Unable and unwilling to do so, they were then themselves charged and convicted of rebellion on the basis of their membership in the Presidium Council and attendance of public meetings which discussed independence for Papua.116

In December 2003 it emerged that there were plans to transfer the prisoners to a prison in Jakarta. Their defense lawyers and families protested at the move, which had not been communicated to them.117

The current whereabouts of this group of prisoners is unknown and information on their exact status is unclear at this time. It appears that Reverend Komba and possibly some of the others, were released prior to the completion of their four-year sentences, but then re-arrested in December 2003. Amelia Yiggibalom (and possibly the others) was released from prison to house arrest on August 29, 2005. The exact conditions of her release are unclear but it seems that she has to report regularly to the police.118

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Yafet Yelemaken was poisoned to death in June 2002, after his release from prison.

109 Bintang 14 are a non-violent group campaigning for independence for West Papua. It is headed by Edison Waromi  who himself was convicted of treason for raising of the Bintang 14 flag in 2002. He was sentenced to two years in prison for treason, but escaped after one year and fled to Australia where he claimed refugee status.

110 “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2003: Indonesia,” US Department of State, February 25, 2004.

1119 Napi Makar dari Wamena Dipindahkan ke Makassar,” Cenderawasih Pos, December 16, 2004; “Napi maker dipindahkan dari Wamena ke Makassar,” Compas, December 17, 2004.

112 Other prisoners were also transferred to Makassar at the time including those convicted of the weapons arsenal raid in Wamena in 2003. See “Surat Pemindahan paksa 9 (Sembilan) Narapidana dari LP Wamena,” Koalisi Penegakan Dan Perlindungan Ham di Papua, December 25, 2004; “Napi Makar Dipindahkan dari Wamena ke Makassar,” Kompas, December 17, 2004; “ Irian students in Indonesia’s Makassar protest over prisoner transfer,”, April 20, 2005. 

113TNI Meningkatkan Kewaspadaan di Papua,” Kompas, January 30, 2004; “Yance Hembring Dituntut 5 Tahun Penjara,” Papua Pos, July 19, 2004. 

114 Nethy Dharma Somba and M. Aziz Tunny, “Papuan separatist gets ten years,” The Jakarta Post, August 12, 2004; “Persidangan pimpinan OPM dijaga dua peleton polisi,” Liputan 6, May 3, 2004.

115 “Military Madness,” New Internationalist, No. 344, April 2002.

116 “Indonesia: Prisoners of Conscience Action 2005 – The Jayapura Flag Raisers,” Amnesty International, February 1, 2005.

117 Nethy Dharma Somba, “Convicted Papuans to be brought to Jakarta,” The Jakarta Post, December 22, 2003.

118 Email correspondence with Amnesty International Indonesian campaigner, December 14, 2006 (copy on file at Human Rights Watch).