M Yusuf Manurung, Jakarta – The lawyer representing six Papua defendants, Oky Wiratama Siagian, has criticised a statement by the prosecutor who said that acts of separatism disguised as free speech must be cracked down on.
According to the prosecution, freedom of expression is limited and regulated under Article 28J of the 1945 Constitution.
Siagian responded by stating that the limits on expressing an opinion in public are regulated under Law Number 9/1998 on Freedom of Expression. According to Siagian, his clients obeyed the stipulations of this law.
“The six political prisoners submitted a written notification of the action with the Metro Jaya regional police, meaning they acted in accordance with the law”, said Siagian at the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday January 20.
“If the intent of these comrades was criminal, then why did they submit a prior notification of the action [with the police]”, he continued.
The agenda for today’s hearing was to hear a response from the prosecution to a note of objection or demurrer presented earlier by the lawyers representing the Papua defendants.
The public prosecutor refuted all of the arguments in the demurrer, including the argument on the need to include Article 87 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in the charges because the indictment is already complete with locus and tempus (time and place of an incident).
Siagian then criticised the prosecutor’s reasons for this, saying that in order that the case be clear, the prosecution must include Article 87 which explains the concrete form that an act of makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) takes.
“It must be in conjunction with this article. Makar is an attack, correct, what was the form [of the alleged attack]”, asked Siagian.
The six defendants in the case are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere. They were arrested by police for flying the Morning Star independence flag during a demonstration demanding a referendum for Papua in front of the State Palace on August 28, 2019.
The prosecution has charged Suryanta and his colleagues with two alternative articles. Namely, Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1(1) of the KUHP on makar and Article 110 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pengacara Kritik JPU: Aktivis Papua Sudah Beritahu Aksi ke Polisi”.]