Victor Mambor, Jayapura – Family members of pastor Yeremia Zanambani, who was recently shot dead in Intan Jaya regency, Papua, claimed they were reluctant to sign an investigation report (BAP) on the priest's death and had only agreed to do so after they were promised that the report would be sent to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
Yeremia's family, including his wife, was told to sign the BAP at 2 a.m. on Monday after the government-sanctioned fact-finding team (TGPF) launched an initial investigation into the case. The team had also questioned four of the priest's family members as witness in the case.
Rode Zanambani, the pastor's fourth daughter, said her family was encouraged to sign the report as the TGPF promised to hand over the report directly to President Jokowi.
"They [TGPF members] said they would be reprimanded if they returned to Jakarta with an unsigned BAP," Rode said on Monday.
She added that the TGPF also promised that the government would punish Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel who allegedly shot and stabbed Yeremia to death. The priest's family had provided information on the alleged perpetrators in the BAP.
"We have identified the [implicated] soldiers. We ask that they be prosecuted," said Rode.
Before signing the report, Rode said the investigators read every sentence in the BAP before the family members signed each official copy of the report. She went on to say that the family members had corrected several mistakes in the BAP.
Rode also requested that the BAP should be copied three times, with one copy given to the family.
Previously, Yeremia's family members refused to sign the BAP because they claimed there had been a slight change made in the report. They would only sign it if they were accompanied by lawyers.
"We're concerned that the police altered some provisions [in the report]; therefore, we didn't trust the BAP and refused to sign it," Yeremia's relative, Bernard Kobogau, said.
In an earlier statement received by The Jakarta Post, the TGPF claimed the family was reluctant to sign the BAP due to a language barrier, limited knowledge of the law and input from other parties.
Benny Mamoto of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), who leads the field investigation unit, said the family members only signed the BAP after the team invited religious and community leaders to convince them and explain the legal process.
The TGPF team also convinced Yeremia's wife and children to allow authorities conducting autopsies on the priest's body as part of the investigation.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD recently defended the TGPF team, saying it comprised professionals with "unyielding independence". The coordinating minister also dismissed accusations that the team only followed government orders.
The Indonesian Communion of Churches, the Indonesian Evangelical Christian Church (GKII) and several local Papuan media claimed that Yeremia was shot by a TNI soldier on his way to his pigpen on Sept. 19. The military denied the allegation, claiming that an armed group was responsible for the incident.
The government responded by forming a fact-finding team to investigate not only Yeremia's incident but also the deaths of civilian Badawi and TNI soldiers Chief Sgt. Sahlan and First Pvt. Dwi Akbar in Intan Jaya.
The team was given two weeks from its formation on Oct. 1 to report the results of its investigation to the government. Benny claimed the team would continue to monitor the case even after its dismissal. (syk)