SPECIAL REPORT: By Yamin Kogoya
On Friday 10 February 2023, it will be one month since the Papua Governor Lukas Enembe was “kidnapped” at a local restaurant during his lunch hour by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and security forces.
The crisis began in September 2022, when Governor Enembe was named a suspect by the KPK and summoned by Indonesia’s Mobile Brigade Corps, known as BRIMOB, after being accused of receiving bribes worth one million rupiah (NZ$112,000).
Since the governor’s kidnapping, Indonesian media have been flooded with images and videos of his arrest, his deportation, being handcuffed in Jakarta while in an orange KPK (prisoner) uniform, and his admission to a heavily armed military hospital.
- READ MORE: Arrest of Papuan governor Enembe condemned as illegal Jakarta ‘kidnap’
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Besides the public display of power, imagery, morality and criminality with politically loaded messages, the governor, his family, and his lawyers are still enmeshed in Jakarta’s health and legal system, while his health continues to steadily deteriorate.
His first KPK investigation on January 12 failed because of his declining health, among other factors such as insufficient or no concrete evidence to be found to date.
During the first examination, the governor’s attorney, Petrus Bala Pattyona, stated his client was asked eight questions by the KPK investigators. However, all eight questions, Petrus stressed, had no substance to relevant matters involved — the alegations against the governor.
None of the questions from the KPK were included in the investigation material, according to the attorney. Enembe’s health condition was the first question asked by the investigator, Petrus told Kompas TV.
“First, he was asked if Mr Lukas was in good enough health to be examined? His answer was that he was unwell and that he had had a stroke,” Petrus said.
But the examination continued, and he was asked about the history of his education, work, and family. According to the governor’s attorney, during the lengthy examination no questions were asked about the examination material.
To date, authorities in Jakarta continue to question the governor and others suspected of involvement in the alleged corruption case, including his wife and son.
Meanwhile, the governor’s health crisis is causing a massive rift between the governor’s side, civil society groups and government authority.
“The governor of Papua is critically ill today but earlier the KPK still forced an examination and wanted to take him to the Gatot Subroto Hospital, owned by the Indonesian Army; the governor refused and requested treatment in Singapore instead” said the governor’s family last Thursday (February 2), after trying to report the mistreatment case to the country’s Human Rights Commission, who have been dispersed by the Indonesian military and police.
It appears, they continued, that the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) and Gatot Subroto Hospital did not transparently disclose the real results of the Papua governor’s medical examination.
Instead, they hid and kept the governor’s illness quiet. As a result, Lukas Enembe was forced to undergo an investigation by the KPK.
Angered by this treatment, the governor’s team said, “only those who are unconscious and dead to humanity can insist that the governor is well.”
They said that IDI, Gatot Subroto Hospital and KPK had “played with the pain and the life” of Papua’s Governor Lukas Enembe.
“Still, the condition hurts. The governor complained that in KPK custody, there was no appropriate bedding for sick people. Earlier today, the governor’s family complained about the situation to the country’s human rights commission, but they refused to accept it.
“That’s where the governor is, and that’s where we are now. They even call for security forces to be deployed at the human rights office as if we were committing crimes there,” the governor’s family stated.
“Save Lukas Enembe and save Papua. Papuans must wake up and not be caught off guard. They keep the governor in KPK’s facilities even though he is very ill,” the statement continued.
In his statement, Gabriel Goa, board chair at the Indonesian Law and Human Rights Institute, criticised the Human Rights Commission. He said he questioned the integrity of the chair of the National Human Rights Commission, Atnike Nova Sigiro, for not independently investigating the violations of the rights of the governor by the KPK.
Goa stated that he had “never seen anything like this” in his 20 years of handling cases related to violations of human rights.
This was the first he had seen the office of Human Rights Commission involving security forces attending victims seeking help. The kind of treatment that is being perpetrated against Indigenous Papuans is indeed of a particular nature.
Goa warned: “If this is ignored, and something bad happens to Governor Lukas Enembe, the Human Rights Commission and KPK Indonesia will be held responsible, since victims, their families, and their legal companions have made efforts as stipulated by law.”
Despite these grave concerns for the Governor’s health and rights violations, the deputy chair of the KPK, Alexander Marwata, stated: “Governor Enembe is well enough to undergo the KPK’s investigation and doesn’t need to go to Singapore.
“The Indonesian authority says Gatot Subroto Hospital and IDI can handle his health needs, institutions the governor and his family refused to use because of the psychological trauma of the whole situation.”
