Fri, 22 Dec 2000

Human rights body demands end to alleged harassment

JAKARTA (JP): A coordinator of a human rights body has demanded the National Police chief order an end to the alleged harassment of Institute for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Elsham) executive Johanes G. Bonay.

"We condemn the security administration's actions for violating human rights and the law in their attempts to settle the Dec. 7 incident in Abepura, which sacrificed the civilians who had no knowledge of the incident," Munarman, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, said.

He said Irian Jaya Police had questioned Bonay since Dec. 16 for his investigative reports on the police's actions against rioters alleged to have attacked the Abepura Police station on Dec. 7, in which two police officers were killed and two others injured.

In response to the attack, Munarman said the police had abused local residents.

He said the police chief had ordered some officers to raid several students' dormitories, such as Nimmin dormitory in Jayawijaya, IMI dormitory in Puncak Jaya, Yapen dormitory in Waropen. The police also searched residents' homes.

Munarman said during the raid, police shot dead Elkius Suhuniab, 18, a senior high school student of the Yali tribe in Jayawijaya. His body was identified at the hospital morgue on Dec. 8 by a relative.

He said the police had also detained 101 local residents at Abepura Police station and Irian Jaya Police Headquarters for no clear reasons.

"Ninety-six of the 101 arrested residents were severely tortured. Two teenagers who lived in the Jayawijaya Nimmin dormitory, Johny K, 18, a college student, and Orry Doronggi, 17, a student at the Jayapura state vocational high school, were killed," he said.

He said police had issued discriminative and racial statements accusing Wamena residents of vandalizing the police station and killing two police officers.

During the raid, Munarman said, the police also illegally confiscated Rp 10 million (US$1,052) of locals' money and several valuable items, such as a bank savings book, a radio, a pair of shoes and 24 arrows.

Meanwhile, Jakarta-based Elsham activist Amiruddin regretted the police's actions against Bonay.

"As a human rights watchdog, Elsam has the responsibility of issuing various statements according to the facts and data available. If the police were professional, they would not investigate Bonay, but follow up on Elsham's reports," he said.

Amiruddin said the police's actions were considered to be harrassment of humanitarian workers.

"The Irian Jaya Police have denied their actions and even accused Elsam of telling lies in an effort to hide from the mistakes they made," he said. (01)