Update 12 May 2021

Victor Yeimo, born in 1983, is a pro-independence activist. He was the General Secretary of the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) until 2018. Currently he is the international spokesperson for KNPB and PRP (Papuan People’s Petition) that rejects the continuation of Special Autonomy in West Papua.

Mr Yeimo was arrested at 7.15pm when he was at a kiosk in Jayapura on 9 May 2021 without an arrest warrant. Mr Yeimo’s lawyers received arrest and detention warrants the following day at 6pm. This is in breach of Indonesian criminal procedure law which requires an arrest warrant to be presented at the time of arrest. The Indonesian Police said that  Mr Yeimo is arrested for alleged treason during heightened tensions in West Papua over his role in the 2019 West Papua Uprising. 

In the first evening, Mr Yeimo was moved from Papua regional police’s detention center in Jayapura to the  Police’s Mobile Brigade Headquarters (Mako Brimob) in Abepura,  without any notice to his lawyers. Mako Brimob signifies higher security and more access restriction. Mr Yeimo’s lawyers have complained that this would make the family’s visit difficult.

Mr Yeimo has been was charged with article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) and or Article 110 of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy and or Article 160 KUHP on incitement and or Article 187 KUHP on arson and or Article 365 KUHP on theft using violence and or Article 170 (1) on collective violence and or Article 2 of Emergency Law No 12/1961 on illegal possession of slashing and stabbing arms as well as multiple legal provisions regulated under Law No 24/2009 on Flag, Language, National Emblem, and the National Anthem. Police have indicated that they will add more charges.

Papua police chief stated that, “We are looking into all police reports, the process forwards will proceed based on each report, let him get old in prison.” Arrest warrant includes information of alleged crime committed and alleged laws violated. Scope of interrogation should stick to that information only. Arresting Mr Yeimo then digging his past acts through days of interrogation reflects intention to frame and arbitrarily detain Mr Yeimo.

Under Indonesian criminal procedure law, an arrestee may be not accompanied by their lawyer side by side during interrogation in relation to treason charges. Mr Yeimo was initially interrogated for allegations of treason so his lawyer was not by his side. In the end, however, Mr Yeimo was also charged with non-treason charges which required a lawyer to be present by his side.

Up to date there have been two interrogations. The first one was on the evening he was arrested. The second one was scheduled the following day, but Mr Yeimo was sick on May 10th, so the interrogation was postponed to May 11th. Despite protest by the lawyers, Mr Yeimo’s access to lawyer during interrogation was still restricted based on the treason charge procedure.

According to Mr Yeimo’s lawyers, Mr Yeimo complained about the cell he was placed in on the first night. It was the furthest away from the main entrance and it has bad air ventilation. He asked to be put in the cell closest to the main door. He was moved to the middle cell on May 11th. He is now put in the self confinement cell, where the sunlight is only available through ventilation at the top of his cell and from the main door. Mr Yeimo has been provided the access to clean water. Due to his medical condition, he needs to take medicines three times a day.

Until the time of the writing of this report, Mr Yeimo has been prevented from having access to his family.  No family member has been able to pay him a visit. 

Police have not informed the lawyers when the next interrogation is. However, this does not mean that the interrogation is finished. It is likely that the process is only paused due to the Eid holidays. Papua police chief, on May 12th, stated that, “I have asked the investigators to not hurry in digging into each report, to connect each law violated by him.” He expects life imprisonment for Mr Yeimo.

We are concerned that additional charges would be added against Mr Yeimo when interrogation continues.

May 2013

The KNPB emerged around 2008 as an organisation which organises mass demonstrations around West Papua, often to push for a referendum on West Papua’s political status, or to support the initiatives of the International Parliamentarians and International Lawyers for West Papua (IPWP and ILWP).

Several prominent figures in the KNPB were arrested after some demonstrations in the early days of the KNPB. Buchtar Tabuni was arrested on 3 December 2008 because of his role in organising a demonstration on 16 October that year, and Sebby Sambom was also arrested shortly afterwards. Later Mako Tabuni, Yance Mote and Serafin Diaz were arrested on 3 April 2009 in connection with a demonstration on 10 March. Although both demonstrations had gone peacefully, all those arrested were charged with treason and incitement (Articles 106 and 160 of the Indonesian Criminal Code). Buchtar Tabuni‘s case was the first to come to trial, and while he was found innocent of treason, he was convicted for incitement. This seems to have set a precedent, as the judge passed similar sentences in the other four cases.

