By Hengky Yeimo in Jayapura
Papuan activist Victor Yeimo has been receiving medical treatment in hospital following a police crackdown on a protest in the provincial capital Jayapura demanding that he be released from detention to be treated for illness.
Hundreds of protesters had gathered at the Papua chief public prosecutor’s office on Monday to demand that West Papua National Committee (KNPB) spokesperson Yeimo be released from detention to be given hospital treatment.
Yeimo’s detention was finally deferred on Monday afternoon and he was taken to Jayapura public hospital for treatment.
The protesters arrived from the direction of Abepura, Jayapura city. They arrived at the chief public prosecutor’s office and began giving speeches on the street leading into the office.
In speeches, the demonstrators demanded that chief public prosecutor Nikolaus Kondomo immediately defer Yeimo’s detention.
Yeimo is currently being tried at the Jayapura District Court in a criminal case related to anti-racist demonstrations in Papua in 2019.
On Friday, August 27, the panel of judges, presided over by Eddy Soeprayitno S Putra, with judges Mathius and Andi Asmuruf, ruled that Yeimo’s detention be deferred and that he receive medical treatment because he was ill.
Demand for treatment
The rally at the prosecutor’s office on Monday was because Yeimo had still not been released from detention. They demanded that the prosecutor release Yeimo immediately and allow him to be treated.
The police had already closed the main gate to the office and prohibited the protests from entering the grounds. About 1 pm police forcibly broke up the rally which was coordinated by the KNPB.
A number of protesters were injured, including Gad Holanue, Varra iyaba, Hengki Giban, Leti Soll, Egenius Tebay and Jufri Dogomo. Three protesters — Soleng Soll, Beni Orsa and Bayage — were arrested by police.
Papua Regional House of Representatives (DPRP) member John NR Gobai said he deplored the police actions. Gobai, along with DPRP member Laurenzus Kadepa, had been accepted by the court as guarantors for Yeimo to be released and treated in hospital.
“I was blocked by police, then I was pulled away by the demonstrators. I wasn’t able to get in and convey my wishes,” Gobai said.
A Regional Representatives Council (DPD) member from Papua, Herlina Murib, was also barred from entering the office.
“We hope that the police will not repeat this inhuman attitude which was shown by blocking us and removing people who wanted to convey their aspirations. This violates the law”, Murib said.
The demonstration at the prosecutor’s office on Monday was the second one held by activists demanding that Yeimo be allowed to receive hospital treatment.
Protesters had also gathered at the prosecutor’s office on Saturday, August 28, because the prosecutor was seen as ignoring the court’s ruling that Yeimo receive treatment.
Because the prosecutor’s office was empty on Saturday, the protesters went to the prosecutor’s private residence where they again called on Kondomo to immediately postpone Yeimo’s detention.
However, Kondomo refused the request, saying Yeimo could only be released on Tuesday, August 31.
About 3.20pm on Monday, Yeimo was finally allowed to leave the Papua regional Mobile Brigade command headquarters detention centre and was taken to Jayapura public hospital. The ambulance transporting Yeimo was escorted by two police patrol cars and three black minivans.
Around 20 police officers escorted Yeimo to the hospital. Public prosecutors Adrianus Tomana and Valerianus Dedi Sawaki were also present at the hospital.
Advocate and lawyers
Yeimo was accompanied to the hospital by advocate Emanuel Gobay and a number of other lawyers, Laurenzus Kadepa and John NR Gobai along with Yeimo’s wife and mother.
Speaking to Tabloid JUBI at Jayapura hospital, Tomana said the medical examination was in accordance with the court’s ruling. Tomana stated that how long Yeimo’s detention will be deferred would depend on the examination and the doctor’s diagnosis.
“How long the deferment will be depends on the results of the doctor’s examination. If the doctor declares that he is well, then we will revoke the deferment, and Yeimo will be returned to his detention cell,” he said.
Translated by James Balowski for Indoleft News. The original title of the article was “Minta Victor Yeimo dikeluarkan dari tahanan, massa di Kejati Papua dibubarkan polisi”.