BEM alliance across Papua calls for Viktor Yeimo to be released unconditionally 

BEM
Viktor Yeimo (right, in blue shirt and hat) with his legal counsel, Emanuel Gobay in one of the rooms of Abepura Correctional Institution in Jayapura City, Thursday (12/1/2023), to wait for a doctor to check Yeimo's health before being placed in a detention cell. - Jubi/Theo Kelen

Jayapura, Jubi – An alliance of all-Papua Student Executive Board (BEM) in Jayapura City on Monday, January 16, 2023, called for the unconditional release of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) spokesperson Viktor Yeimo. According to the students, Yeimo is a victim of criminalization and a racial discrimination.

The alliance consists of BEM of Cenderawasih University, BEM of University of Science and Technology Jayapura, BEM of Muhammadiyah University of Papua, BEM of Ottow and Geissler, BEM of Satya Witaya Manda University (USWIM) Nabire, BEM of College of Management and Informatics (STIMIK) Nabire, BEM Nusantara Papua Representative and Economics Student Association Papua Representative.

Cristian Kobak of the Cenderawasih University BEM said the legal treatment for Papuan people was unfair, as shown in Viktor Yeimo’s case, wherein his legal process had not been completed until now.

Yeimo is currently undergoing trial for alleged treason at the Jayapura District Court. The trial was led by a panel of judges chaired by Mathius, with member judges Andi Asmuruf and Linn Carol Hamadi.

On February 21, 2021, the public prosecutor charged Viktor Yeimo with treason for his involvement in the Papuan anti-racism rally that turned into a mass rampage in Jayapura City on August 29, 2019. The public prosecutor charged four different articles, namely Article 106 of the Criminal Code in conjunction with Article 55 paragraph (1) to 1 of the Criminal Code (jointly committing treason with the intention to separate part and territory of the state), Article 110 paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code (conspiring to commit treason), Article 110 paragraph (2) to 1 of the Criminal Code (attempting to move others to commit or participate in committing, or provide assistance at the time of committing, or provide opportunity, means or information to commit the crime of treason), Article 160 of the Criminal Code in conjunction with Article 55 paragraph (1) to 1 of the Criminal Code (orally or in writing inciting to commit a criminal act, violence against the public authority or disobey either the provisions of the law or an official order given under the provisions of the law).

Kobak said the arrest of Viktor Yeimo was not in accordance with the law, because Yeimo voiced the injustice and racial discrimination experienced by the Papuan people. Viktor Yeimo, therefore, according to Kobak, was arrested because the State would not let Papua to separate. He said the State was too imposing in its desire to govern Papuans through policies implemented in the Land of Papua.

“Jakarta [the central government] considers Papuans incompetent. So they think what is good for Jakarta is also good for Papuam therefore Jakarta’s policies continue to be applied in Papua even though it is not necessarily good for Papuans,” he said.

BEM representative of Jayapura University of Science and Technology Holland Silak said that Yeimo’s arrest showed the State still applied racial politics against Papuans. According to Silak, Yeimo is an innocent victim of racial discrimination and should be released unconditionally.

“Viktor Yeimo is a victim of racism itself. He is not the perpetrator,” Silak said. (*)

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