Three KNPB members charged with treason, face 20 years in jail if convicted

CNN Indonesia – January 8, 2019
West Papua National Committee rally – Undated (Antara)
West Papua National Committee rally – Undated (Antara)

Jakarta – Papuan police have charged three West Papua National Committee (KNPB) members with treason (makar). The case has now been handed over to the Papua regional police headquarters (Mapolda) in Jayapura City for processing by the Papua regional police (Polda) General Crimes Detectives Directorate (Ditreskrimum).

“Correct there are three suspects in a makar case who have been handed over for to the Papua Polda for processing”, said Papua regional police public relations head Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal as quoted by the Antara state news agency on Tuesday January 8.

Kamal said that the three suspects with the initial SA, MD and VG, are KNPB members who had earlier been taken to the Papua regional police after being arrested by the Mimika district police.

Kamal said however that police have yet to question the three suspects because they are waiting for their lawyer to arrive. Kamal added that the KNPB headquarters in Timika is still under police control.

On December 31, the Mimika police with assistance from the Army (TNI AD) raided the KNPB headquarters in Timika where they found evidence in the form of documents related to the Free Papua movement.

On Saturday January 5 the Mimika police questioned eight KNPB activists in relation to alleged criminal acts of treason.

KNPB attorney Veronica Koman protested the questioning because it was not carried out in accordance with the stipulations of the Criminal Procedural Code (KUHAP). The police summons for questioning, said Koman, should have been delivered three days before the questioning was scheduled.

“The summons was only received at 4pm in the afternoon local time, yet the questioning was scheduled for 2pm local time. The Mimika Polres have committed procedural errors because the minimum time period for a summons according to the KUHAP is three days beforehand”, said Koman in a written release received by CNN Indonesia on Saturday.

Nevertheless, said Koman, the Mimika Polres continued with the questioning of the eight activists who were earlier summoned from the KNPB secretariat at 7pm local time.

She also questioned the alleged case of subversion that is being investigated by the Mimika Polres which ended in the occupation of the KNPB’s Mimika headquarters on December 31.

According to Koman, the activities which were to be held at the KNPB offices at end of the year were nothing more than prayers and a traditional ceremony, which have nothing whatsoever to do with subversion.

Koman believes that the Mimika Polres violated the right to worship by forcibly breaking up the event.


Makar – Meaning subversion, treason or rebellion against the state, carries a maximum punishment of 20 years imprisonment and has been liberally used by successive governments against pro-independence activists for peaceful protests such as flying the Morning Star flag or demonstrating in support of independence for West Papua.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tiga Anggota KNPB Timika Jadi Tersangka Kasus Makar”.]