Thursday, February 20, 2014


2) RI demands Oz halt boat people operation
4) WWF launches reforestation program in Papua
5) More Outcry Over Papua Cop’s Light Punishment



Jayapura , 20/2 ( Jubi ) – The National Committee of West Papua ( KNPB ), a pro-independence group, is calling on Papuans to boycott the 2014 elections.

Wim Roky Medalama, spokesman for KNPB who is on a police wanted list,  said boycotting the legislative and presidential elections was a form of resistance against Indonesian rule.
“We will certainly boycott the 2014 General Election,” Medalama told in Jayapura on Thursday (2/20). Medalama  has been on the run with the chairman of the National Parliament of West Papua, Buchtar Tabuni, since they were put in the wanted list.

“The Papuans never acknowledge that we are part of the Indonesian nation. Papua was an independent nation,” he said .

Papuans declared self-determination at the National Council of Papua on December 1, 1961, but Indonesia invaded.
“If Indonesia wants Papua to be part of Indonesia, they should have asked the people through a referendum whether they want to be part of Indonesia or not,”Said Wim .

Jakarta always argues that Papua is an inseparable part of Indonesia following the Act of Free Choice in 1969, which is considered flawed by many.

Maikel Awom, an activist of the Risen Papua Student Coalition said that they supported calls for boycotting the elections.
“Our demand is for the Papuan Legislative Council ( DPR Papua) to form local regulations on the existence of the Papuan People’s Protection on Cultural Recognition, Indigenous Customary Rights to land and the prohibition of alcohol circulation,” Awom said. ( Jubi / Mawel/ Tina )

2) RI demands Oz halt boat people operation
Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, February 21 2014, 8:46 AM
The Indonesian government has reiterated its demand for Australia to stop its border operation crackdown on boat people, following Canberra’s revelation that there were at least six instances of Australian ships entering Indonesian territory during the operation.

However, the Indonesian authorities claimed there were five breaches instead of the six suggested by the Australian authorities’ review released on Jan. 19, leaving the question of whether there were further infringements after Australia lodged its formal apology on Jan. 17.

“As I have said on some occasions in the past, territorial infringement for whatever reason is a very serious problem for the two countries’ relationship.

“Indonesia is urging Australia to stop this operation that led to territorial breaches,” Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Ministry spokesman Vice Marshall Agus Ruchyan Barnas told The Jakarta Post on Thursday, referring to Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB).

Agus confirmed that Australia, via its embassy in Jakarta, had sent a formal diplomatic note to the Foreign Ministry on Jan. 17, apologizing for the territorial breaches made by Australian ships.

In the diplomatic note, Agus said, Australia had admitted to having “inadvertently” entered Indonesian waters in five out of six “boat turn-back operations” carried out by Australia, namely on Dec. 12, 22 and 25 last year, as well as on Jan. 1, 6 and 7 this year.

But Agus said he did not know which five out of the six had resulted in border trespassing.

The joint review, conducted by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Defense Force, found that Australian vessels “inadvertently entered Indonesian waters on six occasions” in connection with OSB from Dec. 1 to Jan. 20.

Agus refused to comment on the differing data in the diplomatic note and the internal Australian review.

He also declined to speculate on whether there could have been more breaches in the period between Jan. 17, when Australia formally lodged its apology, and Jan. 20, which was the end of the joint review’s time frame.

“Australia’s clear policy is to not breach Indonesia’s territorial waters. We have given a clear commitment that we will be ensuring strict compliance with this policy, to ensure there will be no recurrence of these events, which we deeply regret,” Australian Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison said on Jan. 18.

Also on Thursday, Australian Defense Force chief Gen. David Hurley admitted that Jakarta-Canberra military relations were at a “go-slow” point after the navy had repeatedly breached Indonesian waters.

He said he had briefed his Indonesian counterparts on the findings of the review. “Like us, they’re disappointed that it occurred, but they understand how it may have occurred,” he told ABC radio as quoted by AFP.

“At the end of the meeting, particularly between the chiefs of navies, there was an agreement that this was an accurate summary of what had occurred and they’re accepting of that explanation.”

