Friday, January 28, 2011

Letter from Papuan Political Prisoner Buchtar Tabuni


Police Isolation Cell, 18 January, 2011

Police-General Bekto Suprapto,

With respect,

With regard to my detention in a police isolation cell for almost two months, I wish to raise the following problems with the Chief of Police in Papua:

1. Will the police in Papua explain what my status is, whether I am a detainee (tapol) or a convicted political prisoner (narapidana). If I am being held as a detainee in connection with the riot that occurred in Abepura Prison on 3 December 2010, I ask to be given an arrest warrant by the police for the period that I have been held in a police isolation cell . And whether what I myself did together with Filep Karma at the time of the riot was not in fact an attempt to calm things down while trying to be a link between the prison officers and the prisoners who were involved in the riot. If my status is that of a narapidana, I hereby ask to be transferred to Abepura Prison Class IIA. This is because being held in an isolation cell by the police in Papua has had the following very damaging consequences for me:

a)     My father, Jen Tabuni, who was 54 years old, passed away on Sunday, 9 January 2011 in Papani Kampung, in the Papuan interior. The cause of death was that, after hearing that  I had been taken from a police cell and thinking that I had been kidnapped, he suffered a stroke, fainted and died. This was because there was no information about my whereabouts after I had been separated and placed in an isolation cell by the Papuan police, without any clear reason being given for this;

b)     Ever since being separated and held in an isolation cell of the Papuan Police, I have not received any edible food and on some occasions, I have not been given any food and drink at all, as  a result of which I have been drinking the water in the tub in the bathroom. The lack of decent food and drink has given me serious gastric problems;

c)    My body is turning yellow and I often feel giddy when I stand up. This is because of the lack of sunlight, the lack of vegetables and because the vegetables I do eat are boiled as a result of which I am anaemic as well as suffering from gastritis which means that my health is deteriorating.

2. If the police here in Papua fail to respond  speedily to my complaints, I will go on hunger strike until my complaints are dealt with.

Letter of complaint from:

Buchtar Tabuni

Papuan political prisoner

Buchtar Tabuni

Notes - Buchtar Tabuni is a West Papuan Political Prisoner who was arrested on December 3, 2008, in his house in Sentani, near the Sentani airport, Jayapura, for organizing protests against the shooting of his relative, Opinus Tabuni. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment under article 160 of the Criminal Code for inciting hatred against the Indonesian government. . He has been active while in prison also.

On the third of December 2010 he and fellow political prisoner Filep Karma approached the prison governor to ask questions after hearing that another prisoner, Miron Wetipo, had been shot dead by military after escaping from Abepura prison. Disturbances later broke out amongst the other prisoners. Buchtar, Filep, and another three prisoners were blamed for the riot and transferred to the police headquarters where they have since been held in the atrocious conditions Buchtar describes in his letter.

More information: Human Rights Watch report detailing the situation of Buchtar Tabuni and other Papuan and Malukan political prisoners:
Information about the current situation of Buchtar Tabuni and the other four prisoners who are charged for the events of the 3rd December 2010:

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