Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Residents Blockade Freeport’s Gate

Tuesday, 31 October, 2006 | 12:16 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Timika: Around 300 people blockaded the way of PT Freeport Indonesia at the Check Point Mile 28 near the arrival terminal of Moses Kilangin Airport, yesterday (30/10). They demanded that seven people convicted of shooting three gold miners in Tembagapura in August, 2002 be released.

The seven people have been on trial at Central Jakarta District Court. Antonius Wamang, one of the convicts, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. The other six were sentenced to 15 and eight years imprisonment. Antonius Wamang, leader of National Papua Troops, was arrested on January 11, 2006 with the cooperation of the US Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI). The case of the shooting by Wamang forced the US to stop the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program and the embargo on spare parts for weapons.

Yesterday, carrying a red banner demanding to free seven Papuans, the angry demonstrators also impelled PT Freeport Indonesia to be shut down and the Indonesian Military (TNI) along with the Indonesian National Police (Polri) troops to be withdrawn from the gold mining area. Due to the demonstration, vehicles heading to and coming out from the company were stopped at Check Point 28.

Head of the Operation Division at Mimika Subregional Police Comm. Alfred tried to persuade the crowd to cool down but failed. Alfred warned the demonstrators to stop before 4pm local time, but the warning was ignored.
Before blocking the entry to the mine, the crowd walked over to Timika District Court to convey the demand.

Johny Kondolele, Timika District Court’s spokesperson, said the demand of releasing the seven defendants has been sent to the Supreme Court (MA). “Until today we haven’t received any response from MA,” said Johny.

Damarin Onawame, son of the defendant Clergyman Isak Onawame, said in his sermon that his parent was turned into scapegoats to cover the business of Indonesia and the US governments.

The case of murder on August 31, 2003 brought into court three of PT Freeport Indonesia’s employees, Ricky Lynn Spier, Edwin Leonburgon and F.X. Bambang Riwanto. In the meantime, seven perpetrators have been arrested at Polri HQ since May 10 regarding the trial process.

Tjahjono EP


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