‘Inhumane’ treatment of Enembe condemned
In response to Jakarta’s mistreatment of Governor Enembe, Papua New Guinea’s Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah condemned Jakarta’s “cruel behaviour”.
Namah, whose electorate borders Papua province, said it was very difficult to ignore this issue because of Namah’s people’s traditional and family ties that extend beyond Vanimo into West Papua.
According to the PNG Post-Courier, he urged the United Nations to investigate the issue, particularly the manner in which Governor Enembe was being treated by the Indonesian government.
The way PNG’s Namah asked to be investigated is the way in which Jakarta treats the leaders of West Papua — cunning deceptions that undermine their efforts to deliver their own legal and moral goods and services for Papuans.
This manner of conduct was criticised even last September when the drama began.
Responding to the way KPK conducted itself, Dr Roy Rening, a member of the governor’s legal team, stated the governor’s designation as a suspect had been prematurely determined.
This was due to the lack of two crucial pieces of evidence necessary to establish the legitimacy of the charge within the existing framework of Indonesia’s legal procedural code.
Dr Rening also argued that the KPK’s behaviour in executing their warrant, turned on a dime. The governor was unaware that he was a suspect, and that he was already under investigation by the KPK when he was summoned to appear.
In his letter, Dr Rening explained that Governor Enembe had never been invited to clarify and/or appear as a witness pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Code. The KPK instead declared the governor as a suspect based on the warrant letters, which had also changed dates and intent.
Jakarta’s deceptive strategies targeting Papuan leaders
There appears to be a consistent pattern of Indonesia’s behaviour behind the scenes as well — setting traps and plotting that ultimately led to the kidnapping of the governor, the same manner as when West Papua’s sovereignty was kidnapped 61 years ago by using and manipulating the UN mechanism on decolonisation.
As thousands of Papuans guarded the governor’s residence, Jakarta employed two cunning ruses to kidnap the governor, the humanist approach and what the Jakarta elites now proudly refer to as “nasi bungkus” (“pack of rice strategy”).
A visit by Firli Bahuri, chair of KPK, to the governor in Koya Jayapura, Papua, on 3 November 2022, was perceived as being “humane”, but it was a false approach intended to gain trust, thereby weakening the Papuan support for their final attack on the governor.
Recently leaked information from the governor’s side alleged that the chair had advised the Governor to put his health first, allowing him to travel to Singapore for routine medical check-ups as he had in the past.
KPK, however, stated that it had never said such things to Governor Enembe during that meeting.
With hindsight, what seemed to have resulted from the KPK chief’s visit to the Governor’s house had “loosened” the governor’s defence.
This then, processed by Indonesian intelligence began keeping a daily count of the number of Papuan civilians guarding the governor’s house by calculating the number of “nasi bungkus” purchased to feed the hungry guardians of the Governor.
Moreover, critics say information was fabricated regarding an alleged plan for the ill Governor to flee overseas through his highland village in Mamit a few days prior to the kidnapping which would justify this act.
Kidnapping, sending into exile, imprisoning, and psychologically torturing of Papuan leaders within the Indonesia’s legal system may be part of Indonesia’s overall strategy in maintaining its control over West Papua as its frontier settler colony.
In order to achieve Jakarta’s objectives, eliminating the power and hope emerging from West Papuan leaders appears to have been the key strategy.
Victor Yeimo’s fate in Indonesia
Victory Yeimo, a Papuan independence figure facing similar health problems, has also been placed under the Indonesian judiciary with no clear outcome to date.
He faces charges of treason and incitement for his alleged role in anti-racial protests that turned into riots in 2019, following the attack on Papuan students in Surabaya by Indonesian militia.
Yeimo provided a key insight into how this colonial justice system operated in a short video that recently appeared on Twitter. He explained:
“Although I have not been charged, but I have already been charged with the law, as if I wanted to be punished, so I have been sentenced. It appears as if the decision has already been made. Ah, this seems unfair to me and is a lesson to the Papuan people. You [Indonesia] decide whether or not there is legal justice in this country?
“Does the law in this country provide any guarantees to Papuans so that we feel we are proud to live in the Republic of Indonesia? If the situation is like this, I am confused.”
Tragically, choices and decisions of existence for Papuan leaders like Governor Enembe and Victor Yeimo are made by a shadowy figure, camouflaged in a human costume, incapable of feeling the pain of another.
Yamin Kogoya is a West Papuan academic/activist who has a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from the Australian National University and who contributes to Asia Pacific Report. From the Lani tribe in the Papuan Highlands, he is currently living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.