Community Anxious, Wants Protection from the Law

[awasMIFEE note: This is an update on the case where a man from Sanggase village died in police custody after being arrested on New Year’s Eve. The victim’s, referred to in previous articles as Roni, is given his full name, Petrus Aluend. The police appear not to have conducted a serious investigation into the incident, merely moved the officer responsible to a different station and offered the victim’s family limited financial compensation. ]


(Feb 2014) Police in Merauke have yet to provide an explanation of the death of Petrus Aluend, a resident of Sanggase village. A doctor at the local clinic said he died because of chronic stomach problems. However, according to family members, the man died after being subjected to violence at the local police station, along with friends of his that were also arrested.

This violence was believed to be the cause of Petrus Aluend’s death. A particular concern is that the police office who was believed to have been the perpetrator has not been in the area for some time and there are signs that he has been transferred to Merauke city. “There has been no clear explaination of this”, said Sanggase Resident Marius Matiwend.

“The community is anxious because there is no certainty that the law is there to protect them”, said Tarsius Matiwend, the Sanggase Parish Church Council Leader. The people heard that the police had given the victim’s family 30 million Rupiah to express their condolences. Whereas what the family wants is an investigation and legal sanctions taken against the perpetrator, along with a recognition of the victim’s right to justice and that of his family.

“The police have not made a serious attempt to find a resolution for this violent incident – it is not money we want, but protection from the law, justice and the restoration of our rights”, explained Tarsius Matiwend.

Another factor behind the community’s anxiety is that the police’s lack of seriousness towards the community is also believed to affect their ability to protect the community’s rights as they face up to sugar-cane and food crops plantation companies (PT CGAD and Astra Group), which are currently trying to negotiate access to community land.

Source: Pusaka

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