Translate by Tapol
JUBI, 9 September 2011
Once again, violence has been used in Papua, this time against a television journalist working for the local TV station in South Sorong, TOP TV. Mufriadi who reports on the district of South Sorong was severely beaten by the bupati - district chief - of South Sorong in West Papua while covering an assault on the office of the district chief by local people.
'We received information from Mufriardi by phone who said he had been attacked and beaten by the bupati, Otto Ihalauw and his assistant, Marthen who is a member of the police force, along with four other policemen.,' Amir Siregar told the press.
Siregar said that Ihalauw's action was a crime and he should be detained by the local police force.'It was a criminal act and he can be detained without waiting for the permission of the President, in accordance with the law on regional governance and guidance for police investigations.'
Siregar said that after Mufriardi was beaten, his handy camera was seized and he was taken to a room at the bupati's office for questioning.
Mufriadi explained that he had received a request by phone to cover the assault being made on the bupati's office by people who own traditional rights to the land .'But as soon as I arrived, I was summoned by the bupati's assistant who is a member of the police force. I was taken to the bupati's office. The bupati came out of his car and slapped me in the face, after which I was subjected to beating by his assistants which lasted for about ten minutes.I have no idea why I was beaten but I was subjected to verbal abuse and then they asked me to write a report along the lines that they wanted.'
Viktor Mambor, chairman of AJI, the Independent Alliance of Journalists in Papua, said that he would support moves by TOP TV to seek legal action and report the incident to the authorities.
The Executive-Director of LP3BH, the Manokwari-based human rights organisation has made a strong protest against the action by the bupati against Otto Ihalauw. Yan Christian Warinussy described the action of the bupati as a crime which should be investigated in accordance with Law/1981.
He went on to describe the bupati's action as an act of intimidation against the activities of journalists as stipulated in the law on the press.as well as a crime under the Indonesian Criminal Code. He called on the local police chief to arrest the bupati and his assistants as well as the members of the police force who were involved in the incident.
Such activities should not be allowed to happen again, said Warinussy and he said that speaking on behalf of human rights activists throughout West Papua, he called on the chief of police in South Sorong to take firm action against the criminal actions of the bupati. He said that the people of West Papua should strongly condemn such attempts of officials to take the law into their own hands,
Warinussy also called on DAP, the Customary Council of Papua and all components of the Papuan people tocall for those responsible for these criminal acts to be brought to account, because a bad precedent has been set for the activities of the governments in South Sorong and throughout the province of West Papua.
He said that the governor of West Papua should also report the incident to the minister of the interior, to ensure that the matter in dealt with in accordance with the laws in force. All journalists working in West Papua should give their full support to Mufriadi in this matter.