Finally free, activists call for release of other Papuan political prisoners

Source – May 26, 2020
Papuan political prisoners raise their fists after release from Salemba jail – May 26, 2020 (Suara)

Reza Gunadha and Stephanus Aranditio – Four out of five Papuan political prisoners (tapol) were officially released from the Salemba prison in Central Jakarta today, Tuesday May 26.

The fate of one other Papuan political prisoner incarcerated at the Pondok Bambu women’s detention centre in East Jakarta, Arina Elopere, is still unclear.

The four Papuan prisoners released today were Surya Anta Ginting, Ambrosius Mulait, Charles Kossay and Dano Tabuni. One other Papuan political prisoner, Issay Wenda, who was sentenced to eight months jail, was released last month.

“The Papua tapols, after being released from jail, will provide support and solidarity to other Papuan tapols who are still in jail. They are calling on the Indonesian government to unconditionally release all Papuan tapols because the safety of ordinary people is the highest law”, said Papua Advocacy Team member Michael Himan on Tuesday.

They were finally released from jail after being given a false promise on May 12 that they would be paroled under the early release and assimilation program to prevent the spread of the corona virus in Indonesia’s overcrowded jails.

One other prisoner, Elopere, has yet to be freed and the Papua Advocacy Tem is endeavoring get her released because she was sentenced in one group along with Surya Anta and his colleagues and should also be let out today.

On April 24, a panel of judges at the Central Jakarta District chaired by presiding judge Purwanto and judges Djunaedi and Heru sentenced five of the Papuan political activists to nine months jail and one other to eight months jail.

The six activists were indicted in three groups under indictment Number 1303/Pid.B/2019/PN.Jkt.Pst in the name of Paulus Suryanta Ginting Surya, Ambrosius Mulait, Issay Wenda and Charles Kossay, indictment Number 1304/Pid.B/2019/PN.Jkt.Pst in the name of Dano Anes Tabuni and indictment Number 1305/Pid.B/2019/PN.Jkt/Pst in the name of Arina Elopere.

The panel of judges found that the six were proven guilty of violating Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 of the KUHP for holding a peaceful action in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on August 28 protesting racism against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java.

Elopere, Tabuni, Ginting, Mulait and Kossay were sentenced to nine months jail, while Wenda was sentenced to eight months jail. The sentences were lighter than those demanded by the public prosecutor of 17 months and 10 months respectively.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tapol Papua Surya Anta Cs Akhirnya Bebas dari Penjara”.]