Victor Yeimo was Deputy General Secretary of the KNPB at the time of his arrest. According to an article posted on the Papua Post website, Yeimo had been on the police wanted list since May 2009. A student group has reported that on 18 April his family home in Nabire was raided and three family members were arrested and interrogated overnight by police demanding to know his whereabouts. Finally on 21 October 2009 Yeimo was arrested in a hotel in Abepura by police conducting a sweeping operation, unconnected to any political activity.

Yeimo was prosecuted for his participation in the KNPB demonstration on March 2009. According to a report of the trial in Bintang Papua newspaper, he was accused of having cried out “Papua” to which the crowd replied “Merdeka!” (Freedom), “Special Autonomy,” to which the crowd shouted “No”, and “Referendum,” which was met with the response “Yes.”

Earlier allegations of Yeimo’s involvement in an attack on the Abepura city police station in April 2009 (reported on in an International Crisis Group report) appear to have been dropped rapidly after Mr Yeimo’s arrest.

Yeimo was charged with treason and incitement under Articles 106 and 160 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. If he was convicted of both treason and incitement, he would have faced a three-year prison sentence, but on 23 July 2010, he was found guilty of incitement rather than treason and was given a sentence of one year’s imprisonment minus time already spent in detention. In response, the Public Prosecutor submitted an appeal to indict Yeimo under Article 106 for treason, which would increase his total prison sentence to three years.

Papuan news sites Tabloid Jubi and Papua Post reported on this verdict in July 2010, stating that Yeimo was expected to be released in October 2010. However in a statement following his most recent arrest on 13 May 2012, Papuan police spokesman Gede Sumerta, alleged that Yeimo had escaped from prison in October 2010. His lawyer at the time, Gustaf Kawer, responded to this claim, stating that Yeimo had not escaped from prison and was sentenced to one year’ imprisonment, instead of three years as alleged by Sumerta, adding that Yeimo was seeking medical treatment in hospital in October 2010.

In commenting on the detention of Yeimo, Harry Maturbongs of KontraS Papua, reported in Tabloid Jubi, said: “Is it wrong if somebody says that the Act of Free Choice should be reviewed, that Special Autonomy has failed, and to ask that human rights in Papua be respected?”

As the KNPB has grown as a social movement across Papua, repression against its activists has also increased. Yeimo himself has stated to the Suara Papua website that 22 KNPB members were killed by security forces during 2012 and 55 were imprisoned.

On 1 December 2012, a day many Papuans commemorate as the anniversary of the first raising of their national flag in 1961, the KNPB attempted to hold a demonstration marching from the site of the assassination of Mako Tabuni to the grave of Theys Eluay, a Papuan leader assassinated by Indonesian security forces in 2001. Police stopped the demonstration and arrested Yeimo, who was soon released. Al Jazeera journalists travelling with Mr Yeimo at the time documented some of these events, and their documentary “Goodbye Indonesia” gives an insight into the daily tension KNPB leaders face.

Yeimo was arrested again on13 May 2013, when police stopped a group of demonstrators in Jayapura from carrying out a march demanding government accountability in the wake of the deaths, arrests and injuries from the commemorative events of 1 May 2013. Majalah Selangkah reported that Yeimo and three other activists, Yongky Ulimpa, Ely Kobak and Marthen Manggaprouw were arrested when Yeimo attempted to negotiate with the police to allow the march to proceed. A report from an activist present at the demonstration states that all four were severely beaten upon arrest and were allegedly hit with rattan canes, kicked and beaten in detention. Yeimo is the only one that currently remains in detention, and has been transferred to Abepura prison. He is expected to complete a three-year sentence in relation to the 2009 incident. This is despite statements made by his lawyers that he received a one-year sentence.


Victor Yeimo, lahir di 1983, adalah aktivis pro-kemerdekaan danmemegang jawatan Sekretaris Umum Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB). KNPB muncul sekitar tahun 2008 sebagai organisasi penyelenggara demonstrasi massa di sekitar Papua Barat menuntut referendum mengenai status politik Papua Barat. KNPB juga mendukung prakarsa International Parliamentarians dan International Lawyers for West Papua (IPWP dan ILWP).

