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Indonesia: Police close investigation into bomb attack on journalist Victor Mambor

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Statement - October 27, 2023

On October 14, West Papuan journalist Victor Mambor was informed that the police investigation into an explosion outside his home in January had been terminated months prior.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliates, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia urge Papuan police to reinstate the investigation immediately and ensure that those responsible are not allowed to escape with impunity.

On May 12, the North Jayapura Police issued a Letter of Termination of Investigation (SP3), closing their investigation into the detonation of an explosive device outside the home of Papuan journalist Victor Mambor in January. The investigation has been criticised for irregularities, as well as a lack of transparency, with Mambor only informed of the letter in October through the Papuan representative for the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights.

Substantial evidence was available following the attack, with Mambor recording CCTV footage of the perpetrator, traces of explosive and flammable compounds found at the scene, and police conducting interviews with six witnesses. However, law enforcement failed to produce crucial evidence in their official recollections and did not present Mambor in the case title.

The decision has been criticised by AJI, with Secretary General Ika Ningtyas calling the handling of the case unprofessional, and urging West Papuan authorities to stand against impunity in crimes against journalists. The Journalist Safety Committee and the Press Legal Aid Institute further stated the attack and subsequent failures in the police investigation were concerning for journalists and press freedom in Papua.

On the morning of January 23, a bomb detonated approximately three metres from Mambor's residence in the northern Papuan city of Jayapura. The motive behind the attack and the identity of the perpetrators have remained unknown since the incident. Mambor, the editor and founder of the independent Papuan online news outlet Jubi and former AJI Papua chair, is renowned for his critical reporting and support for the West Papua freedom movement. He has previously faced harassment and intimidation, including vandalism of his car in April 2021.

AJI Secretary General Ika Ningtyas said: "The National Police in Papua lack professionalism and commitment to press freedom. It also lacks communication and transparency from the police in notifying Mambor and his family about the developments in the investigation."

The IFJ said, "The termination of this case sets a dangerous precedent for impunity for crimes against journalists in West Papua. Police must ensure that their investigations are transparent, effective, and consider all available evidence. The IFJ urges authorities to recommence the investigation and ensure that those responsible do not escape with impunity."

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on: ifj@ifj-asia.org

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram

Source: https://www.ifj.org/media-centre/news/detail/category/press-releases/article/indonesia-police-close-investigation-into-bomb-attack-on-journalist-victor-mambo