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Action needed over assault case

Soldiers violated the victim’s human rights, says activist

Action needed over assault case
Father John Jonga when he received the award last year
By Karolus Kundal, Jayapura

June 17, 2011

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Father John Djonga, a Catholic priest and human rights activist in Papua province, called on a local military commander yesterday to discipline two soldiers accused of assaulting an 18-year-old man last month.

The alleged victim, Yani Meage from Kurima in Yahukimo district, accused a group of soldiers from Infantry Battalion 756 Wim Anesili of slapping and kicking him after a dispute over the payment of a taxi fare on May 31.

At the time of the alleged attack, one of the soldiers was working as a motor taxi driver and had given Yani Meage a ride.

Father Djonga told reporters in Jayapura that the commander of the battalion must take action against the soldiers involved in the attack.

“The commander … must be held responsible for the mistreatment of the young man, because what his soldiers did violated [the victim’s] human rights.”

He further urged the commander to prohibit soldiers under his authority from conducting business commonly done by civilians, which he said violates military law.

“There are military personnel everywhere here in Papua. They pass themselves off as motorcycle taxi drivers, meatball sellers and other workers. As a result, civilians become victims,” he said.

Father Djonga’s statements follow a call last week by Theo Heksegem, chairman of the Law Enforcement and Human Rights Advocacy Network for the Central Highlands of Papua to dismiss the soldiers allegedly involved in the assault.

Theo Heksegem told reporters last week that his organization had requested the dismissal and that Indonesia’s Human Rights Act of 2004 provided sufficient legal grounds for the action.
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