Awaiting release, Jakarta Six reaffirm commitment to fight for justice

Source – May 12, 2020
Surya Anta (centre) and two other Papuan defendants at Central Jakarta District Court – Undated (Suara)

Reza Gunadha and Erick Tanjung – Six Papuan political prisoners in Jakarta, namely Surya Anta Ginting and his companions are to be released from Salemba prison in Jakarta today, Tuesday May 12.

They have already fulfilled the requirements for conditional release based on a policy by Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly to reduce overcrowding in prisons amid the corona virus pandemic.

This is set out in Ministerial Decree Number M.HH-19.PK.01.04.04 on the release and reintegration of prisoners and juvenile inmates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Papuan political prisoners (tapol) in Jakarta were sentenced to nine months jail with the exception of Isay Wenda who was sentenced to eight months jail.

“The Papua tapols have not submitted an appeal against their sentences because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Papua tapols in Jakarta are focusing on their safety and health”, said Shaleh Al Ghifari, one of the lawyers from the Papua Advocacy Team representing the six.

Ghifari said that the decision not to submit an appeal was taken after intense discussions between the political prisoners, family members and their lawyers.

Despite being sentenced to jail and soon to be released, Surya Anta and his companions are still committed to voicing the injustices which are taking place in Papua.

“This was the high price that had to be paid by the Papua tapols for the sake of creating justice and self-respect for the Papuan people”, explained Ghifari.

In addition to this, after their release from jail the political prisoners will endeavour to provide support and give strength to other Papuan political prisoners who are still in jail.

They are calling on the Indonesian government to unconditionally release all Papuan political prisoners because the safety of the ordinary people represents the highest law.

The Papuan prisoners are calling on the Indonesian government to stop the criminalisation of pro-democracy activists articulating their views and calling for justice.

They are also calling for an end to repression and racial discrimination against students and the Papuan people who want to convey their views and express themselves in public.

This is because freedom of expression is protected under Law Number 9/1998 on the freedom to express and opinion in public.

In addition to this, Article 28 E Paragraph 3 of the 1945 Constitution also states that everyone has the freedom of association, assembly and expression.

As well as this, Law Number 39/1999 on Human Rights guarantees that everyone has the right to express and publicise views in accordance with their good conscience, both verbally and in writing.

The six political prisoners, Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Ambrosius Mulait, Issay Wenda, Charles Kossay, Dano Anes Tabuni and Ariana Elopere were charged under Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP (1) on makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) and Article 110 Paragraph 1 on criminal conspiracy.

During the sentence hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court on April 25, Surya Anta, Mulait, Kossay, Elopere and Tabuni were found guilty and sentenced to nine months jail while Wenda 8 was sentenced to eight months in jail.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Enam Tahanan Politik Papua Surya Anta Cs Bebas Selasa Hari Ini”.]