Monday, September 16, 2019

1) Increase noted in intimidation of legal advocates for Papuans



2) THREATS AGAINST AND JUDICIAL HARASSMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER VERONICA KOMAN
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1) Increase noted in intimidation of legal advocates for Papuans
5:27 pm today 



A leading Indonesian human rights advocate has noted increased intimidation of rights lawyers representing West Papuans.
This comes amid a security forces crackdown in Papua following a surge of anti-racism and pro-independence protests and related unrest which left at least ten people dead.
Police have arrested over 80 Papuans for involvement in the protests, including some prominent independence activists.
IDN Times reports that the director of the Lokataru Law and Human Rights Office, Haris Azhar, has been collecting data on intimidation cases
He said there were a number of cases of criminalisation, intimidation and repression of legal advocates for those arrested or targeted.
This includes physical assaults, and mobilisation of mobs to intimidate advocates.
Mr Azhar cited as examples the recent demonstrations outside the Jakarta offices of the Legal Aid Institute and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence.
And according to the Jakarta Post, a number of those facing charges for staging the protests have been interrogated without access to lawyers.

Furthermore, journalists covering these developments in Papua have also been targeted, with a Jakarta Post journalist in Papua last week reported to have had his house searched by paramilitary police.
Mr Azhar accused Indonesia's government of mismanaging developments in Papua with an authoritarian response that he warned would fail to address the core problems.

Indonesian rights lawyer denies West Papua incitement

An Indonesian human rights lawyer accused by police of inciting violence in West Papua has defended her name.
Earlier this month a police warrant was issued for Veronica Koman, who is in Australia, after police claimed she spread fake news online.
Indonesian authorities have blamed disinformation and Papuan independence activists for a recent wave of protests in the region.
But Ms Koman, who has defended Papuan independence activists in court, said the claims against her were fabricated.
In her first statement since being named a suspect on 4 September, she claimed that police have intimidated her family in Jakarta and falsely stated that Interpol was hunting her down.

Ms Koman said that last year, when she gave a series of public talks in Australia, Indonesian embassy staff intimidated her by taking pictures and recordings of the events.
"The embassy reported me to my scholarship institution, with the complaint that I was supporting separatism at the events. It disrupted my relationship with the institution and my masters study," she said.
Indonesian media reported police saying they had asked their Australian counterparts to bring Ms Koman to the Indonesian embassy in Australia on Friday and that if she didn't hand herself in to Indonesian authorities by September 18, they would issue an INTERPOL red notice for her.
The Irish rights group Front Line Defenders urged Indonesia to drop its case against Ms Koman.
"Front Line Defenders expresses grave concern at the escalating threats against and judicial harassment of Veronica Koman, which it believes is solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights," it said in a statement on Friday.

The Dutch rights group Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada said the charges against Ms Koman interfered with "the fundamental right to legal counsel for people whose human rights may have been violated by Indonesian security personnel".
Failing to condemn violence against lawyers "has a chilling effect on society," L4L executive director Sophie de Graaf wrote in a letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and several other Indonesian ministers and government agencies.
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Front Line Defenders
2) THREATS AGAINST AND JUDICIAL HARASSMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER VERONICA KOMAN
13 September 2019
Threats against and judicial harassment of human rights lawyer Veronica Koman
On 13 September 2019, the East Java Police announced that Veronica Koman must appear at the Indonesian Embassy in Australia to comply with a summons which was scheduled for today. The police stated that if the human rights defender fails to present herself to the Indonesian authorities by 18 September 2019, they will include her on their wanted list and issue an Interpol red notice for her. Veronica Koman is currently in Australia as a result of ongoing threats against her in Indonesia.
Veronica Koman is a human rights defender and lawyer who advocates extensively for human rights in West Papua. She is a member of International Lawyers for West Papua, an international network of lawyers working to strengthen the human rights of the people of West Papua. Previously, she worked as a public interest lawyer at the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta). In the midst of the recent internet blackout in West Papua following mass demonstrations in the region, Veronica Koman has been disseminating information about developments in the situation on social media and has functioned as a key source of information to the outside world.
On 13 September 2019, Veronica Koman received news that she had until 18 September 2019 to appear at the Indonesian Embassy in Australia to comply with a summons that the East Java Police had issued to her, which was scheduled for today. The police had announced on 10 September 2019 that this was the second summons they had issued to the human rights defender, but she has not received either of them. The police also said that they will include Veronica Koman on the Indonesian National Police’s wanted list and issue an Interpol red notice for her in the event that she fails to comply with their directions.
The summons issued to Veronica Koman is linked to information she has been sharing on social media about the ongoing mass demonstrations in the provinces of Papua and West Papua that began on 19 August 2019. These demonstrations were sparked by the intimidation and arrests of 43 Papuan students on 17 August 2019 in Surabaya for allegedly disrespecting the Indonesian flag. Police officers had fired tear gas into the dormitory before arresting the students, some of whom were injured in the process. Veronica Koman shared videos of this incident and the resultant uprisings in Papua and West Papua on her social media channels.
On 19 August 2019, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology said that the human rights defender’s tweet on the arrests in Surabaya was a “hoax”, but later apologised for saying so on 22 August 2019. Nonetheless, as a result of this, Veronica Koman began receiving a deluge of online attacks, rape and death threats, and allegations that she was spreading false information about the situation in Papua and West Papua.
On 4 September 2019, the East Java police officially named Veronica Koman a suspect for incitement (under Article 160 of the Criminal Code), spreading fake news (under Article 15 of Law number 1 of 1946 concerning criminal law and procedure), displaying race-based hatred (under Article 16 of Law number 40 of 2008 concerning the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination), and disseminating information aimed at inflicting ethnic hatred (under Law number 19 of 2016 concerning Electronic Information and Transactions). The police also announced that they will collaborate with Interpol to arrest the human rights defender who is currently in Australia.
On 7 September 2019, the East Java police announced that they would invalidate Veronica Koman’s passport and freeze both her national and international bank accounts. Following this, on 10 September, the Indonesian immigration department agreed to a police request to cancel the human rights defender’s passport and it is reported that the process has been initiated. The Indonesian Minister of Law also publicly announced that the Australian authorities will deport Veronica Koman once her passport is cancelled.
Front Line defenders expresses grave concern at the escalating threats against and judicial harassment of Veronica Koman, which it believes is solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights.
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