Police set Papuan activist Veronica Koman as a provocation suspect in the Papua Student Dormitory, Surabaya - Photo by Wow Keren

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The East Java Regional Police defined an activist Veronica Koman as a suspect in the Papua riots. She alleged shared hoax information on the student racism in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.

The apparatus said, her tweets become a trigger riots in Papua and West Papua during last week. Before her, the regional police has set other activists Tri Susanti and Syamsul Arifin as suspects.

“With an amount of evidence plus testimony from witnesses we decided Koman become a suspect,” said East Java Regional Police Chief Inspector General Luki Hermawan as reported by local media on Wednesday (09/04).

He revealed Koman was very active in spreading hoaxes and provocation on her Twitter account. He adds, when an incident occurred at the Papuan student dormitory in Surabaya, Koman was indeed not at the location, but she was very active in provoking through her account.

“In one of her post, there were invitation, provokation, also a call for the mobilization of ‘monkey’ actions to the streets in Jayapura. She posting it on August 18,” said Hermawan.

Then, he continued, there was also an upload that said the police fired 24 shots at the Papuan student dormitory in Surabaya. All of these uploads were written in English. He noted, “The news is not in accordance with the original.”

According Hermawan, Koman was indeed very actively involved in actions involving Papuan students, not only in the actions that took place on August 16 but also in previous actions. Koman even brought two foreign journalists to cover the Papuan student action in December 2018.

The siege of Papuan student dormitory in Surabaya last August began with information on social media that the Red and White Flag was thrown into a ditch by Papuan students.

Soon, the Papuan Student Dormitory was surrounded by residents and a number of social organizations. When the crowd arrived at the dormitory, apparently there were no Morning Flags thrown into the gutter.

However, the masses still surrounded and asked Papuan students to leave the dormitory. Students unmoved and fired tear gas to the dormitory.

The siege incident was also colored by statements of racism, which later sparked protests in a number of areas in Papua and West Papua.

Koman figure familiar among activists. In 2017, she provoked former Jakarta’ governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama with a demonstration over him conviction in a blasphemy case. In her speech, she said that the President Joko Widodo regime was more cruel than the era of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). At that time she was reported to the police.

She born in Medan, North Sumatera. Koman hold a law degree from a well-known private campus in Jakarta and then become an activist. Beside, she is a public lawyer who often deals with Papuan issues, international refugees and asylum seekers. She also often gives legal aid to the poor who are legally blind for free.

Written by Marcel Gual, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com