In addition to the deception of villagers by companies trying to gain access of their land, there have been some cases of repression when people have tried to organise against MIFEE: On 30th July 2010, the body of Ardiansyah Matra’is (25) was found floating in the Maro River. He was a local journalist in Merauke who had reported critically about investment plans. Although the police claimed it was suicide, he had reportedly received death threats via SMS before he was killed.(86)
SORPATOM is a Papuan group set up to reject MIFEE. On 16th October 2010, the day the group was to be launched in Merauke, police arrested three of the group’s leaders and interrogated them for five hours.(87)
In August 2011, a coalition of NGOs prepared a letter to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter. Before sending off the letter, they wished to present and discuss their findings with local communities who would be affected by MIFEE. At least 12 police and military intelligence officers entered the building, and tried to argue that the relevant permits had not been issued. They barred the foreign legal advisor from attending the meeting and maintained their presence until the end, meaning that the community members felt too intimidated to be joint signatories to the letter, which was signed by NGOs alone.(88)
Merauke is a militarised zone, in part due to its location along the border with Papua New Guinea, and the presence of military outposts close to communities undoubtedly has the effect of intimidating opposition to investment plans. A 2009 report by Human Rights Watch has detailed several incidents of violence towards the local Papuan population by Kopassus special forces in Merauke. These cases are not directly connected with the repression of political movements or investment plans, but do give an insight into the pressure ordinary Papuan people feel from the constant military presence.(89) Of course, many of the potential investors in Merauke also have links with the military -one example being Kertas Nusantara,which is owned by Prabowo Subianto, a former leader of Kopassus.