Police arrests spokespersons of Papuan People’s Petition, KNPB for inviting people to protest

Papuan People’s Petition
Jayapura Police Chief, Kombes Gustav Urbinas while giving a statement regarding the arrest of the spokesman for the Papuan People's Petition, Jefri Wenda in Jayapura City, Tuesday (10/5/2022).- Jubi/Alexander Loen

Jayapura, Jubi – The spokesperson for the Papuan People’s Petition, Jefri Wenda, was arrested by the police regarding alleged violations of the Information and Electronic Transactions Law or the ITE Law, regarding his action of calling on people to take to the streets to reject Papua’s Special Autonomy and the expansion of Papua, which took place in a number of cities in Papua on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

Jefri Wenda and six other people were arrested and questioned by Jayapura Police on Tuesday, including spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) Ones Suhuniap, Omikson Balingga, Nely Itlay, Maxi Mangga, Abidow, and Iman Kogoya.

Jayapura Police chief Sr. Comr. Gustav Urbinas said that Jefri Wenda and his friends were being investigated because the police found calls for protests by the Papuan People’s Petition widely circulated on social media. Urbinas said Ones Suhuniap, Omikson Balingga, Nely Itlay, Maxi Mangga, Abidow, and Iman Kogoya were examined as witnesses in the case but did not mention Jefri Wenda’s status in the case.

“Six people were examined as witnesses. We continue to provide space for legal assistance to the seven people,” said Urbinas in Jayapura City, Tuesday.

Urbinas said that recently, there had been many calls that have disturbed the public and were deemed provocative. He worried they would disturb the security situation in Jayapura City.

He said that Jefri Wenda often moved places, and on Tuesday did not attend the protest against Papua’s Special Autonomy and Papua expansion, despite calling on people to participate in the protest.

“JW is clearly the person in charge because his name is marked in the [call to protest] leaflet. In addition, his name is also mentioned in several audio recordings and the flyer,” he said.

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Head of the Jayapura Police Criminal Investigation Unit Adj. Comr. Handry Bawilling said his party was still investigating Jefri Wenda and six other people who were arrested at Perumnas 4, Waena, Jayapura City. He confirmed that one of the people being questioned was the spokesman for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Ones Suhuniap. “That’s all I can say. We are still further investigating the others,” said Handry.

Demonstrations against Papua’s Special Autonomy and the Papua expansion plan took place in several locations in Papua and West Papua provinces on Tuesday. In Jayapura City, the protest was dispersed by the police before the protesters could convey their aspirations to the Papua Legislative Council. In Manokwari, the capital of West Papua Province, protesters were also intercepted by the police, thus failing to enter the office of the West Papua Legislative Council. However, the protest in Manokwari went peacefully, and the participants disbanded after protesting for 6 hours. (*)

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