Trial of Victor Yeimo, West Papuan Political Prisoner

24 Aug 2021

(London, 24 August 2021) Today is the first day of the trial of West Papuan political leader Victor Yeimo, the international spokes-person of the West Papuan National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) and the Papuan People's Petition (Petisi Rakyat Papua, PRP). Victor Yeimo was arrested on 9th May 2021 for his alleged role in the 2019 West Papua Uprising protests. The State Prosecutors indicted Victor Yeimo on three counts of treason and one count of incitement which could put him in prison for life. 

According to Victor Yeimo’s lawyers, the authorities have violated procedures, including criminal procedural laws during his arrest and subsequent detention. Victor Yeimo was arrested by a joint police military unit called Satgas Gakkum Nemangkawi which does not have a mandate to conduct arrests. At the time of his arrest, the authorities did not present any arrest warrant and presented this only after he was detained. Additionally, the police interviewed Yeimo without his lawyers present. 

Yeimo was detained for three months in the police detention centre, including more than 100 days in isolation, before he was charged. His health deteriorated during this period and repeated requests for him to receive medical attention from his lawyers were denied by the authorities. Concerns about Yeimo’s health also drew the attention of national and international human rights organisations, including from the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor. Victor Yeimo’s lawyers have requested for the postponement of today’s trial due to his deteriorating health condition. 

Yeimo’s arrest triggered mass protests throughout West Papua with the latest one taking place on 16 August 2021 in the town of Dekai, Yahukimo where thousands of people took to the streets to demand Victor Yeimo’s release. The police forcibly dispersed the protest and it is reported that one protester died on 22 August after being shot by police during the protest.




Suara Papua - Fakta Pelanggaran Hukum yang dilakukan Polda Papua dalam Menangani Victor Yeimo

Press Release - Victor Yeimo: political trial begins despite deteriorating health, protestor’s death in police shooting

Papuans Behind Bars - Victor Yeimo's Profile 

TAPOL - Victor Yeimo's arrest also see TAPOL Webinar