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Commemoration of Anti Torture Day - Jayapura - Papua, 26 June 2009
Reflection of the handlings of torture victims:
Has it been just. ... ?
On June 26, ALDP commemorated Anti Torture Day because on that day the UN declared the convention on opposition toward any tortures and cruel acts or punishments which is inhuman or denigrated humanity. "Justice without discrimination" has been chosen for this year's theme corresponding with many court related cases Papuans have undergone which are considered unjust. Besides, the practices of torture have been increasingly seen even when people are willing to undergo the legal proceedings lawfully from the investigation, detention to trial and judgement.
ALDP's action for commemorating Anti Torture Day has always been supported by ICMC Jakarta and IRCT. However, in 2009, the action was fully supported by IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims) based in Copenhagen, Denmark. ALDP is a member of IRCT in Indonesia beside RATA in Aceh and ICMC in Jakarta which have involved in any of IRCT programs and meetings, for example in Istanbul, Berlin or India.
Anti Torture Day is commemorated annually in various ways and full of innovation. Yet, a tradition persisted annually during the commemoration is Flower distribution. The activity is usually carried out in the mornings by the time people are moving to work places or ready to begin the daily routines. The Flower distribution is aimed to bring more people from different backgrounds to be aware of the moral of the action. The people then would inform or extend the moment to their acquaintances when arriving at their work places or by the time they are going back home in the afternoon. Such interaction at the beginning of the day is hoped to bring out specific impressions.
The flower distribution was held in 3 locations namely Sentani, Abepura and Jayapura at 9 strategic stations. Similar to that of previous years, the action is supported by associates from Kohati, Moslem Students Union, Indonesia Christian Students Movemement, Indonesia Catholic Students Association, Nabire Students Dorm, Wisma Lidya, KPKC Sinode GKI, ICMC Jayapura, Talitakum Dorm, SAN story sharing group, Abepura Survivor Group, etc. The flower distribution was concluded with a gathering at Tugu Abepura ( a tower situated in Abepura). No orations were staged or banners stretched. Some of partakers stood in line holding a wide paper said "Stop torture" while some others kept distributing flowers. Some flowers were pinned on Abepura Precinct Police barbed wire barricades which have been stood in front of the tower since May 2009. At night the police usually put the wired fences to barricade both sides of the road in front of the precinct station to prevent people from trespassing around the police station. This has forced vehicles to use different routes. The police put the barricades as a result of the issues on possible attack on Abepura precinct. The look of the barricades was beautiful with the flowers pinned on them saying" ... has it been fair?.".
After the flower distribution, 13 ALDP participants, including Dr. Muridan Widjojo, Fadhal Alhamid and Yuli Langawuyo, 3 ALDP's photographers, and Ayu (Fauzia's daughter) paid a visit to Abepura State Prison and Narcotics Prison. The second visit was scheduled occurred on 25 June 2009; however, because of Papua Prison chiefs' internal meeting at the same time, the activity was included to 20 June 2009 meeting. That made it an arduous meeting since the meeting was carried out the whole day.
Chief of Abepura Prison described the condition of the prison overcrowded because the number of prisoners and convicts has outnumbered the available facilities. The chief admitted that he was the only person appointed as the chief in August 2008 with a special task to undergo normalization of the prison which was previously packed with problems. The chief added that the condition needs considerable attention and support from many different parties.
The government still has a perception that the prison has not been worth supports. The government has never viewed the prisoners and convicts as productive labor
forces who need to be given roles for increasing productivity. The chief mentioned an example of Hongkong government that facilitates a business sector for the prison which is a laundry service handling the entire Hongkong. Abepura State Prison has started to develop farming to provide earnings for the prisoners, even a bank was invited to run the transaction of the prisoners' earnings. The chief challenged the government to be willing to provide a recycling machine and a garbage truck; "we are going to recycle all plastic garbage" he said. Unfortunately, the government does not pay any attention, amid the special autonomy and the many Papuan prisoners in the prison. "We were once aided by the former governor Number .... " He admitted.
He is aware of the fact that many of the prisoners have unstable psychological conditions which could trigger many problems among the prisoners or between the prisoners and the officers. The chief has also implemented a policy on voluntary public work outside the prison such as working around the hospital, traditional market, and cleaning roads around Abepura. "In fact, not only the prisoners are happy to be refreshed by the action but the prison officers also regain their spirit. .. " he said.
The chief also made his complaint about the HRW Asia report which described a number of tortures occurred in Abepura State Prison. He said that those cases occurred in the time before he was appointed. There was a single case during his tenure though, Fery Pakage case, and the case is under legal proceedings. Clarification has been made in correspondence with the report; yet it has not suited what he had expected. On one hand, certain parties have shown antipathetic reactions to the implementation of some of his firm policies, for example tightening the prisoners' exit permit. On the other hand, he sometimes feels threatened by normalization steps he has imposed dealing with fellow Papuans.
