Victor Yeimo: Indonesia defying a court order to hospitalize political prisoner

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Press Release

Sydney, 29 August 2021 — The District Court of Jayapura issued an order to hospitalize imprisoned West Papuan pro-independence leader, Victor Yeimo, as a matter of utmost urgency, two days ago. Prosecutors have been deliberately defying this court order and Yeimo is still isolated in detention.

Twice this week, Victor Yeimo pleaded for help from the district court judges. He said that he was very sick, that he had lost at least ten kilograms, but had never been told the results of medical checkups, nor given any prescriptions or medicines.

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The prosecutors handed a medical report dated 20 August to Yeimo’s lawyers in Jayapura on 26 August. In the report, the doctor said that Yeimo must be urgently hospitalized. “It means that the prosecutors have been keeping this crucial information from us for a week,” says Veronica Koman, Victor Yeimo’s international lawyer.

In his last perfunctory medical check-up on Friday evening, Victor Yeimo begged to stay at the hospital, but was dragged out by armed paramilitary police while receiving intravenous treatment. This denial of Yeimo’s right to adequate medical treatment, and his isolation in prison, amount to torture.

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Koman adds, “I cannot go into detail due to my client’s privacy, but all I can say is that Victor Yeimo’s condition is so bad that he can die anytime now. The state knows this and is attempting to assassinate him by denying medical treatment.”

“We are at a point where even a court order is not working. This means that local remedies for Victor Yeimo have been exhausted, thus international intervention is justified and necessary,” says Koman.

“Therefore, I call upon the United Nations, states and diplomats, and international human rights experts to demand that the Indonesian government immediately ensure that Victor Yeimo is hospitalized and receives appropriate medical treatment.

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“Suharto used to allow his political prisoners to seek medical help including permission for ICRC to visit them regularly. It is shameful that President Jokowi is falling short of even the standards of an era notorious for its human rights abuses. I ask everyone concerned to please move fast, do whatever you can now, because soon might be too late.”

Veronica Koman
Victor Yeimo’s International Lawyer

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