Adam Prireza, Jakarta – The Papua Advocacy Team believes that the panel of judges at the Central Jakarta District Court were desperately looking for a way to justify why the protest action by six Papuan activists in August last year was an act of treason.
One of the advocacy team’s members and lawyer for the Papuan activists, Oky Wiratama, said that a number of facts that emerged during the trial were not included in the judges’ considerations.
“Namely that the Papuan activists that held the action had already provided a notification of the action [with police] in accordance with the law on the freedom to express an opinion in public, and the action was escorted by and facilitated by the Central Jakarta Polres [district police] and the Metro Jaya Polda [regional police]”, said Wiratama in a press release on Saturday April 25.
The six activists are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere. They were arrested by police for flying the Morning Star independence flag during a protest action demanding a referendum for Papua in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on August 28, 2019.
At the court hearing yesterday, the panel of judges sentenced Arina Elopere, Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait and Anes Tabuni to nine months jail, while Issay Wenda was sentenced to eight months jail. The sentences were lighter than that those demanded by the public prosecutor who asked for the defendants to be jailed for one year and five months.
Wiratama also said that the verdict by the panel of judges against the Papuan activists was wrong. “[They] failed to project a sense of love and peace for the Papuan people, so the panel of judges tried to punish the defendants by finding them guilty”, he said.
The thing which went against the Papuan activists in the verdict was that the panel of judges deemed that the defendants’ action could have damaged the image and prestige of the nation and state, could have disturbed security nationally and in the Papua region and could have damaged harmony and create disunity in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
On the other hand, the thing which worked in the defendants’ favour, according to the judges, was that the defendants had no prior convictions, acted politely during the court hearings and promised not to reoffend. The panel of judges also deemed that the defendants were still young and could go on to become a generation which could help develop Papua.
If the protest by the Papuan activists conflicted with the law, said Wiratama, the police should have broken up the action.
Moreover, Wiratama said that the activists had asked the other protesters not to fly the Morning Star flag because the action they were holding was to protest against racism.
“The Papuan activists had already asked the police not to act repressively if the action they held violated the law. Moreover, it was facilitated by a bus [which was provided] by the police to take the protesters home [afterwards]”, he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tim Advokasi Aktivis Papua Sebut Vonis Majelis Hakim Keliru”.]