M Yusuf Manurung, Jakarta – East Jakarta Metropolitan District Police Chief Senior Commissioner Ardian Rishadi was presented as a witness by the prosecution at the trial of six Papua activists charged with treason at the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday February 3.
Rishadi gave testimony about when he was watching over a protest action in the vicinity of the State Palace in Central Jakarta that was held on August 28, 2019.
At the time, Rishadi still held the post of Central Jakarta Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief. He claimed to have seen the demonstrators singing songs or shouting things which went against the principal of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia or NKRI.
“Papua is not the red-and-white, Papua is the Morning Star, I apologise, but that’s what I heard”, said Rishadi singing the verses that he heard being sung by the demonstrators at the rally when testifying in front of the panel of judges on Monday.
Rishadi also stated that the demonstrators brought Morning Star flags to the protest and that the symbol of the Morning Star was painted on several of the demonstrator’s faces. The symbol was also painted on the road.
Rishadi claimed that he heard the defendants singing and shouting these things. He also said that the defendants made problematic speeches.
“They [said they] wanted to separate from the unitary state, and declared that Papua is not part of Indonesia. Then a referendum was also discussed”, he said.
On the question of the Morning Star symbols, one of the defendants’ lawyers took the opportunity to ask Rishadi which regulation prohibits the Morning Star flag from being flown. Rishadi however expressed the view that the lawyer was testing him and refused to answer the question.
“What’s clear is that the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia only has one flag, the red-and-white, there are no other flags”, said Rishadi, who at the time of the demonstration still held the rank of assistant superintendent of police.
The six defendants in the treason case are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere. They have been indicted on two alternative articles, namely Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1(1) of the KUHP on makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) and Article 110 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Saat Eks Wakapolres Jakarta Pusat Bersaksi di Sidang Makar Papua”.]