Papua treason suspects submit pre-trail suit over procedural violations

Source – October 22, 2019
Protesters raise Morning Star flag in front of Presidential Palace – August 28, 2019 (Komaps)
Protesters raise Morning Star flag in front of Presidential Palace – August 28, 2019 (Komaps)

Walda Marison, Jakarta – On Tuesday October 22 a lawyer from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) submitted a pre-trail suit against the Metro Jaya regional police over the arrest of six Papua activists who were charged with treason for flying the Morning Star independence flag in August.

Layer Oky Wiratama Siagian submitted the pre-trial suit at the South Jakarta District Court which was designated the number 133/PID.PRA/2019/PN.JKT.SEL.

Siagian explained that the pre-trial suit was submitted because the declaration of the six activists as suspects was invalid. According to Siagian, they should have been declared witnesses first.

“Arrests should be proceeded by being summoned as a witness. Our clients were never summoned as witnesses but then suddenly arrested and immediately named suspects. This is what we are presenting in the appeal”, said Siagian at the South Jakarta District Court.

The police, continued Siagian, should have followed National Police Criminal Investigation Bureau Chief Regulation Number 3/2014 on Standard Operating Procedures on Conducting Crime Investigations (Perkaba 3/2014) before making the arrest.

“Many procedures in the raids and arrests were illegal because they didn’t have a warrant from the local district court. It wasn’t witnessed by two witnesses from the local RT/RW [neighbourhood association/community unit]. The seizures were illegal. The actions of the police against our clients were an act of robbery not a seizure”, he said.

Siagian hopes that in submitting the pre-trail suit the facts related to the arrest of the six Papuan activists can be exposed in court. He is convinced that the police should not have declared his clients suspects.

On September 1, Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) spokesperson Surya Anta along with five of his colleagues, namely Charles Kossay, Dano Tabuni, Isay Wenda, Ambrosius Mulait and Arina Elopere were arrested by police for allegedly being involved in flying the Morning Star flag during a protest action alongside the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta on August 28.

The six are currently being detained at the Mobile Brigade Command Headquarters (Mako Brimob) detention centre in Kelapa Dua, Depok, West Java. They have been charged under Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code on makar (treason, subversion, rebellion).

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Enam Tersangka Pengibar Bendera Bintang Kejora Ajukan Praperadilan Gugat Polda Metro Jaya”.]