Saturday, March 5, 2016

1) Papuan Catholic groups protest harassment of priest

2) Islands in focus: Jayapura  to adopt Surabaya city  programs - 
3) Police, prison officials  left red-faced as Labora  does a runner - 
1) Papuan Catholic groups protest harassment of priest
Police may question Father John Djonga a second time on treason charges
Benny Mawel, Jayapura, Indonesia March 4, 2016

Protesters in Indonesia’s West Papua province call on police to stop harassing an activist priest recently
 questioned for treason.  (Photo courtesy of Thomas Jefferson Baru)

Dozens of young Catholics in West Papua protested in the provincial capital Manokwari March 2, demanding that police stop harassing an activist priest recently questioned for treason.
Protesters from the Catholic Youth and the Union of Catholic University Students of the Republic of Indonesia organizations marched several kilometers from the State University of Papua to the offices of the West Papua Police where they held the protest. 
"Through the West Papua Police, we urge the Papua Police to stop criminalizing Father John Djonga," Thomas Jefferson Baru, head of the Catholic Youth's West Papua chapter, told
Father Djonga was summoned by police in Wamena in Papua province on Feb. 19, four days after leading a prayer service in which members of a separatist group were alleged to have participated. The priest has maintained that his presence at the ceremony to open a community service building was purely pastoral.
Father Djonga appeared at the police station in the district's capital on Feb. 26 after consulting with Franciscan Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar of Jayapura. Accompanied by a lawyer, he answered 55 questions from two police officers during the four-hour meeting. Police have said they may call on Father Djonga for further questioning.
Baru said protesters are calling on police to leave Father Djonga alone. 
"Summoning and questioning the priest is a form of criminalization as he was just leading a prayer service," he said.
Reimondus Asem, secretary of the student union's Fakfak district chapter, said the police harassment of their priest has caused an emotional upheaval among local Catholics.
He believes police questioned Father Djonga because they have little understanding of the priest's role in the community.
They should have a better understanding of a priest's service "so there will be no misunderstanding," he said.
Papuan police spokesman Patridge Renwarin told that Father Djonga is currently considered a "witness" to a violation of Indonesia's criminal code pertaining to treason. The spokesman said the priest would become a "suspect" should further evidence be uncovered that implicates him.
Earlier, Father Djonga, who has long fought for the rights of the Papuan people, said he was told police may call him in for further questioning. He said he remained unfazed by the police scrutiny.
"It has been my work in the region with conflicts like this. I have no fear," he said. "There's no way I can just stand still while the Papuan people face injustices and violence."

2) Islands in focus: Jayapura  to adopt Surabaya city  programs - 
The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Archipelago | Sat, March 05 2016, 9:12 AM - 
JAYAPURA: Jayapura Mayor Benhur Tommy Mano said on Friday that he would adopt a number of Surabaya’s programs to improve the city. 

Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini visited Jayapura to celebrate its 106th anniversary, and to share her experience in leading East Java’s capital city. “We learned from Surabaya how to make a modern and beautiful city. In addition, we will also adopt Surabaya’s strategy in implementing IT-based services,” he said. However, there are many challenges that should be tackled before implementing the programs, he said. 

“For example, if we want to have IT-based services, we need to improve the city’s internet bandwidth,” he said. 

During her visit, Risma, recipient of the prestigious Bung Hatta anticorruption award, also called for residents to work together to maintain the city’s cleanliness. “It’s not just the governor’s responsibility, it’s also the people’s job to keep the city clean,”she said. - 
3) Police, prison officials  left red-faced as Labora  does a runner - 
Nethy Dharma Somba, Haeril Halim and Severianus Endi, The Jakarta Post, Sorong/Pontianak | Headlines | Sat, March 05 2016, 8:41 AM -
Labora Sitorus, a former low-ranking officer with the Raja Ampat Police in West Papua, has once again made a mockery of Indonesia’s law-enforcement agencies. 

Having been temporarily released from detention last year, despite the huge time and effort that had been expended getting him into prison in the first place, the convicted money launderer, fuel stockpiler and illegal logger is once again on the run. 

Labora avoided arrest on Friday after being tipped off that prison officials were on the way to transfer him to Cipinang Penitentiary in Jakarta to serve out his 15-year prison term handed down by the Supreme Court in 2014. 

His planned transfer to Cipinang came after it became apparent that West Papua law-enforcement authorities were either unable or unwilling to detain Labora, who was found at the time of his first arrest to have a bank account with a balance of Rp 1.5 trillion (US$104 million). 

Labora had not returned to his cell in Sorong Penitentiary since October last year, having been allowed out for medical treatment, and had lived in a heavily guarded residential compound in Sorong, where he ran his business. 

On Friday morning dozens of prison officials, backed up by police and military personnel, stormed Labora’s residence in order to take him to Jakarta but were ultimately unable to locate him. 

“We suspect the involvement of [law enforcement] officials in his escape,” Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said, while declining to elaborate further. 

Yasonna has sought the assistance of the National Police to hunt down Labora. 

The ministry’s director general of penitentiaries, I Wayan Dusak, explained that the 200 personnel who had attempted to enter Labora’s residence were met with stiff resistance from dozens of the fugitive’s supporters.

“A police Barracuda armored vehicle was deployed to penetrate Labora’s residential compound because his supporters repeatedly pelted us with stones,” he said. 

“We then contained his supporters, but could not find him.” 

Labora has a record of avoiding prison. He was declared a fugitive in January last year for refusing to serve his prison sentence or pay a fine of Rp 5 billion. 

He was later found to be living with dozens of his employees in his residence, a 7-hectare compound that resembled a fortress.

It was not until late February that 720 police and military personnel, acting on direct orders from Jakarta, finally arrested Labora.

Minister Yasonna said at the time that Labora had remained free because he was protected by a strong network of powerful people.

West Papua Police chief Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw rejected Yasonna’s allegations, arguing that Labora’s resistance to his arrest at the time was the result of a misunderstanding.

Shortly after his first detention, Labora repeatedly lodged requests for temporary release to enable him to receive medical treatment outside the prison. The demands were granted without hesitation by prison authorities.

National Police Gen. Badrodin Haiti, however, was quick to blame prison authorities for the latest fiasco. “Just ask the law and human rights minister how a prisoner can so easily avoid prison and escape,” said a visibly irate Badrodin. 

— Ina Parlina and Stefany ribka also contributed to the story

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