The members of a government-sanctioned joint fact-finding team (TGPF) for the Intan Jaya shooting case have convinced the wife and family members of slain Papuan pastor Yeremia Zanambani to allow the body to be autopsied as part of an ongoing investigation.
Benny Mamoto of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), who leads the field investigation unit, said the autopsy agreement was made during an initial investigation to gather information from Yeremia’s family.
“Family consent for the autopsy was given by Yeremia’s family members, so it is only a matter of following up by the investigators,” Benny told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Four members of Yeremia’s family signed a police interrogation report (BAP) affirming their statements as witnesses after previously refusing to sign one, Benny said.
He said the statements of the family members were necessary for the initial investigation because they were the last people who were with the victim before he was killed.
“The witnesses were the ones who were at the scene of the crime, so the reports are about what they saw, what they experienced, what they heard from the victim and other things related to the victim,” Benny said.
At first, the family members declined to sign the BAP, he said. He believed the reluctance was because of the language barrier, limited knowledge of the law and input from other parties.
“We invited religious and community leaders to convince them and explain the legal process and the importance of witness testimony. Their interpreter also signed one, so they felt more comfortable and confident,” Benny added.
The joint team has examined the scene of the shooting, the cemetery and the church and has questioned the victim’s family and a number of other witnesses.
Benny said the team would continue investigating the shooting despite experiencing an attack reportedly launched by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) on Friday.
“We will analyze and evaluate all the information, and we will report it to the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister [Mahfud MD] as the person in charge,” added Benny.
He acknowledged that the difficult terrain and limited transportation and communication access were obstacles for the team.
In addition to Yeremia's death, which occurred on Sept. 19, the team will investigate other deaths that took place around the same time in September, including the shooting of a civilian named Badawi and of two TNI soldiers, Chief. Sgt. Sahlan and First Pvt. Dwi Akbar.
The team has been given two weeks, starting from the formation of the group on Oct. 1, to report the results of the investigation to the government.