Dari permulaan penubuhannya, beberapa anggota  KNPB terkemuka telah ditangkap. Pada tanggal 3 Desember 2008, Buchtar Tabuni ditangkap atas perannya merencanakan demonstrasi pada tanggal 16 Oktober pada tahun itu. Tidak lama kemudian Sebby Sambom ikut ditangkap. Pada tanggal 3 April 2009, Mako Tabuni, Yance Mote dan Serafin Diaz ditangkap berkaitan dengan demonstrasi pada tanggal 10 Maret. Meskipun kedua demonstrasi berlangsung secara damai, kesemua yang ditangkap dituduh makar dan penghasutan di bawah Pasal 106 dan 160 KUHP Indonesia. Kasus Buchtar Tabuni adalah yang pertama untuk sampai ke pengadilan.  Walaupun beliau diputuskan tidak bersalah atas tuduhan makar, divonis dengan penghasutan. Nampaknya lasus ini telah digunakan sebagai preseden di mana kehakiman menjatuhkan hukuman sama dalam empat kasus yang lain.

Pada saat penangkapannya, Yeimo adalah Wakil Sekretaris Umum KNPB. Menurut sebuah artikel di situs web Papua Post, Yeimo telah di daftar sebagai orang yang dikehendaki oleh pihak kepolisian sejak Mei 2009. Sekelompok mahasiswa telah melaporkan bahwa pada tanggal 18 April, rumah keluarganya di Nabire digerebek dan tiga anggota keluarganyaditangkap dan diinterogasi seluruh malam oleh polisi yang mencari informasi tempat beradanya. Akhirnya pada 21 Oktober 2009 Yeimo ditangkap di sebuah hotel di Abepura oleh anggota polisi dalam operasi sweeping yang tidak ada keterkaitan dengan kegiatan politik.

Yeimo didakwa atas partisipasinya dalam demonstrasi KNPB pada Maret 2009. Menurut sebuah laporan dari sidang pengadilan yang dilaporkan di surat kabar Bintang Papua, ia dituduh atas sebab berteriak “Papua!” di mana kerumunan menjawab “Merdeka!”, langsung “Otonomi Khusus!” di mana orang banyak berteriak “Tidak!”, dan “Referendum!” yang disambut dengan respon “Ya!”.

Tuduhan terdahulu atas keterlibatan Yeimo dalam serangan terhadap Polsek Abepura pada bulan April 2009 (yang dilaporkan dalam laporan International Crisis Group) nampaknya telah digugurkan secara segera selepas penangkapannya.

Yeimo didakwa dengan makar dan penghasutan di bawah Pasal 106 dan 160 KUHP Indonesia. Jika beliau divonis dengan makar dan penghasutan, ia menghadapi hukuman penjara tiga tahun. Walau bagaimanapun, pada tanggal 23 Juli 2010, beliau hanya dihukum karena penghasutan dan diberi hukuman penjara satu tahun kurang waktu di tanahanan.. Sebagai tanggapan, Jaksa Penuntut Umum  mengajukan banding agar Yeimo dihukum atas tuduhan makar dibawah Pasal 106 dimana hukuman penjaranya akan meningkat menjaditiga tahun.

Berita dari Tabloid Jubi dan Papua Post melaporkan vonis  tersebut pada bulan Juli 2010 menyatakan bahwa Yeimo diharap akan dilepaskan pada bulan Oktober 2010. Namun dalam sebuah pernyataan menyusul penangkapan terbaru pada tanggal 13 Mei 2012, juru bicara polisi Kabid Humas Polda Papua Gede Sumerta, menyatakan bahwa Yeimo telah melarikan diri dari penjara pada Oktober 2010. Pengacara beliau pada saat itu, Gustaf Kawer, menyatakan bahwa Yeimo tidak melarikan diri dari penjara dan telah dihukum satu tahun penjara, bukan tiga tahun seperti yang nyatakan oleh Sumerta. Kawer menambahkan bahwa pada bulan Oktober 2010, Yeimo mencari perawatan medis di rumah sakit.

Mengenai pernahanan Yeimo , Harry Maturbongs dari KontraS Papua, dilaporkan di Tabloid Jubi berkata “Adakah seseorang itu bersalah jika dia menyatakan bahwa Act of Free Choice mesti direview, menyatakan Special Autonomy telah gagal dan menuntut HAM di Papua dihormati?”

Karena KNPB telah tumbuh sebagai gerakan sosial di Papua, represi terhadap aktivis-aktivis KNPB juga telah meningkat. Di jarring situs web Suara Papua, Yeimo menyatakan bahwa sebanyak 22 anggota KNPB sudah dibunuh oleh aparat keamanan pada tahun 2012 and sebanyak 55 telah ditahan.

