Three soldiers tried in the killing of a Papuan man were sentenced by a military tribunal to up to 15 months in jail for insubordination, an officer said on Friday.
“The sentences were appropriate,” Papua provincial military spokesman Lt. Col. Ali Hamdan Bogra said. “The men were investigated in accordance with military criminal law.”
The court martial heard that the soldiers, identified as First Sgt. Saut Sihombing, Second Pvt. Herry Purwanto and Second Pvt. Hasirun, assaulted and killed Papuan civilian Kinderman Gire on March 17 of last year.
All three served in the Army’s Nabire Infantry Battalion, as did four soldiers sentenced in November for torturing two civilians in the village of Gurage in the same district. That incident resulted in international outrage and condemnation after a video of the torture was posted on the online video-sharing site YouTube in October.
It was just two weeks prior to the Gurage incident that Kinderman was attacked after stopping a civilian convoy delivering food supplies to Mulia, the capital of Puncak Jaya district, to ask for some gasoline.
Gire reportedly tried to grab a rifle from Purwanto, who reacted by shooting him in his chest, killing him instantly, the court was told. The trio then dumped the body into a river.
The killing occurred near a military checkpoint in the village of Illu. The military’s indictment of the men suggested that Kinderman was a member of the separatist Free Papua Organization (OPM).
Purwanto was sentenced to 15 months in jail for “disobedience and abuse that led to death,” Bogra said.
Sihombing was sentenced to seven months in jail for disobeying orders while Hasirun received six, he said.
The Papua Customary Council (DAP) has disputed the Army’s version of events, saying that Kinderman was a local priest who had no ties to the OPM.