OSB aims to repel boats carrying undocumented migrants largely coming from Indonesia — a hard-line policy that has stoked tensions between the two countries.

Canberra claimed no such boats had arrived for several weeks thanks to the operation, but Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa expressed regret over “the consequences for the [Indonesia-Australia] bilateral relationship”.

Hurley conceded that the incident had weighed on relations already strained by a spying row late last year and a second surveillance controversy this week — both of which arose from leaks by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden.

Indonesia suspended cooperation in a number of areas including people smuggling and military exercises over last year’s revelations that Australia had attempted to tap the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and several top officials in 2009.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia and Indonesia were “facing some challenges [...] and the Australian government will do what it can to resolve them”.

Bishop said progress had been made on a code of conduct between the two countries, stipulated by Indonesia as a condition of restoring relations, with Australia waiting to receive feedback on a first draft.

“We had a very long conversation only last week and it was a very fruitful, very productive discussion,” she said after talking to Marty. “Our relationship across a whole range of areas, some 60 or more areas of engagement, continues to flourish.”

Jayapura, 20/2 (Jubi) – The central government has earmarked 345 billion rupiah for School Operational Grant (BOS) in Papua province, the provincial education chief said.

“The allocated funds will be distributed to all elementary and junior high schools throughout Papua,” said the head of Papua’s Education, Youth and Sport Department, Elias Wonda.

The funds have been long time transferred to the provincial government, however the Governor must  complete administration requirements before distributing the money to the regencies and municipalities,” Wonda told to reporters on Tuesday (20/2) in Jayapura, Papua.

Around 171 billion has been distributed to 433,152 students of elementary schools (approx. 125 billion) and 127,960 students of junior high schools (approx. 45 billion) in the first semester of January – June 2014 period.
“The Provincial Education Department only manages administration requirements. The Financial Board then will transfer the funds to regencies and municipalities, and then the money is transferred to the regional account before being distributed to the bank account of each school,” he said.

He added that of 29 regencies and municipalities, Jayapura Municipality received the biggest amount of around 14 billion in the first semester. In 2013, the ceiling of the BOS funds was at 322 billion rupiah.

Meanwhile, a resident of Jayapura City, Julia Wakerkwa, said she hoped the BOS funds from the central government could reach proper beneficiaries and will not be stolen by corrupt officials. (Jubi/Alex/rom)


4) WWF launches reforestation program in Papua

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Thu, February 20 2014, 6:21 PM
The Papua chapter of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an international organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species, has launched "Newtrees”, a program which is aimed at supporting both government and global programs to reduce carbon emissions and to replant forests. 

WWF Indonesia restoration coordinator Dudi Rufendi said the Newtrees program sought to rehabilitate forests and lands in an integrated way by involving all related government institutions, the private sector and the community.

“The program also gives opportunities for companies and institutions to help save the earth by reforesting protected forests,” said Dudi in Sentani, Papua, on Thursday as quoted by Antara news agency.

Under the program, trees will be individually labeled with geotags that can be tracked via Google Earth so the growth of the trees can be monitored by program stakeholders.

“It is hoped that forest and land rehabilitation efforts in the future can involve the government, private sector and indigenous peoples to take part more actively in tree planting activities,” said Dudi.

Rocky Aloysius, the coordinator of sustainable management at WWF Indonesia in Sahul, Papua, said that by planting trees, damaged forests and land could again function for both water catchment and carbon storage, one of the climate strategies delivered via the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus (REDD+) program.

“Therefore, we in Jayapura regency are trying to carry out the Newtrees program, which will begin with training activities on plant growth monitoring via geotagging,” said Rocky. (ebf)


5) More Outcry Over Papua Cop’s Light Punishment

By Jeis Montesori on 10:04 am February 21, 2014.
Jakarta. Judicial Commission chairman Suparman Marzuki has promised to investigate a suspiciously lenient sentence handed by a Sorong court to a police officer charged with money laundering and smuggling offenses.

