Papua’s Customary Council forms team to probe activist Filep Karma’s death

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The funeral of Papuan independence leader Filep Karma
Banned Morning Star independencce flags were prominent at the funeral of Papuan independence leader Filep Karma who was buried at the Expo Waena Public Cemetery, Jayapura City, on Wednesday. Image: Theo Kelen/Jubi

Tabloid Jubi in Jayapura

The chair of the Papua Customary Council (DAP), Dominggus Surabut, says the council along with a coalition of civil organisations have formed an investigation team to examine Tuesday’s death of Papuan independence leader Filep Karma.

“We have coordinated with various parties in the Papuan struggle, as well as with families and lawyers to conduct an independent investigation into the death of Papuan leader Filep Karma,” he told Jubi.

“We think Karma died not because of an accident.”

Surabut said Filep Karma’s death could not be minimised or based only on external examination and family statements.

He said Filep Karma’s daughter Andrefina Karma spoke about her father’s death in a state of grief. The official version is that he died in a diving accident.

“We need a more serious investigation to find out why and how he died. After that we will convey to the public who are still unsure of the cause of death of their leader,” he said.

Chairman of the Papuan Customary Council Dominikus Surabut speaking to reporters
Chair of the Papuan Customary Council Dominikus Surabut speaking to reporters in Jayapura. Image: Hengky Yeimo/Jubi

An activist of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Ogram Wanimbo, said the authorities must reveal to the public a complete chronology of Filep Karma’s death.

Dissatisfied with post-mortem
“We are very dissatisfied with the post-mortem results. We need an explanation of who went to the beach with him and what exactly happened,” he said.

The spokesperson for the Papuan People’s Petition, Jefri Wenda, said the same.

“We are asking for a more detailed explanation,” he said.

“Filep Karma is the leader of the West Papuan nation from the Biak tribe. He was no ordinary person.

“We ask that all parties respect his struggle.”

Karma was buried at the Expo Public Cemetery in Jayapura city on Wednesday. The funeral of the Bloody Biak survivor was attended by thousands of mourners who came from Jayapura city, Jayapura regency and surrounding areas.

Filep Karma left home to go diving on Sunday and was found dead at Base G Beach on Tuesday morning. He allegedly died from a diving accident.

Thousands attend funeral
Thousands of people attended Filep Karma’s funeral.

Church leaders, traditional leaders, and activists escorted the body to his resting place. The funeral process was also closely guarded by the police.

Filep Karma’s coffin was covered in a Morning Star independence flag.

During the funeral procession, six Morning Star flags were raised. The Morning Star that covered the coffin was then handed over to the family.

“Filep Karma taught us about everything. We leave the flag to the family as a symbol that the struggle continues to live,” said Eneko Pahabol, while handing the flag over to Karma’s children, Fina Karma, Audrin Karma and Since Karma.

On behalf of the family, Since Karma said: “Thank you very much for your love. We are grateful to have Mr Filep. He taught us to be brave.

“Filep Karma didn’t want us to live in fear. Let’s stay brave. He’s gone but his spirit hasn’t left. The spirit lives in us.”

The Morning Star flag is banned by Indonesian authorities and raising it carries a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Republished with permission.

Morning Star raised at the funeral of Filep Karma

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