Later, the team held a meeting with Bukhtar Tabuni and Sebi Sambom, political prisoners of student activists. Bukhtar who attended ALDP's program on June 26, said that ' ... today I also invite you, my friends, to wear dark outfits as a way of support for torture victims .... " His face was sweating because they had just finished a voluntary work. Bukhtar and Sebi had a little account on how their legal proceedings have been undergone. More than that, the meeting was a way to express the bond of friendship especially those who had had a few chances to meet
each other. At the same moment, Ayu, Fauzia's daughter aged 5, gave a flower to the chief of the prison. Following the flower were other flowers and clothes which were given away to the chief, Bukhtar and Sebi. The chief asked for more clothes to be given away to a music team in the prison who was planned to play some songs at a local TV.
After lunch the ALDP team moved from the Prison to Narcotics Prison in Doyo Baru to meet Selfianus Bobby and the other friends. Some of the team members were not on the trip due to their obligation to prepare the Reflection and Discussion Program which was due that night. The team arrived at the Narcotics Prison at 3:00 p.m. while chief of the Prison and head of building section had already been waiting for ALDP team. Shortly after that, Selfianus Bobby, Ricky Jitmau, Nelsom Rumbiak, Elias Tamaka and Cosmos Yual were in the meeting room.
The chief asserted that the procedure of the detention of prisoners and drug convicts should be different from that of the Prison to Narcotics Prison in Doyo Baru to meet Selfianus Bobby and the other friends at al. Nevertheless, he has been trying maximally to carry out building according to what Selvianus Bobby at all would need in order to be transferred to Abepura Prison. However, to these days no agreement has been imposed from the Papua Department of Law and Human Rights. According to the chief, there are may be certain things up for considerations including considerations among the Prison officers.
Selfianus Bobby, Yusak Pakage, and other prisoners took the advantage of the meeting as a chance to recount the procedure of the relocation, especially the tortures they suffered at Abepura Prison. The event was triggered when Bukhtar Tabuni was sent temporarily from Abepura Prison to Papua Police Prison during the Minister of Law and Human Rights visit to Jayapura. When sent back to Abepura Prison, Bukhtar was frisked and found to possess a cell phone. He was beaten at that time. The next day, Yusak Pakage questioned reasons for beating Bukhtar. The way he and Selfius Bobby questioned and other such behaviors led them to be beaten by the police officers. In the end they were held to an isolation room.
The isolation room case was initiated by 6 Prison officers who visited the prisoners' room one by one. Upon their names called out, according to Selfius Bobby, they
were asked to take off their clothes to their underwears. Each of the prisoners was beaten and held to the isolation room. At first, Selfius Bobby thought he was alone in the room since it was too dark, but then he figured out that they were 6 people in the room.
The isolation room consists of two chambers. One chamber is a toilet and the other one is where the prisoners sleep. However, because of insufficient water supply and poor sanitation, the toilet could not practically be used. Besides, the air in the room has been polluted by scattering human feces which brings out bad smell. They spent three days sleeping with legs leaning up against the wall. They also took turn standing near a small hole on the door in order to inhale fresh air from the outside.
During the detention in the isolation room, the prisoners were not given food. Yet, other prisoners who took pity on them gave them food from their portion secretly since they would be beaten by the Prison officers if they were found to do so. For clothes, luckily, there was an officer who was kind. "He is an outsider" Selfius Bobby admitted. "He is the guy who every night brings in a pair of clothes secretly that we could finally go out from the room with outfits.
Selfius Bobby and his fellow prisoners have bad experiences throughout their imprisonment at Abepura Prison. In fact, they still want to go back to the place even though there may be some officers who want to take "vengeance" on them. For example, the officer could put their names on 'register F' (F list). Register F is a book containing names of prisoners or convicts not worth remission whereas some of them have been processed to undergo parole due to the period of the detention is beyond 2/3 of their true detention period. After the unobstructed discussion, ADLP team went back to Padang Bulan to organize the night's activity.
The night program was Reflection and Meditation. No Me and formal occasion were involved. There was an introduction from ALDP chair followed by the reading of a letter written by Enos Lokobal, a convict for breaking Wamena Arsenal, who recounted the forceful relocation and pains he suffered during his sentence period. "Only verses of prayers could seal the pain and sadness of my soul. With the bits of the strength, our wills has never been destroyed ... " he whimpered it in his diary
written on December 17, 2005. Later, Fauzia read IRCT general declaration followed by a discussion on Practices of torture and State responsibility facilitated by Iwan K. Niode from ALDP and Juhari, a representative from National Commission of Human Rights of Papua while Fadhal Alhamid acted as the moderator.
In addition to that, several Mambesak's folk songs were played particularly songs written by Arnold Aap (political prisoner who was shot dead in jail) sung by Ayaser Group. Some special songs and music from Moh. Pieter Alhamid and Faisal Tura were also played. The activity was concluded at 23:30. Although everyone was very tired, expression of great satisfaction was truly radiated from the faces because the entirety of the program had been succeeded: Thank you God!
The activity is hoped to invigorate the Anti Torture Campaign, move concern and waken the security apparatuses from their unawareness of their responsibility and national consequences in ratifying the Anti Torture Convention. We try to build wider knowledge and awareness of the importance of collaborative efforts in fighting any practices of torture and bring accusation toward achieving Justice without Discrimination.
Jayapura, 26 June 2009
Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua
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