Pada 1 Desember 2012, tanggal yang banyak orang Papua mengingatkan sebagai hari ulang tahun bendera nasional pertama dikibarkan pada 1961, KNPB mencoba mengadakan demonstrasi dari tempat Mako Tabuni dibunuh ke makam Theys Eluay, pemimpin Papua yang dibunuh oleh aparat keamanan pada 2001. Demonstrasi tersebut dibubar oleh polisi di mana Yeimo ditahan dan kemudiannya dilepaskan. Pada masa itu, jurnalis dari Al Jazeera merakamkan situasi tersebut di dalam dokumenter “Goodbye Indonesia” yang melaporkan ketengganan harian yang di hapadapi pemimpin anggota KNPB.

Pada 13 Mei 2013 , Yeimo dilaporkan ditangkap kembali oleh polisi di Jayapura di demonstrasi menuntut tanggungjawab pemerintah berikut kematian, tahanan dan kecederaan yang terjadi pada acara-acara peringatan 1 Mei 2013. Majalah Selangkah melaporkan bahawa Yeimo and tiga aktivis lain, Yongky Ulimpa, Ely Kobak dan Marthen Manggaprouw, telah ditangkapapabila Yeimo mencoba untuk bernegosiasi dengan polisi untuk melanjutkan mars tersebut . Mengikut laporan dari seorang aktivis yang hadir di demonstrasi tersebut, keempat aktivis dipukul pada saat penangkapan dan diduga dipukul dengan rotan dan ditendang dalam penahanan. Pada masa ini, Yeimo masih dalam tahanan dan dilaporkan telah dipindahkan ke LP Abepura. Ia dianggap akan menjalani hukuman tiga tahun berkaitan dengan keterliatannya dengan insiden pada tahun 2009. Ini adalah meskipun penyataan yang dibuat oleh pengacaranya bahwa ia hanya menerima hukuman penjara satu tahun.


Majalah Selangkah, “Aparat Bubarkan Paksa Massa Aksi, Ketua KNPB Ditangkap,” 13 Mei 2013, http://majalahselangkah.com/content/aparat-bubarkan-paksa-massa-aksi-ketua-knpb-ditangkap

Suara Papua, “Victor Yeimo “Dituntut” Jalani Sisa Masa Tahanan,” 13 Mei 2013, http://suarapapua.com/2013/05/victor-yeimo-dituntut-jalani-sisa-masa-tahanan/

Al Jazeera, “Goodbye Indonesia,” 31 Januari 2013,  http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2013/01/201313018313632585.html

Papua Post, “Victor Yeimo Nyatakan Banding,” 20 Juli 2010, http://papuapost.com/2010/07/2522/

Tabloid Jubi, “Victor Yeimo Divonis Satu Tahun Penjara,” 24 Juli 2010, http://tabloidjubi.com/z/index.php/2012-10-15-06-23-41/jayapura/8234-victor-yeimo-divonis-satu-tahun-penjara

Bintang Papua, “Viktor tak terbukti Makar,” 24 Juli 2010, http://www.infopapua.org/WPB/index.php/component/content/article/312-viktor-tidak-terbukti-makar

Front Nasional Mahasiswa Pemuda Papua, “Di Nabire, Rumah Victor Yeimo Diserbu,” 22 April 2009,  http://fnmpp.blogspot.fr/2009/04/di-nabire-rumah-victor-yeimo-diserbu.html

Papua Post, “DPO Makar Tertangkap Bersama Wanita d Hotel,” 23 Oktober 2009,  https://papuapost.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/dpo-makar-tertangkap-bersama-wanita-di-hotel/

Suara Papua, “Victor Yeimo: 22 Anggota KNPB Tewas Sepanjang Tahun 2012,” 3 Januari 2012, http://suarapapua.com/2013/01/victor-yeimo-22-anggota-knpb-tewas-sepanjang-tahun-2012/

Tabloid Jubi, “Kau demo, kau kutangkap,” 24 April 2010,  http://tabloidjubi.com/index.php/edisi-cetak/papua-kini/6942-kau-demo-kau-kutangkap.html

Tabloid Jubi, “Victor Yeimo Divonis Satu Tahun Penjara,” 24 Juli 2010,  http://tabloidjubi.com/z/index.php/2012-10-15-06-23-41/jayapura/8234-victor-yeimo-divonis-satu-tahun-penjara

West Papua Media Alerts, “KNPB leader reportedly resurfaces after disappearing upon release from police detention,” 3 Disember 2012, http://westpapuamedia.info/2012/12/03/knpb-leader-reportedly-resurfaces-after-disappearing-upon-release-from-police-detention/