Fears civilians may suffer in West Papua reprisal attacks

Supporters of the West Papuan independence movement in Australia are concerned civilians may be targeted in reprisal attacks after eight soldiers were shot dead in the Indonesian-occupied territory on February 21.

It comes after allegations emerged about the torture of prisoners in the Abepura Correctional Facility on January 21.

It is alleged two guards - Bonifasius Manuputy and Eli Asip Wamuar – whipped 20 prisoners with a “thick white wire” about the arms, back and shoulders resulting in cuts and bruising, with one prisoner suffering from a broken arm as a result.

The Asian Human Rights Commission says the head of the Facility and head of the Security Unit were present when the beatings were taking place.

It’s not the first time officials at Abepura has faced such allegations. In June last year the head of the Facility was replaced by the current office holder, Nuridin, after it was revealed 42 prisoners were tortured at Abepura.

This latest allegation comes after claims that two men were arrested and tortured by West Papuan police on February 15 because they were “related” to two pro-independence activists.

4ZZZ reporter Steven Riggall spoke to Joe Collins, head of the Australian West Papua Association about the case and the pro-independence movement more broadly.

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