Adj. First Insp Labora Sitorus, allegedly known as a “cash machine” for higher-ranking police in West Papua province, is to be punished with just two years’ prison and a small fine of Rp 50 million ($4,250) despite evidence that he laundered up to Rp 1.5 trillion in criminal proceeds. The charges brought by prosecutors, which included fuel smuggling and exporting a protected timber species, had seen him facing a possible 20 years.

“The two-year sentence handed down to Labora Sitorus by the Sorong District Court is an unbelievable verdict, there is something [suspicious] about it,” Suparman told reporters in Jayapura on Wednesday.

Suparman attributed the very lenient sentence to several factors.

“There are several patterns behind the unbelievable sentence. The first is weak preliminary and full investigations, secondly blurred or weak charges or indictment, and third the judges’ verdict falling far short [of the prosecution’s request],” Suparman said.

Suparman said he had been monitoring Labora’s case since it first emerged. “We will probe this unbelievable verdict and we have set up a team and it will work to investigate this,” he said.

Investigation stifled

Suparman said he had heard that investigators in Labora’s case were at one time ordered to stop through an official “SP3” warrant.

Asked whether the SP3 was recommended by a police general, Suparman nodded. “Yes, there’s some information but what have the people at the Police Commission done?”

Suparman said the Judicial Commission investigation would root out the motivation behind the lenient verdict.

“There was something behind the verdict, whether it was bribery or something else and that’s what we’re going to investigate,” he said.

A judge in Jayapura who wished to remain anonymous, agreed that the two-year verdict was absurd.

“The judges’ verdict was like setting him free,” he said .

Dian Adriawan, a criminal law expert at Jakarta’s Trisakti University, also questioned on Monday the court’s decision to acquit Labora of the most serious charge under the nation’s 2010 Anti-Money-Laundering Law.

“If he had been convicted of Article 3 of the law on laundering criminal proceeds, then the court would also have had to convict him of the connected charge under Article 5,” Dian said, referring to the provision, which makes it a criminal offence to receive laundered funds.

A money-laundering conviction for Labora would therefore have obliged the court to publicly name the recipients of the criminal proceeds, which allegedly include high-ranking police officers, Dian said.

Prosecutors had also indicted Labora under the 2002 Oil and Gas Law for fuel smuggling, but the court also acquitted him of that charge.

Labora was instead found guilty only on one charge under the 1999 Forestry Law.

Had the court found him guilty on all three charges, besides 20 years in prison he could have been fined up to Rp 10 billion.

Labora’s sentence has also drawn criticism from overseas. UK-based conservation organization the Environmental Investigation Agency said on Thursday that it had documented Labora’s forestry crimes back in 2009, and had since been waiting for justice to be delivered. His lenient treatment made a mockery of Indonesia’s timber legality scheme, EIA said.

Police denials

National Police director of special economic crimes Arief Sulistyono claimed that the police had taken every step to investigate Labora’s case.

“In terms of investigation, we have made maximum efforts to pull up evidence,” Arief said at the National Police headquarters on Wednesday.

He said it wasn’t true that it was only the police investigating one of their own, but that they collaborated with other government institutions to build the case against Labora.

“The National Police didn’t work alone, there was the PPATK [Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center] and the Attorney General’s Office. We analyzed it together,” Arief said.

Based on the joint investigation, those institutions concluded that Labora’s wealth was ill-gotten, made through money laundering for illegal oil, gas and logging deals.

“If the activities were illegal, then the proceeds are also illegal,” he stated.

Arief said the crimes committed by Labora resulted in handsome profits with which he was able to avoid justice through various efforts.

“If needed, [Labora] would bribe investigators. But we have commitments. That’s the dynamics of law enforcement. If criminals collaborate, then why can’t law enforcers also collaborate to capture them?” Arief said.


Labora’s case electrified the nation last year when the National Police confirmed findings by anti-money-laundering watchdog PPATK that Rp 1.5 trillion in suspicious funds had passed through the low-ranking officer’s bank accounts between 2007 and 2012.

Police then seized a boat, registered in Labora’s name, carrying 400,000 liters of subsidized fuel, which they alleged was smuggled into Papua to be sold at a markup.

