30 Jul 2007

Further claims of threats to Papuan civilians from Indonesian security forces

7:22 pm on 30 July 2007

A Papuan religious leader says he was threatened at gunpoint by an Indonesian police officer yesterday after a service at his church in Jayapura.

The head of the West Papua Baptist Church, the Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman, who is also a human rights advocate in the province, says the policeman threatened him over his outspoken criticism of Special Autonomy.

The Reverend Yoman has accused pastors and members of his own Church of collaborating with the security forces in a campaign to silence critics of Indonesian rule in Papua.

He says Indonesian intelligence officers have infiltrated the church in a bid to create divisions among Papuans.

"It's very dangerous for the small people, civilians, ordinary people in West Papua. We are under pressure: military and police pressure... Intelligence, they dominate in West Papua. The Church leaders are my supporters but several pastors, they are protected by TNI, police."

Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman