Papua treason suspects’ pretrial appeal rejected, lawyers allege judge bias

Source – December 10, 2019
United Student Front protest in front of South Jakarta District Court – November 11, 2019 (Tirto)
United Student Front protest in front of South Jakarta District Court – November 11, 2019 (Tirto)

Adi Briantika – The sole judge at the South Jakarta District Court, Agus Widodo, has rejected a pretrial suit by six Papuan political prisoners who have been charged with alleged treason.

The judge said that the appeal was flawed in terms of the object of the appeal because it confused the legitimacy of the actions of police investigators in conducting raids, seizures and declaring the six as suspects.

Meanwhile it was flawed in material terms because the subject of the appeal included the institution of the president in the structure of law enforcement agencies.

“So the pretrial [suit] submitted by the plaintiff must be declared unable to be accepted”, said Judge Widodo.

Papua Advocacy Team lawyer Muhammad Busyrol Fuad stated that the judge did not look at the legal facts during the trial saying that the procedures followed during the arrest and indictment of the suspects were invalid.

“We don’t think that the pretrial judge today looked at the legal facts which were presented in the trial. The judge did not consider all the facts. Such as, for example, the arrests the procedures followed were invalid”, said Fuad. He said that he regrets that the judge only looked at the formal aspects of the case.

Alleged bias

Fuad also believes that the judge was bias during the hearings. Because during the first hearing, the team of lawyers from defendant, the Metro Jaya regional police, failed to attend and the judge postponed the hearing by one week. Also when objections were raised during the hearing, the judge only responded to objections by the defendant.

“Several times we made objections but the judge always overruled them, but when the defendant made an objection the judge always allowed it”, explained Fuad.

Papua Advocacy Team member Oky Wiratama Siagian took up the issue of casu quo (cq, a party’s capacity or position) in the appeal.

The order of the casu quo in the case was the president of the Republic of Indonesia, the national police chief, the Metro Jaya regional Police and the Metro Jaya General Crimes Detectives Directorate Sub-Directorate for State Security.

The judge was of the view that President Joko Widodo should not have been held liable in the context of the case.

“The [issue of] cq should not have been a problem. Why? Because in pretrial [appeals submitted by] the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation they often use cq. There is jurisprudence here and we have often used this. If it’s about cq then the argument were trumped up”, said Wiratama.

Under Article 2 and Article 8 of Law Number 2/2002 on the National Police Force, the national police are responsible to the president. “We also included this in the concluding [remarks]”, said Wiratama.

Wiratama said that the judge did not play an active role in the hearings and that pretrial appeals must be subject to the Criminal Procedural Code (KUHAP).

“The fact is that during the trial, did the judge ever question any of the witnesses that we presented? No. Was the judge active? No. From this were think that the judge was bias in handling this case, right from the start he wasn’t impartial”, said Wiratama.

According to Wiratama, if there are indications that a judge is bias then they must withdraw from a trail.

Meanwhile the lawyer representing the Metro Jaya regional police, Assistant Superintendant Nova Irone denied that the judge was bias.

“What was bias? Clearly in the judge’s considerations, [he explained that] including the president as the subject of the pretrial appeal was an institutional error because the subject of the pretrial appeal was the police investigators and public prosecutor”, said Irone when contacted by on Tuesday.

The pretrial suit was hearing a challenge against the arrest of six Papua activists following a demonstration in front of the State Palace on August 28 in which the Morning Star independence flag was flow. They were arrested on August 30 and 31.

The six suspects are Paulus Suryanta Ginting alias Surya Anta (39), Anes Tabuni alias Dano Anes Tabuni (31), Charles Kossay (26), Ambrosius Mulait (25), Isay Wenda (25) and Arina Elopere alias Wenebita Gwijangge (20).

The first five are currently being held at the Salemba prison in East Jakarta while Elopere is being held at the Pondok Bambu prison, also in East Jakarta.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Permohonan Praperadilan Surya Anta Cs Dinilai Cacat Hukum”.]