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5 activists arrested in Papua for collecting earthquake relief funds

Suara Papua - April 5, 2018

Jayapura – Five activists from the Independent Student Forum (FIM) who were involved in a solidarity action to collect to funds for victims of an earthquake in Papua New Guinea were reportedly arrested by police in Jayapura on Thursday April 5.

The activists, who were arrested at the Abepura traffic circle in the Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura, were Yefri Tabuni, Alber Yatipai, Basten Tekege, Barata Pekey and Steven Gobai.

After the police forcibly broke up the action, the five were arrested and taken to the Abepura sectoral police (Polsek) station where they were held for more than an hour after finally being released and sent home at 1.30 pm.

Following his release Albert Yatipai said that police arrested them because they had allegedly disturbed public order and road users and, he said, because it was claimed that they had not submitted a prior notification of the action with police.

"Police forcibly broke up our solidarity action and then made a false arrest because we had already submitted a notification [of the action] with the Papuan Polda [regional police] and the Jayapura Polresta [municipal police]. In the written notification it was clear that we would be holding actions between March 15 and April 15, 2018", said Albert in an email sent to Suara Papua earlier this afternoon.

Albert said that it was solidarity action and purely to assist the victims of the earthquake in PNG and had no link with politics.

"So in this case the police failed and were imprudent, just arresting people for the sake of it", said Albert who is the secretary of the Solidarity Action Collection Fund for PNG Earthquake Victims in Port Numbay.

Another member of the group, Arnold Yarinap, claimed that three cardboard cartons used in the action to collect funds and filled with money were also seized by the police, but only two boxes were returned.

"A carton which contained 50,000 rupiah and 100,000 rupiah in cash was not returned, said Arnold.

Meanwhile when contacted by email for confirmation of the arrests Jayapura municipal police chief Assistant Superintendent Gustav Robby Urbinas explained that, "They were secured and taken to Polsek because the individuals [oknum] did not have a permit for the action nor submitted a notification or had a government recommendation. They appeared to be intoxicated. They were not arrested, thanks".

Urbinas also said that the current generation must be directed by dignified means.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Lima Aktivis FIM Ditahan di Polsek Abepura Saat Galang Dana Untuk Korban Gempa PNG.]

Source: https://suarapapua.com/2018/04/05/lima-aktivis-fim-ditahan-di-polsek-abe-saat-galang-dana-untuk-korban-gempa-png/.

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