Atamus Kepno, Jayapura – Cenderawasih University (Uncen) students are urging the government through the Papua police to immediately release West Papua National Committee (KNPB) international spokesperson Victor F. Yeimo and student activist Frans Wasini.
The two activists were arrested in relation to the anti-racist demonstrations and riots in 2019. Yeimo was arrested on May 9, 2021 at Tanah Hitam in Jayapura and is currently being treated at the Dok II Jayapura public hospital. Prior to this he was detained at the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) Command Headquarters in Raja City, Jayapura.
Wasini was arrested in Sentani, Jayapura, on May 20, 2021, and is currently being held at the Papua regional police headquarters in Jayapura city.
"The pro-democracy activists being detained are not perpetrators of racism, but they are the victims of this racism. But the reality is the state has arrested and criminalised them as the perpetrators who have been indicted under the makar articles", Uncen Student Executive Council (BEM) Justice and Human Rights Coordinator Ayus Hiluka told Suara Papua on Monday October 11 at the Uncen Student Community Waena III state housing company in Jayapura.
In addition to this, the Uncen Student Deliberative Council (MPM) is also urging the public prosecutor to immediately and unconditionally release Yeimo and Wasini.
The students said that in accordance with Law Number 29/1999 on the Ratification of the 1965 International Convention on the Abolition of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, seven other Papuan activists who were imprisoned on charges of makar (treason, rebellion, subversion) in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, in June 2020, in a case which was seen as racist, have already served their sentences,
"So we think that this has already been resolved in accordance with the law which applies in this republic. But the racist perpetrators continue to be looked after well, they have even been given private homes and now the victims of racism are arrested and in detention. The perpetrators of racism were not arrested in accordance with the law, but what has happened now is that the victims of racism are detained", the students said.
Uncen Solidarity Concern (SPU) Chairperson Venus Kabak called on the Jayapura district court to conduct advocacy in accordance with the constitutional rights of the suspects.
"The arrest of students and also pro-democracy activists in Jayapura, who were then charged under the makar laws. So Victor and Frans should be immediately and unconditionally released", he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiswa Desak Segera Bebaskan Victor Yeimo dan Frans Wasini Tanpa Syarat".]