Jakarta – The lawyer representing Surya Anta Ginting and five other Papuan activists, Mike Himan, has confirmed that two of his clients will continue to wear traditional Papuan penis gourds (koteka) during a hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court today, Monday January 20.
As has been reported, the panel of judges hearing the case refused to continue an earlier hearing because the two defendants insisted on wearing koteka.
“Yes, the tapols (political prisoners) today will also wear koteka”, said Himan when contacted by CNN Indonesia by phone.
Himan said that as their lawyer he cannot prohibit the political prisoners from excursing their rights and doing as they wish. According to Himan, there is no special prohibition on the political prisoners wearing traditional Papuan clothing, the koteka.
“We as their lawyer also won’t prohibit it, it’s their right. We will allow it”, he said.
Himan also will not object if the panel of judges at the Central Jakarta District Court – which is presided over by Judge Agustinus Setyo Wahyu – again refused to hear a response by the public prosecutor against a demurrer by the lawyers representing the political prisoners.
On January 13 the judges postponed the prosecution’s rebuttal on the grounds that defendants Ambrosius Mulait and Dano Anes Tabuni were wearing koteka which the judges said was not in accordance with the propriety of a court hearing.
Himan also took the opportunity to explain a number of irregularities committed by the Central Jakarta District Court. Himan has received news that the court sent a circular to police related to security during the hearing today.
In the circular the court said that there was a risk of security disturbances and asked that the police take part in ensuring security during the hearing. “All of a sudden I got a message from a colleague. The court asked [the police to provide] security”, he said.
Yet, according to Himan, since the hearings began in December last year there have never been any disturbances or solidarity actions by supporters of the political prisoners. All of the hearings have proceeded peacefully and in an orderly manner.
“Yet throughout the hearings from the arraignment to the [prosecutor’s] response to the demurrer today there has never been any solidarity actions, those that came have never held an action, the court hearings have been peaceful”, he explained.
On December 19 the prosecution formally charged the six Papua activists, namely Surya Anta, Charles Kossay, Dano Tabuni, Isay Wenda, Ambrosius Mulait and Arina Lokbere with makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) and criminal conspiracy.
In the first indictment, the six Papua activists are charged with violating Article 106 in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code (KUHP) or makar.
In the second indictment meanwhile, the six are charged under Article 110 Paragraph (1) of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy for flying the Morning Star independence flag during a protest action in front of the State Palace on August 28 last year.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Dilarang Hakim, Aktivis Papua Akan Tetap Pakai Koteka”.]