Target: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Goal: Conduct a full and impartial investigation into the death and injuries of protesters in Papua
It is speculated that security forces in Papua Indonesia used lethal force and shot into a group of rock-throwing protesters. While police officers are allowed to defend themselves, they can only do so if their lives are in jeopardy, which does not seem to have been the case in this instance. A spokesperson for the police department said that an investigation is being conducted, but the investigation must be done fairly and impartially.
The outburst began when Brimob police officers started a weapons check in a central market; the weapons check was conducted due to recent unrest and agitation regarding the inauguration of a regency chief. The police were not following any sort of process, merely stopping and searching citizens randomly. When the police officers started searching elderly men who wore the traditional koteka (penis gourds) an angry mob began to form, protesting the search. One of the members of the mob threw rocks at the officers, and the officer retaliated by firing into the mob. It is uncertain whether a warning was given. One citizen who was not participating in the protest was felled by the gunshot. Alpius Mote was merely a bystander on his way home. Three others were wounded, two were students and the third was a government worker. It is quite clear that the officers fired multiple shots. Thirty-five Brimob officers were sent to disperse the crowd at the market within minutes of the shooting. However the citizens retaliated with bows and clubs, pelting the officers further with stones.
Those injured were taken to the Uwibutu Madi hospital for treatment, where both the medical personnel and the patients were harassed. The officers forbid the nurses and doctors from taking pictures of the patients’ injuries, forcing them to leave their mobile phones at the entrance. Visitors were instructed to do the same. It seemed like the Brimob officers wanted to confiscate anything that could be used as evidence. The officers also detained Yance Pekey, a teacher who confronted the police after Pekey went to the market to confront the police about Mote’s death. Pekey has been accused of inciting unrest.
It is crucial that the Indonesian government conducts a fair and impartial trial concerning this demonstration. They need to find the police officer who was responsible for killing Mote, and ensure that they go on trial. The police cannot stop the people from gathering evidence, as it implies that the police have a guilty conscience and removes the people’s right to defend themselves. Sign this petition and urge the President to ensure that this investigation commences smoothly.
Dear President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
I realize that an investigation is being conducted regarding the incident in Papua, however I am writing this letter to express concern about the investigation being done in an impartial and fair manner. As you may know, police officers shot into a crowd of protesters when they were not in any danger of losing their lives. Not only did the police officers kill a civilian, but that civilian was rumored to be on his way home. Also your officers harassed the medical staff and visitors at the hospital where the wounded protesters were being treated. They forbade the use of mobile phones and even confiscated them if people were caught taking pictures of the wounds. Again this conveys a sense of corruption and guilt, and I worry that this investigation will be influenced by those who wish for the truth to be covered up.
I hope you will ensure that those who are conducting the investigation are those who are impartial and fair, and that they will prosecute those who are truly responsible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Matthew Carrington via Flickr