Reza Gunadha and Stephanus Aranditio – Two Papuan political prisoners, Dano Anes Tabuni and Ambrosius Mulait, wrote the word “sampah” (rubbish) on their bodies during a court hearing to cross-examine witnesses at the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday February 17.
The word “rubbish” was a form of protest against Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menkopolhukam) Mahfud MD.
Mahfud earlier said that data on Papuan political prisoners (tapol) and victims was rubbish. The data was given to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo by lawyer and human rights activist Veronica Koman who is currently a political refugee in Australia along with the local office of Amnesty International when Widodo was visiting Canberra last week.
The six Papuan defendants undergoing trial on charges of treason are Ariana Elopere, Dano Anes Tabuni, Suryanta Anta Ginting, Ambrosius Mulait, Charles Kossay and Issay Wenda.
They wrote the word “rubbish” using white paint on their lower backs and stomachs alongside of the words “Tikus” (rat) and “Monyet” (monkey) which they wore during the earlier court hearings.
“I’m very annoyed with what was conveyed by Pak [Mr] Jokowi’s assistant. Pak Luhut [Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan] once told the Papuan people that if they want independence they should go to Melanesia. [Former] Menkopolhukam Wiranto also said he didn’t want to reveal data on the deaths of Papuan people, and I recently heard that Pak Mahfud MD said that the data on the deaths of people in Nduga including on me a political prisoner was rubbish”, said Mulait.
“I think that Jakarta’s way of resolving the Papua problem is full of racism, full of hate”, he asserted.
Another defendant, Surya Anta Ginting called on Mahfud to immediately take action after personally receiving the same data from the University of Indonesia (UI) Student Executive Council (BEM).
“Do we tapols have to extend the process of our detention? Are the various problems in Papua only answered with adding more infrastructure programs?”, asked Anta.
According to Anta, the problems in Papua cannot be resolved by infrastructure development which in no way benefits the ordinary Papuan people.
“If there is not a comprehensive response to the problems in Papua, yes well Jokowi and the government are just treating the problems with the wrong medicine which actually makes it worse. What illness, what treatment, so it complicates the illness”, asserted Anta.
The documents on Papuan political prisoners and victims of the military operations in Nduga which were given to Widodo by Koman and the BEM UI contained the names and location of 57 Papuan political prisoners who have been indicted on charges of makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) and are currently imprisoned in seven cities across Indonesia.
The documents also contained the names and ages of 243 civilians who have died during military operations in Nduga since December 2018, both those killed by security forces as well as those who died of illness and starvation while seeking refuge.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kecam Mahfud MD, Tapol Papua Sematkan Kata Sampah di Tubuh saat Sidang”.]