Dear President of Indonesia,
INDONESIA: Authorities refuse to treat political prisoner with tumour
Name of victim: Kimanus Wenda
Names of alleged perpetrators: Staff of Nabire prison
Date of incident: 2010-now
Place of incident: Nabire prison, Nabire, Papua
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the condition of Kimanus Wenda, a political prisoner at Nabire prison.
According to the information received from the Asian Human Rights Commission, on 4 April 2003, at around 1am local time, there was a burglary at 1702/ Jayawijaya Wamena military district staff headquarters armory and eight perpetrators were arrested, namely Yafrai Murib, Numbungga Telenggen, Enos Lokobal, Linus Hiluka, Kanius Murib, Kimanus Wenda, Des Wenda and Mikael Haselo.
I also know that on 15 January 2004, according to the verdict declared by the Wamena district court, all the victims were found guilty for rebellion under articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code. Yafrai Murib and Numbungga Telenggen were sentenced to lifetime imprisonment, while the others were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Civil society considers this verdict to not be based on legal facts.
I learnt that since 2010, Mr. Wenda has had a tumor in his stomach and is constantly vomiting. He called the health staff at Nabire prison, but received no serious response. On February 2, 2011, the Nabire hospital issued a reference letter regarding Mr. Wenda’s sickness and the need for him to be operated at Jayapura hospital. Two days later, Mr. Wenda’s legal counsel sent a medical leave letter to the head of Papua’s regional office of law and human rights and the head of Nabire prison, but received no response. On September 19, SKPHP met the head of Papua legal and human rights department but the department said it has no money and thus cannot pay for Mr. Wenda’s operation. I am aware that this violates Indonesian law under Indonesian Government Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners’ Rights in Prisons, which states that it is a state obligation to provide medical fees and treatment. While civil society is now gathering funds to pay for the operation in Jayapura hospital, it is not yet enough.
I wish to point out that on December 16, at the hearings between KontraS and the ministry of law and human rights, the staff of Nabire prison said that based on their report and the statement of the prison chief, Mr. Wenda was seen playing volley ball in prison and therefore his stomach tumour is not dangerous and does not need to be operated in Jayapura hospital. However, on December 21, when local activists brought Mr. Wenda to be examined at Nabire hospital, John, the surgery doctor who examined Mr. Wenda, stated that the tumour is severe and should be operated as soon as possible. The government denial to treat Mr. Wenda has resulted in much civil society concern about his safety.
Based on the information stated above, I urge you to promptly pay the medical fees necessary for Mr. Wenda’s proper treatment, in accordance with government obligations to do so. I also urge you to look into all the allegations in this case and to take appropriate action against those found responsible, and prevent any future recurrence.
William Nicholas Gomes