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RNZ Pacific

The daughter of West Papuan human rights advocate Filep Karma who died on Tuesday aged 63 has confirmed that he died in a diving accident.

Andrefina Karma said she followed the external post-mortem process of Filep Karma’s body.

The results showed that Filep Karma had died from drowning while diving.

Andrefina Karma asked people not to protest over the death of her father.

Human rights watch researcher Andreas Harsono told RNZ Pacific Waves Karma was a master diver and had dived regularly at the same beach.

Harsono said Karma often encountered problems at sea.

He said that on the day of his death he was with two relatives and they were swimming together. The relatives went home as Karma wanted to fish alone, which Harsono said was dangerous for a diver.

Suspicions mount
However, some Papuan activists want a full investigation into the death.

West Papua National Committee (KNPB) activist Ogram Wanimbo, said the complete chronology of Filep Karma’s death must be revealed transparently to the public.

Wanimbo said they were dissatisfied with the post-mortem results.

“We need an explanation of who went to the beach with him and what exactly happened,” he said.

Papuan People’s Petition spokesperson Jefri Wenda also asked for a more detailed explanation.

The chairman of the Papua Customary Council, Dominikus Surabut, said his party also did not fully believe that Filep Karma’s death was purely an accident.

“The family said it was a pure accident but until now, I don’t believe it. Let there be an investigation into it,” Surabut said.

Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman said: “There were too many strange circumstances around his death and questioning police’s influence on the family. We are not accepting this as an accident.”

Veronica Koman
Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman . . .”too many strange circumstances around his death”. Image: ANU

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ. 

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