1) Court Finds 6 Papuan Activists Guilty in August Protest Case
Translator: Dewi Elvia Muthiariny
Editor: Markus Wisnu Murti
24 April 2020 19:49 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The panel of judges of the Central Jakarta District Court found six Papuan activists guilty of violating Article 106 of Criminal Code in conjunction with Article 55 (1) of the Criminal Code.
The six activists, Arina Elopere, Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, and Anes Tabuni, were sentenced to nine months in prison, while Issay Wenda got eight months. The sentences were lighter than the Public Prosecutor’s demands of 1.5 years behind bars.
One of the activists' lawyers, Oky Wiratama, said his side would mull over the court’s ruling first. “We will discuss it for seven days,” said Oky through a short message on Friday, April 24.
The Papuan activists were arrested by the police for raising the Morning Star flag, a symbol of the Papuan independence movement, during a demonstration demanding a referendum in front of the Merdeka Palace on August 28, 2019.
The panel of judges considered their actions could be detrimental to the image and dignity of the nation and state, disrupt the security stability of the country and Papua province, disturb public harmony, and break apart the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
An Indonesian court has found six activists guilty of treason for their role in protesting in support of West Papuan independence last August.
The six - Indonesian People's Front for West Papua spokesperson Surya Anta and students Charles Kossay, Deno Tabuni, Isay Wenda, Ambrosius Mulait and Arina Elopere - staged their protest independence in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.
A panel of judges at the Central Jakarta District Court gave them all nine-month sentences, except for Isa Wenda, who received eight months.
The Jakarta Post reported that the sentences were delivered in a virtual verdict hearing.
Elopere was found guilty of waving the banned Morning Star flag, which symbolised the Papuan independence movement.
She also danced and sang a song with the lyrics, "We are not red and white [the colours of the Indonesian flag]," during the 28 August protest.
Tabuni was found guilty of treason in the form of a speech at the same protest, where he demanded that the government immediately hold a Papuan independence referendum.
The remaining activists were found guilty of attending the protest and voicing their opinions over the referendum demand.
Judges said during the session that all defendants had violated Article 110 in relation to Article 106 of the Criminal Code Law (KUHP) for conspiring to promote "secession".
"All defendants are found guilty of a collective act of treason," said presiding judge Agustinus Setyo Wahyu.
The sentence is lower than the one year and five months in prison demanded by prosecutors.
The activists' lawyer, Oky Wiratama, said she was disappointed with the verdicts and questioned the process.
"[The verdict stated that] treasonous acts have pros and cons in addition to containing political substance, so the treason charges can be misused by the government to oppress its citizens."
"If the judges were in doubt, I think the best way to resolve the case would have been to not impose a prison sentence for the defendants. They should be free of charges," Ms Wiratama said.
She added her team would deliberate the case for seven days before deciding whether to appeal.
Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid said the treason charges might have been misused by the government against individuals who should never have been arrested or detained in the first place.