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SPECIAL REPORT: By Laurens Ikinia

Governor Lukas Enembe of Indonesia’s Melanesian province of Papua has been banned from travelling abroad by the state Directorate General of Immigration, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, preventing him undergoing vital medical treatment in the Philippines.

Governor Enembe, 55, was due to go to Manila this month. However, his hope of getting treatment there has been dashed by the ban from the Directorate General of Immigration.

The order preventing any overseas trip to Governor Lukas Enembe is in force until 7 March 2023.

It was issued in response to a Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) request to ban the governor from any overseas trip.

“Directorate of Immigration Supervision and Enforcement of the Directorate General of Immigration accepts the submission for prevention to subject an. Lukas Enembe from the Corruption Eradication Commission on Wednesday, September 7, 2022. Prevention is valid for six months,” said the Director of Immigration Supervision and Enforcement, I Nyoman Gede Surya Mataram in Jakarta.

Tabloid Jubi reports that during spontaneous demonstrations in protest by Enembe’s supporters in Jayapura last Monday over the steps taken by the KPK, Enembe’s lawyer, Stevanus Roy Rening, said governor was due to leave for his medical treatment that day.

“Last night, the Governor [explained] that it was actually Monday that he is supposed to leave [for treatment]. I repeat again, let the people know.

‘Roy, I’m sick’
“Governor said, ‘Roy, I’m sick. I have got permission from the Minister of Home Affairs. I said, ‘Sir, not yet, please delay! There is a letter from the KPK for you to attend on Monday’,” Rening.

Rening was worried that if Enembe left for treatment abroad on Monday, public opinion would form that Lukas Enembe had run away. However, Governor Enembe said he had never stolen the public’s money, so he would never be afraid.

“[I said], ‘later when you left, it will be said that Lukas Enembe is afraid, running away’. [He replied], ‘Roy, I am the leader of the Papuans. I’ve never been afraid, I’ve never corrupted’,” Rening said, reiterating Enembe’s explanation.

Governor Enembe’s personal medical physician, Dr Antonius Mote, said Governor Lukas Enembe was still ill.

The heavy pressure had caused health reactions such as swollen feet that make it difficult Governor Enembe.

According to Dr Mote as the Pacific Pos reports, in the last 6 months the governor began to experience several illnesses such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and kidney complications.

He has routinely undergone check-ups in hospitals in Singapore and Manila, Philippines.

Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe undergoing medical treatment … believed to be the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in the Melanesian region. Image: Pacific Pos

Return needed for medical
Dr Mote said that the governor should have returned to the doctor in Singapore for a medical appointment but this was cancelled because of a summons for an interview by the KPK.

“We really ask for his right to get medical treatment, in this case, he can go to a hospital abroad. Because he was very worried, the pressure he experienced could worsen his health condition,” said Dr Mote.

In response to the request from the Governor Enembe’s lawyer Rening over the treatment overseas, the Deputy Chair of the KPK, Alexander Marwata, said this would be facilitated — with certain conditions, reports Tempo.

Marwata gave the Governor an option to seek treatment at the Army Central Hospital or Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Jakarta.

“If the disease can be treated in Indonesia, why do you have to go abroad?,” said Marwata.

Marwata said a doctor would decide whether Enembe could be treated in Indonesia or must go abroad for treatment.

If doctors in Indonesia “raised their hands”, he said, the KPK would grant Enembe permission to go abroad for treatment.

Chasing alleged ‘corruption’
Lawyer Rening said the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) seemed to be trying to find a case of alleged corruption involving Governor Enembe.

“It [has been] proven [by Luke Enembe]. During his [leadership] period, all audit results of [Regional Revenue and Expenditure Budget by] have been vetted by the Supreme Audit Agency [gained opinion]. There was no element of corruption found,” said Rening.

The Papuan Governor’s spokesperson, Rifai Darus, said the Governor’s home was still being closely guarded by thousands of people and close relatives of Enembe.

“He [Governor Enembe] asked not to have too many people there and asked them to return to their homes. These people came alone, without being asked, after seeing the information circulating on social media regarding the ‘criminalisation’ of the Governor,” said Darus.

He added that the Governor had also said the ongoing legal process was a “political struggle” and asked not to “politicise the situation”.

“He knows very well that the current situation is a process of ‘criminalising’ him by making the KPK the ‘front’ to deal with this case. The Governor has the right as stated in the 1945 Constitution Article 48a  that everyone has the right to live and defend his life,” said Darus.

The president of the Communion of Baptist Churches in West Papua, Dr Socratez Yoman, has revealed to news media that the KPK had three times tried to criminalise Governor Enembe.

‘Purely political goal’
“The effort to ‘criminalise’ Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe is purely a political goal or agenda for [the elections in] 2024, not a legal issue,” he said.

Reverend Yoman believes that other political parties in Indonesia felt “uncomfortable and insecure” about entering the political process in 2024 in Papua Province.

“So far, there have been people who have seen, observed and felt that the presence of Governor Enembe is a threat and obstacle for other political parties to become ‘number one’ in Papua province.

Reverend Yoman said there was no other way to “destroy the strong fortress” of the Governor Enembe, who is  chair of the Democratic DPD of Papua province. So the KPK was being used by certain political parties to ‘criminalise’ Enembe.

“On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, I met Governor Enembe at his residence in Koya Timur and he told me, Mr Yoman, the problem is now clear. It’s not a legal issue, it’s a political issue.

“Pak Budi Gunawan, the head of BIN (State Intelligence Agency) and PDIP (Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle) used the KPK to criminalise me. Mr Yoman, you should write an article so that everyone would know about this crime.

“How come state institutions can become tools for certain political parties,” Reverend Yoman quoted Governor Enembe as saying.

Money left for medical expenses
On that occasion, the Governor of Papua also conveyed about Rp 1 billion [NZ$112,000] to Socratez Yoman, where in March 2019, the Governor left for Jakarta at night because his health was getting worse.

This was during the covid-19 lockdown.

“When Enembe left, he kept Rp. 1 billion in the room. After three months in Jakarta, in May 2019, the Governor called Tono, who used to look after and organise Enembe’s house and yard.

“I asked Tono to go to my room and take the money in the room with a value of 1 billion. I asked Tono to send it through a BCA account. That’s my money, not money from corruption. This KPK is just claiming anything,” said Reverend Yoman quoting Governor Enembe.

Reverend Yoman appealed for support and prayers for Governor Enembe and his family.

Laurens Ikinia is a Papuan Masters in Communication Studies student at Auckland University of Technology who has been studying journalism. He contributes to Asia Pacific Report.

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