Journalist stabbed in Indonesia

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In the early hours of 3 March, journalist Banjir Ambarita was stabbed in the Indonesian province of Papua, reports Amnesty International.

Banjir Ambarita in hospital - Photo courtesy of vogelkoppapua.org

He is in intensive care (as of 3 March), recovering after an operation. He is at risk of further attacks and intimidation.

Banjir Ambarita is a journalist with Bintang Papua, a local newspaper, based in Jayapura, Papua province. He was stabbed at about 1.00am in the morning of 3 March 2011. Banjir Ambarita was on his motorcycle heading home when the attack occurred. Reliable sources told Amnesty International that when he was in front of the Jayapura Mayor’s office, two men on a motorcycle approached him, stabbed him twice in the chest and stomach and sped off. As he began to bleed, Banjir Ambarita rode his motorcycle to the nearby police station. Police officers took him to the Marthen Indey Hospital in Aryoko, Jayapura. He had an operation on 3 March 2011 and is recovering in hospital.

Banjir Ambarita has worked in Papua province for five years and is also a regular contributor to Vivanews and The Jakarta Globe. He had recently written about two alleged rape cases involving the police. In the first case, which occurred in February 2011, four police officers and three civilians allegedly raped and tortured a 15-year-old girl in Biak, Papua province. In a second case, three police officers forced a woman detainee to perform oral sex on them over a three-month period from November 2010 to January 2011 at the Jayapura police detention centre in Papua province. The three officers were reportedly only given disciplinary punishments of 21 days’ detention and a delay of their promotions. The media coverage of the second incident led to the resignation of Jayapura Police Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Imam Setiawan on 1 March 2011 and a report on the incident filed by the woman’s husband to the Papua branch of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

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International human rights observers, non-governmental organisations and journalists are severely restricted in their work in Papua amid ongoing reports of serious human rights violations by the police and military.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Indonesian or your own language calling on authorities in Indonesia:
– To immediately conduct a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the attack against Banjir Ambarita and bring the perpetrators to justice in accordance with international fair trial standards;
– To take immediate steps to provide appropriate protection to Banjir Ambarita, according to his wishes;
– To initiate an independent investigation into the two reported rape cases highlighted by Banjir Ambarita, and ensure that, should the allegations be verified, those responsible be brought to justice in fair trials and victims receive reparations;
– To ensure that all human rights defenders in Papua, including local journalists, can work freely, independently and with full protection from state authorities.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 14 APRIL 2011 TO:
Papua Police Chief
Inspektur Jenderal Bekto Suprapto
Papua Police Chief (Kapolda)
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura,
Papua,
Indonesia
Fax: +62 967 531717
Salutation: Dear Kapolda

Minister of Justice and Human Rights
Mr. Patrialis Akbar
Ministry of Justice and Human Rights
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav No. 4-5
Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950 Indonesia
Fax: +62 21 525 3095
Salutation: Dear Minister

Chairperson National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM)
Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
Chairperson National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM)
Jl Latuharhary
No.4 Menteng Jakarta Pusat
10310
Indonesia
Fax: +62 21 39 25 227
Salutation: Dear Ifdhal Kasim

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Additional Information

In recent years, there have been a number of cases of intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders and journalists in Indonesia.

In July 2010, Tama Satrya Langkun, a Jakarta based anti-corruption activist, was severely beaten by unknown persons in an apparent move to silence him. That same month, Ardiansyah Matra, a journalist covering corruption and illegal logging in Papua, was found dead in the province. Despite police investigations, no one has yet been held accountable for these attacks.

Amnesty International has documented how victims and witnesses in Papua have little available legal remedies to make complaints about human rights violations. In a report published in June 2009, Amnesty International highlighted weaknesses in internal and external accountability mechanisms to deal with police abuse. To date, these mechanisms have yet to be reviewed.

UA: 53/11 Index: ASA 21/004/2011 Issue Date: 3 March 2011

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