Saturday, January 28, 2017

1) Protester arrested outside Indonesian Embassy held in custody overnight for fine-only offences

2) Student fined for West Papua protest outside Indonesian embassy in Canberra

1) Protester arrested outside Indonesian Embassy held in custody overnight for fine-only offences
Updated about 4 hours ago

A protester arrested outside the Indonesian Embassy has been fined and released from police custody after being held for almost 24 hours, under what his defence lawyer has described as unusual circumstances.
Adrian 'AJ' Van Tonder, 25, was arrested on Friday morning at the rally in Canberra, where he and his fellow protesters lay in the embassy driveway covered in sheets and fake blood.
Van Tonder, a Melbourne student, was with about 30 people protesting alleged human rights abuses by the Indonesian Government in West Papua.
The group blocked vehicles from entering and exiting by lying across the driveway.

This morning Van Tonder pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to obstructing the embassy, refusing to provide a name and address and failing to comply with an order to move on.
He was fined $750 and released.
The combined offences carry a maximum penalty of up to $3,800.
The court heard the other protesters gave their details when asked by police to move on, but Van Tonder remained silent.
Van Tonder's defence said being held in custody overnight on offences that carry fine-only punishments was "not something that would normally happen" and it was not clear why it had.
Magistrate Robert Cook told Van Tonder the right to protest peacefully should be protected.
"You should engage in it and that's your right," he said.
But he warned against ignoring police instructions.
"Ultimately then you leave police with no choice than to remove you physically," he said.

Claims police trying to appease Indonesian Government 

A group of fellow protesters supported Van Tonder in court.
Outside, they said his time in custody was unfair and stressful.
"The last 24 hours have been horrible," Kiah Dennersterin said.
The protesters claim police are being pressured by Indonesia to arrest activists like themselves.
"Police are trying to appease the Indonesian Government and show they're being strong against West Papuan activists," another protester Rebecca Langley said.
"Recently there's been a bit of tension between Indonesia and Australia regarding their military cooperation and it means eyes are on."
Member of the West Papuan community Ronny Kareni said the arrest would not silence their message to free West Papua.
"It's evident that the Australian Government is bowing down to Indonesia's pressure," he said.
"[The arrest] will only create more fire and fuel more support from people in the streets."
The group said they travelled to Canberra from Melbourne to take part in this protest and Invasion Day protests.
ACT Policing was contacted for comment.

2) Student fined for West Papua protest outside Indonesian embassy in Canberra

The friends of a man fined for refusing to cooperate with police during a protest outside the Indonesian Embassy expressed concern that he was kept in custody for almost 24 hours.
Adrian van Tonder, 25, pleaded guilty to obstruction, failing to comply with police directions and failing to provide his name or address to officers in the ACT Magistrates Court on Saturday morning.

The Melbourne student was among a group of activists that donned white sheets with red ink and lay on the road outside the Yarralumla embassy during a protest in support of West Papuan independence on Friday morning.
The road was outside two authorised protest zones, and all protesters obstructing the embassy's driveway except van Tonder complied with police orders to move.
The court heard van Tonder refused to move or stand up and did not provide his name or address, requiring "several officers" to lift him off the road.
During questioning at the police station, van Tonder allegedly told police he was "not subject to Australian law".
van Tonder's defence lawyer told the court his client acknowledged the consequences of his actions, but had "limited scope" to pay a fine as he was on the Newstart allowance.
The defence asked that the almost 24 hours spent in custody be taken in account when the magistrate considered the scale of the fine.
Officers did not have the ability to place van Tonder in Friday's court lists before deadline.
The prosecution made no submissions beyond the police documents and criminal history tendered to the court.
van Tonder had previously been charged for protest-related offences in Victoria and Queensland.
In handing down his decision, Magistrate Robert Cook acknowledged the right to peaceful protest was a fundamental aspect of Australian democratic society.
"There needs to be at least a recognition... that you understand you went too far on this occasion," he said.
He fined van Tonder $250 each for the three offences.
A group of the protesters supported van Tonder in court, including his partner Kiah Dennerstein.
"The last 24 hours have been horrible," she said.
Fellow protester Rebecca Langley said she was concerned that van Tonder had been held in custody for almost a day.
"The pressure's on because recently there's been a lot of tension between Indonesia and Australia regarding military cooperation."
This week Indonesia asked why Australia had yet to arrest people who "trespassed" and waved the West Papuan separatist flag outside the country's Consulate-General in Melbourne.

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