Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – The Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) has expressed its readiness to follow up on a request for witness protection following the shooting of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani in Intan Jaya, Papua, in September.
The request was submitted by the central board of the Indonesian Evangelical Christian Church (GKII) on behalf of Yeremia's family and witnesses of the incident, LPSK deputy chairman Edwin Partogi Pasaribu said. "We have received the request, and we will follow up on it in accordance with the law," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
The agency will review witness testimonies that were submitted to a government-sanctioned joint fact-finding team, as well as those that were not submitted to the team. Seven civilian witnesses provided important information during the fact-finding team's field investigation in Intan Jaya, according to Edwin, who is also part of the team. "It is difficult to find a safe place there, which should be noted when looking at protection for the witnesses," he said, while asking for support from both the public and Indonesian security forces in providing safety for the witnesses.
The LPSK is also willing to protect any justice collaborators, as stipulated in the 2014 law on the protection of witnesses and victims. The joint fact-finding team ended a 14-day field investigation of the shooting case and gave its findings to the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister on Oct. 14. No suspects were named in the report. The team has indicated that security forces may have been involved in the shooting, although it also stated there was a possibility that a third party was behind it.
Four members of Yeremia's family, including his wife, signed a police interrogation report, which made them witnesses in the case. The fact-finding team received permission from Yeremia's family to have the body autopsied for the ongoing investigation. According to the Indonesian Communion of Churches, the GKII and local media in Papua, Yeremia was allegedly shot by Indonesian Army (TNI) personnel on his way to his pig pen on Sept. 19, at the same time when a military operation reportedly took place.
The TNI has denied the allegation, instead saying that Yeremia was shot by an armed group.