Jayapura, Jubi – The police on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, dispersed a silent protest demanding the release of Viktor Yeimo before the Jayapura District Court. The police also beat and allegedly arrested a man named Iman Kogoya.
Spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) Ones Suhuniap said masses began to gather at 07.00 a.m. Papua time in the Jayapura District Court, then at 09.00 a.m. the police dispersed the crowd.
Suhuniap said the police hit protesters with rubber batons. At least eight people were victims of police brutality, namely Ronald Mirin, Nodi, Klaus Bay, Pumegen, Anto, Kurus Sentani, Eko Passe, Kenias Payage and Awe Gobai. Meanwhile, Iman Kogoya was allegedly arrested.
Some of the victims experienced swelling on their backs and hands, and their heads were bleeding.
"Pamphlets and banners were also confiscated by the police," he said.
Lawyer Henius Asso of the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) said he was still checking the whereabouts of Imam Koyoga who was allegedly arrested by the police. Asso said he had checked with the Abepura Police but could not find Imam Koyoga at the Abepura Police.
"The officer on duty told me to check with the Jayapura City Police," Asso told Jubi.
Asso considered the police had gone too far in dissolving the silent protest. According to Asso, the action was part of the freedom of expression protected by law.
"This is not the first time the people hold silent protests. People come and sit and do nothing but then they are disbanded and arrested by the police. That's repressive," he said.
Jubi has tried to confirm the arrest of Imam Kogoya to the Abepura Police chief via WhatsApp messages and calls. However, until this news was released, Abepura Police chief Adj. Comr. Soeparmanto had not responded to Jubi's messages or calls.
The panel of judges at the Jayapura District Court on Tuesday postponed the hearing to read out the charges against the defendant in the alleged treason case, Viktor Yeimo.
Public Prosecutor Achmad Kobarubun is scheduled to read out his charges against Yeimo on Tuesday. However, Kobarubun said his party had yet to prepare demands and asked to be given additional time to prepare them. Chief judge Mathius adjourned the trial until Monday, April 17, 2023. (*)