Four treason defendants in Papua jailed over anti-racism protests last year
Tabloid JUBI – May 30, 2020
Sentencing hearing at Sorong District Court – May 30, 2020 (Papua Barat Pos)
Sorong – Four defendants charged with treason in Sorong City, West Papua province, were finally declared guilty and sentenced to eight months and 15 days jail at the Sorong District Court on Thursday May 28.
The four defendants, Yoseph Laurens Syufi alias Siway Bofit, Ethus Paulus Miwak Kareth, Manase Baho and Rianto Ruruk alias Herman Sabo, were indicted under Article 110 Paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 106 of the KUHP in conjunction with article 87 of the KUHP.
The four were arrested after being involved in an action which took place on September 18, 2019 in protest against the stand taken by 61 Papuan figures who met with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on September 10, 2019 following a series of anti-racist protests across the land of Papua.
Presiding judge Willem Marco Erari – who was assisted by Judges Donald Sopacua and Dedi I Sahusilawane – said that the four defendants had been proven guilty of the criminal act of makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) which created public unrest.
“We think that this was the best verdict but it’s not yet certain if the four defendants consider it just. So we are giving an opportunity to their lawyers to ask the four defendants if they don’t accept [the verdict] so they can submit an appeal”, said Erari.
When asked by their lawyer and the public prosecutor, the four defendants stated that they accepted the verdict. “Starting this Thursday the verdict has final and conclusive legal force” added Erari.
Natalis Yewen, who had acted as the general coordinator of the “Monkeys Demand Justice” action in September, stated that personally and on behalf his comrades in arms that he is grateful to God, their ancestors and to West Papua’s national crusaders because his colleagues were sentenced to less than a year.
“I must also convey that they were detained not because they were guilty but that this represents a form of continuous criminalisation by police against activists who stand up to demand the rights of the Papuan nation”, he said.
“With this [verdict] we also ask that other tapols (political prisoners) who are still being detained also be given a sentence that is no more than nine months because if it’s more that that it will be an injustice and we will again take to the streets to demand justice for them and for the Papuan nation”, asserted Yewen. (Bastian/CR-3)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Papua – Empat Terdakwa Makar Di Sorong Divonis 8 Bulan,15 Hari Penjara”.]