Arnold Belau, Jayapura – The Timika regional chairperson of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Steven Itlay, who was reportedly arrested by police was released at 12 midnight local time on February 4.
KNPB national spokesperson Ones Suhuniap told Suara Papua that Itlay was arrested along with seven other youths at their residence in Sentani on the outskirts of Jayapura. Itlay along with six others have now been released.
According to Suhuniap, Itlay and the seven others were arrested for alleged motorcycle theft. Suhuniap said Itlay's arbitrarily arrest by police was a form of intimidation and terror against civil society activists.
"Police must sort through the alleged perpetrators and not just arrest people arbitrarily", he asserted.
KNPB Chairperson Warpo Sampari Wetipo has confirmed that Itlay and the six others have been released. One other person is still being held by the police.
The six arrested along with Itlay (31) who were later released were Yemue Itlay (17), Kalvin Haluk (19), Apner Haluk (17), Ongko Haluk (16), Otto Walilo (22) and Amrosius Haluk (20). Pais Nasia (24) meanwhile is still being detained.
According to Wetipo, Itlay and the other six were released because police were unable to prove the charges.
"They were released at 12 midnight. They're now back home. Police released them because the police's charges could not be proven. Meanwhile one person is still being detained", added Wetipo.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Satu Orang Ditahan, Steven Itlay dan Enam Orang Lainnya Sudah Dibebaskan".]