Worst of all in many people’s minds was confirmation that police were apparently involved in illegally destroying the country’s irreplaceable old-growth forests. More than 100 containers of the rare tropical hardwood merbau found at Surabaya’s port and destined for China were also traced back to the officer.

Merbau, a highly valued timber, has been placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species and is prohibited for export in its rough-sawn form.

At the time of Labora’s arrest, expectations were high that the ensuing investigation would net higher-ranking officers who were widely believed to have taken kickbacks for allowing the illegal operations to run for years.

However, no other suspects from the police force were ever named, and the two-year sentence handed down on Monday only confirmed that local authorities were trying to shield senior officers, Dian said.

“I believe there’s a cover-up,” he said. ”They’ve got the proof of the crime, so it’s simply bizarre that they haven’t traced where the proceeds went.”

He added it was inconceivable that a lone, low-ranking officer like Labora would have been able to operate schemes of this scale for years without help from more senior police officers.

Indonesia Police Watch chair Neta S. Pane said IPW deplores the court’s failure to name the 33 high-ranking police officers believed to have taken a cut of Labora’s operations.

“It’s a shame that the various testimonies and evidence presented at the trial were not considered by the panel of judges,” Neta said. “From here it’s pretty apparent that the police are covering up for their members who received money from Labora, and that they are being protected by the force and will never be prosecuted.”

The Papua Public Prosecutor’s Office said it would immediately file an appeal with the West Papua High Court.

“A two-year sentence is far below the prosecutors’ request of 15 years,” said E.S. Maruli Hutagalung, head of the prosecutor’s office. “Clearly it’s not commensurate with our demand, so we’re filing an appeal.”

Colleagues and associates

Among the high-ranking police who are alleged to have received funds laundered by Labora is Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian. Tito is alleged to have received Rp 629 million in payments traced from Labora’s bank accounts, according to a report which quoted Labora’s evidence to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

“I can guarantee 100 percent that Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian did not receive even one cent from Labora Sitorus,” Papua Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr Sulistyo Pudjo Hartono told the Jakarta Globe recently.

Sulistyo said it was highly unlikely Tito would have received funds from Labora, as he did not assume his position as Papua Police chief until September 2012. The funds which are said to have flowed to several high-ranking officers in Papua were allegedly distributed between January and June that year.

“This is just a rumor. Please don’t exaggerate it, give us some evidence instead,” Sulistyo said.

He refuted claims that Tito received money from Labora during a 2013 visit to the Raja Ampat area along with controversial businessman Tomy Winata and former Deputy National Police chief Comr. Gen. Nanan Sukarna. Labora was previously stationed at Raja Ampat.

However, Sulistyo admitted that at least 17 Papua Police officers have been investigated for allegedly receiving funds from Labora.

For his part, Labora has claimed that he was the fall guy in a wider network involving a number of high-ranking police officers who were looking for loopholes to shut down or take over his business  enterprises.

“I am the victim of a conspiracy set up by people who have business intentions in Sorong,” he said. Labora said he regularly transferred money to several officers in police divisions in Papua and Jakarta.

Also among those suspected of receiving funds were two former Papua Police chiefs, Insp. Gen. Bekto Suprapto and Insp. Gen. Bigman Luman Tobing.

“We are still looking into that matter, let’s not accuse anyone without proof,” Sulistyo said.

Aside from police officers, investigators also named two civilian suspects — the operational directors of timber firm Rotua and fuel company Seno Adi Wijaya, identified as I.N. and J.L. respectively.

Labora was arrested in May 2013 following the seizure of the 400,000 liters of fuel from the boat registered in his name. Around a million liters of fuel were eventually confiscated.

Later in May, police at Surabaya’s Tanjung Perak port seized 115 containers with 2,264 cubic meters of merbau logs allegedly belonging to Labora. The illegal timber, which came from the West Papua district of Sorong, is estimated to be worth $20 million at current market prices.

Most of Indonesia’s remaining merbau trees are in Papua, where large tracts of virgin forest remain unexploited, unlike the heavily deforested islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

But with loggers having exhausted the western forests, many are now turning their attention to Papua, with the result that the province has lost a quarter of its forests over the past 12 years.


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