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Home » » Police Use Gun To Threaten Papuan Rights Advocate

Police Use Gun To Threaten Papuan Rights Advocate

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on June 25, 2008 | 11:07 PM

Police use gun to threaten Rev Sofian Yoman, outspoken Human Rights advocate, at Church service

The Rev Socretez Sofian Yoman, President of the Baptist Church in West Papua, has been threatened by members of the Indonesian Police and members of military intelligence with a gun outside Sunday service in Jayapura.

Rev Socratez Sofian Yoman, the President of the Communion of Baptist Churches, Jayapura, West Papua, is an outspoken advocate of Human Rights and a critic the action of the TNI (Military) and the policies of the Indonesian Government in West Papua.

Rev Sofian Yoman has spoken about military & police human rights abuse, the recent rise of Military backed civilian militias in West Papua, the failure of Jakartas 5 year old 'special autonomy' package and the policies of Indonesian government which he has described as 'Genocidal'.

Reports last night and today indicate that Rev Sofian Yoman was threatened and intimidated by members of the Indonesian Police, Brimob and Military (TNI) intelligence service outside the Sunday service of the Baptist Church in Jayapura at 5.30 pm 29 July 2007.

Outside the Church Rev Sofian Yoman was approached by the Police and threatened at gun point. Rev Yoman said that a pistol was pointed directly at him and he was verbally threatened. The Policeman with the pistol was reported to be Abiddin Zainal, a member of the local police in Abepura.

Rev Yoman said he told the Police that they had no business at the Church and they had gone away but returned after a short period and threatened him with the gun.

He also said that, "Military intelligence has infiltrated the Baptist church and are trying to subvert the work of the church in relation to protecting the Human Rights of the West Papuan people."

Rev Yoman said, that members from the Indonesian administration and security forces in the Highlands were trying to silence him and have him 'forcibly removed 'from his role as President of the Baptist church in West Papua.

Rev Yoman said that the Police action is supported by Bupati/regent Pegunaungan Bitang (Star Mountains District) Wellington Wenda, Bupati Jayawijaya, (Wamena District) Nicolas Yigibalom, Major TNI (Military) Marthen Kogoya & Adolof Kogoya member MRP (Peoples Legislative Assembly).

Paula Makabory spokesperson for the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights said "This intimidation is to silence an outspoken church leader and is similar to the attempt earlier this year by the Police to take control of the Kingme church (Bible Tabunacal Church of West Papua)."

"The West Papuan churches are one of the few independent voices for the rights of the people. Rev Sofian Yoman is a fearless voice for exposing what is happening in West Papua. But the TNI (Indonesian military) try to influence other members of the church to pull him down."

"Parts of the Indonesian government and particularly the military are taking increasing action in West Papua to stop people who speak for the rights of the people."

"My organisation is very concerned about Rev Yomans personal safety, especially with the apparent rise in repressive action by the Military and Police. The Indonesian President should step in to safeguard Rev Yoman and other West Papuan people so they have the right to speak freely."


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