State shows fake human rights concern in Bloody Paniai case, victim’s family says

Bloody Paniai
Two Papuan mothers weep for their children who were shot dead in the 2014 bloody Paniai case – Jubi / Doc. Yones Douw

Jayapura, Jubi TV – The families of the victims of “Bloody Paniai” expressed their disappointment with the investigation process of the shooting tragedy at Karel Gobay Field on December 8, 2014. This tragedy killed four teenagers and injured 13 other people.

“We, the victim’s family and human rights activists who accompany us, regret that only one suspect has been named in the Bloody Paniai case, namely a retired Indonesian Military (TNI) officer. The perpetrators who are still active in TNI are not named suspects and left alone,” said the victim’s family in a written statement received by Jubi on Saturday, June 26, 2022.

The statement was signed by Yosep Degei (parent of Simon Degei), Yosep Youw (parent of Apius Youw), Obed Gobay (parent of Oktovianus Gobay), Herman Yeimo (parent of Yulianus Yeimo), along with Yermias Kayame, Yohanis Gobay, Naftali Tebay, and Bernard Yogi who represent the injured victims in the 2014 tragedy in Paniai.

The victim’s family rejected the Indonesian Government’s attitude in handling the Bloody Paniai case. The government is considered to be using the Paniai case trial to gain a reputation in the eyes of the international community, and is not actually concerned with human rights violations occurring in the Country.

“We do not acknowledge the Makassar Human Rights Court that tried only one suspect who has been retired from the TNI. It should have been more than one person responsible because the shooting didn’t just happen from one point,” the victim’s family said, adding that trying one suspect who had retired was not at all upholding justice but rather serving the state’s interests, and that was so unfair to victims.

“We reject to acknowledge the Court’s decision because we don’t want it to end up like the previous human rights trial, such as the Bloody Abepura or the murder of Theis Hiyo Eluay,” said the victim’s family.

They said they had provided data, findings, evidence of bullet casings, projectiles, photos of the victims, and even interviews of the injured victims. These data have been submitted to the TNI and police, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), churches, and NGOs, so there should be no saying that the Paniai case data is incomplete.

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At the time of the incident, the victim’s family said, several TNI members were inside the military (Koramil) post in the western part of the Karel Gobay Field. The shooting was allegedly carried out from two directions, the Koramil Post and the airport tower east of the Karel Gobay field. Oktovianus and Yulianus were shot from the west, while Simon and Apius got shot from the east. The determination of only one suspect in the case clearly negates the other perpetrators who shot from the other direction.

“In the investigation results by the Papua Police, from 56 witnesses who had been examined, several witnesses admitted they heard gunshots coming from four points, namely the Koramil Post, the Sector Police Headquarters, the Paskhas Post (airport tower), and the Kopassus Post,” the victim’s family said.

In the Bloody Paniai case, the Attorney General has issued the Attorney General’s Order Number: Prin-41/A/Fh.2/05/2022 dated May 23, 2022, and appointed 34 people as the Public Prosecutors Team to resolve this case. However, the team has only determined Infantry Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Isak Sattu the suspect who will be tried by the Ad-Hoc Human Rights Court in Makassar.

Komnas HAM member Amirudin Al Rahab said that in every crime against humanity, there had never been a single perpetrator. He hoped that the Supreme Court could use experienced judges who knew the ins and outs of human rights and violations against human rights.

“The public expects a lot from the court judges to develop human rights violations cases so all parties involved can be tried in the court,” said Amirudin.

In addition, according to him, the Prosecutor can develop why this case only involves one person so that the public can understand this incident.

The Bloody Paniai tragedy began on December 8, 2014, at midnight, when three teenagers stopped a black car, allegedly driven by two TNI members from Enaro to Madi, and asked them to turn on the car’s lights. Feeling offended, the TNI soldiers went to their headquarters in Madi and took several other members back to Togokotu, where the teenagers stopped them.

Two of the teenagers ran but the other one was beaten by TNI members to a pulp. Residents then rushed the injured youth to the hospital.

The next morning, the Paniai residents gathered in the Karel Gobay Field and asked the authorities to take responsibility for the youth who were beaten. But before the discussion was held, the TNI and police shot the residents. Four people died on the spot while 13 others were injured and rushed to hospital. (*)

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