Yusak Pakage questioned by police for possessing a pocket knife

West Papua Media Alerts, by Jubi and Bintang Papua - The former political prisoner, Yusak Pakage, was taken to a police station in Jayapura for questioning after an incident that occurred while he was sitting in court, waiting for the second hearing in the trial of Buchtar Tabuni on 23 July to begin.

The JUBI report says that, while sitting there, he was showing his anger [presumably feeling incensed at the fact that a man of Buchtar Tabuni's stature and reputation was facing charges in court].

[Note: Yusak Pakage was arrested together with Filep Karma in 2004 and sentenced to 15 years for unfurling a Morning Star Flag and was released a year ago.]

Feeling infuriated, he is said to have kicked a spittoon, the contents of which splashed the trousers of an official of the local administration who was sitting next to him. The official responded angrily and moved away, in the direction of some police officers who were present in court.

A police officer then approached Pakage and searched him and say that he was found to be in possession of a pocket knife. The police officer then grabbed him roughly and forced him into a police vehicle outside to take him in for questioning for carrying a sharp implement allegedly with the intention of stabbing someone.

The JUBI report makes it clear that he was not holding the knife in his hand at the time but the knife was found in his pocket when he was searched.

The Bintang Papua report identifies Yusak Pakage as the co-ordinator of the Papuan Street Parliament and in entitled ‘Street Parliament co-ordinator could go back to prison’. It states that the local police chief said that he would be interrogated ‘because his behaviour was seen as a threat to someone’s security’ and said that he could be charged under Emergency Regulation 12/1951 for posing a danger to another person’s safety and could face up to five years.

Two reports summarised by TAPOL]

[COMMENT: This incident shows how insecure former political prisoners are in West Papua, even after having served their sentence.]