Hermanus Bin Bison
Police in Indonesia have jailed three indigenous farmers for allegedly stealing oil palm fruit from a plantation company that is itself accused of stealing their land. Police in East Kotawaringin district, in the Bornean province of Central Kalimantan, arrested Dilik Bin Asap and Hermanus Bin Bison from Penyang village on Feb. 17. They were accused of harvesting palm fruit on land claimed by the villagers but cultivated illegally by PT Hamparan Masawit Bangun Persada (HMBP), an affiliate of the BEST Group. On March 7, police arrested prominent land rights activist James Watt in Jakarta, where he had gone to report the earlier arrests to the national human rights commission, known as Komnas HAM, and the witness protection program, or LPSK. They flew him back to Central Kalimantan and charged him with orchestrating the alleged theft by Dilik and Hermanus. BHRRC reached out to HMBP but did not receive a response.