M Yusuf Manurung, Jakarta – Six Papua activists who are defendants in a treason case performed the song Hindang Makendang before the hearing began at the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday January 20. The song was sung to the accompaniment of a guitar.
“This song is a song from the Sentani Lake”, said one of the defendants, Surya Anta Ginting. The spokesperson for the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) explained the meaning of the song.
“[It’s about] rowing a boat on Sentani Lake at dusk and the clam water which gives a special and deep impression”, he said. According Ginting, the song was dedicated to the Papuan people and their ancestors.
The court hearing today is scheduled to hear a response from the prosecution to the demurrer presented last week by the defendants’ lawyers.
Last week, a court hearing with the same agenda was postponed because two of the defendants, Ambrosius Mulait and Dano Tabuni were wearing traditional penis gourds (koteka) at the hearing. Today, both are also still wearing koteka.
The six Papuan activists who are undergoing trial on charges of makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) at the Central Jakarta District Court are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere.
They were arrested by police after flying the Morning Star independence flag during a protest action in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on August 28, 2019.
The protest action was in response to a siege and attack on a Papuan student dormitory in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya on August 16, 2019.
The six are being charged under to alternative articles. First, Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1(1) of the KUHP on makar. Second, Article 110 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “6 Aktivis Papua Nyanyikan Hindang Makendang Sebelum Sidang Makar”.]