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Where is Aristoteles Masoka? Papuans call on UN to take action

26 September, 2013

Press release by Elsham Papua, IKOHI and TAPOL

Yesterday (25/9) a delegation of Papuan human rights defenders met with the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) in Geneva to follow-up the case of Aristoteles Masoka, who disappeared on 10 November 2001. The disappearance of Aristotles Masoka was reported to the Working Group in 2004[1] and the UN body asked the Indonesian government for clarification on 2005. However, the government did not respond to the clarification request from the WGEID.

Personal driver to Papuan leader, Theys Hiyo Eluay, Aristoteles was driving him home from an event at the Special Forces (Kopassus) Headquarters in Jayapura, Papua, when the pair were ambushed. Theys was found dead the following morning. Aristoteles Masoka, last sighted being dragged into the Kopassus Headquarters in Jayapura, was never seen again. 

While the investigation into the murder of Theys Eluay ended in the prosecution of seven Kopassus agents at a military court, the disappearance of Aristoteles Masoka – who would have been a key witness in the murder trial – has never been investigated.

At the time of his disappearance Aristoteles was a young man just beginning his studies at the University of Science and Technology in Jayapura. Just 21 years old, he had only reached the second semester when he disappeared, leaving behind three younger brothers and sisters. More than ten years later, Aristoteles Masoka’s family and friends are still asking “Where is Aristoteles? And why has his case never been investigated?”

Ferry Marisan of Elsham Papua, who carried out an early investigation into the case back in 2001, said that the lack of any investigation or attempt to prosecute Kopassus for the disappearance of Aristoteles was incomprehensible. “The police were well aware of the disappearance of Aristoteles, and there was no shortage of witnesses,” said Marisan. “Several people saw him being dragged into the Kopassus Headquarters. Why is it so hard to bring this case to court?”

While the case was submitted to the National Human Rights Commission in 2003, further efforts to secure justice by Aristoteles’s family and NGOs who took up the case such as the Indonesian Association of Families of the Disappeared (IKOHI), quickly reached a dead end.

“Aristoteles’s family deserve to know the truth about the fate and whereabouts of Aristoteles. Waiting with uncertainty for more than 11 years has itself been a severe psychological torture. The Government should know that the death of Aristoteles mother Dorsila Ayomi in 2011 is not unrelated to this uncertainty and government ignorance and denial,” said Mugiyanto of IKOHI.

“Aristoteles Masoka will never be forgotten”, said Paul Barber of TAPOL, a UK-based organisation that advocates for human rights in Indonesia. “Indonesia must meet its obligation to co-operate with the UN Working Group and explain what steps it will take to resolve this ongoing human rights violation”.


The Kopassus members prosecuted for the murder of Theys Eluay (and implicated in the disappearance of Aristoteles Masoka) received maximum prison sentences of only three-and-a-half years. They were: Letkol Inf Hartomo; Kapten Inf Rionardo; Sertu Asrial; Praka Achmad Zulfahmi; Mayor Inf Donni Hutabarat; Lettu Inf Agus Soeprianto; Sertu Lorensius LI

For more information on the abduction and assassination of Theys Hiyo Eluay, see the Elsham Papua report dated 13 December 2001