Jakarta – The Papua Advocacy Team, which is assisting six Papuan activists who have been charged for raising the Morning Star independence flag, say that police committed theft, not legitimate seizure during their client’s arrest. The team believes that the raids, seizures and arrests by police were illegal.
This was revealed when the team read out the pretrial appeal in the case of alleged makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) involving the activists and Papuan students at the South Jakarta District Court on Monday December 2.
The defendant in the case, the Metro Jaya regional police, did not attend the hearing. This is the second time that the police have failed to appear at the pretrial hearing.
“The defendant carried out the arrest of the plaintiffs, members of the defendant [the police] committed theft, [they did] not conduct the seizures as regulated under the KUHAP [Criminal Procedural Code]”, said Papua Advocacy Team member Oky Wiratama.
The plaintiffs in the case are Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) spokesperson Surya Anta and five Papuan students, namely Issay Wenda, Arina Lokbere, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait and Dano Tabuni.
According to Wiratama, the arrests and raids were illegal because police did not have an arrest warrant from a local district court, the arrests and raids were not witnessed by representatives of the local neighbourhood association and community unit (RT/RW) and they did not have a warrant authorising the seizures.
“This conflicts with Article 33 Paragraph (1), Article 33 Paragraph (3) and Article 33 Paragraph (4) of the KUHAP”, said Wiratama.
The plaintiffs, who are currently being detained at Salemba prison in Jakarta, requested that the judge rule in favour of their appeal and order the Metro Jaya regional police to immediately release Anta and the other prisoners.
“[We ask that the judge] accept the pretrial appeal of the plaintiffs in its entirety”, said Wiratama. The sole judge hearing the case, Agus Widodo, plans to make a final ruling on the appeal next week on Tuesday December 10.
“Tomorrow the response from the defendant [will be heard], on Wednesday the plaintiffs will present evidence, on Thursday [evidence will be submitted] by the defendant, on Friday there will be concluding remarks. A ruling will be made on Tuesday (next week)”, said judge Widodo who immediately struck the gavel and closed the hearing.
As has been reported, the six were charged with alleged treason following a protest action in front of the State Palace in Jakarta on August 28 in which the Morning Star independence flag was flown.
They were arrested one after the other on August 30 and 31 and were subsequently declared suspects on charges of makar.
On October 22 the lawyers representing the suspects submitted a pretrial suit with the South Jakarta District Court. The Papua Advocacy Team believes that there were procedural irregularities in the arrest and charging of the suspects.
“Our clients were never summoned as witnesses [first], but all of a sudden arrested and declared suspects”, said advocacy team member Oky Wiratama.
On November 18 the six Papuan activists were transferred from the Mobile Brigade Command Headquarters Detention Centre to the Jakarta state prosecutor’s office and will soon be tried on charges of makar.
The police themselves claim that they followed correct procedures with National Police Public Information Bureau Head Brigadier General Argo Yuwono asking all parties to look at the facts during the upcoming trial.
“Just wait for the trial, let everything come out in the open like what actually happened”, Yuwono told CNN Indonesia on Wednesday November 20. (mjo/arh)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tim Advokasi Papua Sebut Polisi Merampas, Bukan Menyita”.]