Surya Anta’s lawyer disappointed with police no show at first pre-trial hearing

Source – November 11, 2019
Empty seats at first pre-trial suit hearing at South Jakarta District Court – November 11, 2019 (Kompas)
Empty seats at first pre-trial suit hearing at South Jakarta District Court – November 11, 2019 (Kompas)

Walda Marison, Jakarta – The first pre-trial suit hearing involving Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) spokesperson Surya Anta Ginting and five other Papua activists charged with raising the Morning Star flag in front of the State Palace in late August has been postponed.

The hearing, which was to be held at the South Jakarta District Court today on November 11, was postponed because the Metro Jaya regional police (Polda Metro Jaya) as the accused party failed to appear.

“The hearing is postponed by two weeks, until the 25th because the Polda Metro Jaya has not appeared”, said Judge Agus Widodo at the hearing.

However one of the members of the legal team representing Anta and the other suspects, Michael Himan, asked the judges to shorten the postponement to one week.

“If we may, Your Honour. After we submitted the pre-trial [suit] it was not me who contested it, but I want to ask if it is possible for it to be sped up?”, asked Himan.

The judges however stood by their opinion that the next hearing would be held on November 25.

Responding to the postponement, lawyer Oky Wiratama Siagian, who is one of Anta’s legal team members, admitted to feeling disappointed with the police’s failure to appear saying that they are ignoring the pre-trial suit.

Siagian even cited a statement by the Metro Jaya police who earlier said that they were ready to attend the hearing.

“The other day the Polda Metro Jaya said that they were ready to face the pre-trial hearing. But as it turns out they didn’t come to the first hearing”, he said.

Siagian added that he hopes that the police will be cooperative and attend the next hearing.

On October 22, Siagian, acting as the legal council from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), submitted a pre-trial suit with the South Jakarta District Court, which was designated the number 133/PID.PRA/2019/PN.JKT.SEL.

Siagian explained that the reason that they were submitting a pre-trial suit was because the arrest and indictment of the six Papua activists, including Anta, was illegal. According to Siagian, the arrests should have been preceded by a summons to appear as witnesses.

“The procedure for arrests is that they be preceded by a summons as a witness. Our clients were never summoned as witnesses and then abruptly arrested and immediately named suspects. This is what we are protesting in the appeal”, said Siagian earlier at the South Jakarta District Court.

It should be, continued Siagian that the police refer to Criminal Investigation Bureau Chief Regulation Number 3/2014 on Standard Operating Procedures on Conducting Criminal Investigations (Perkaba 3/2014) before making an arrest.

“Many procedures during the raids were illegal because they didn’t have a warrant from the local district court. They were conducted without being witnessed by two witnesses from the local RT [neighbourhood association head] and RW [community unit head]. The seizures were illegal. We allege that what was done by the accused [the police] against our clients was theft not confiscation”, he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kuasa Hukum Surya Anta Cs Kecewa dengan Sikap Polda Metro Jaya”.]