Surya Anta, three other Papuan activists released from Salemba jail

CNN Indonesia – May 26, 2020
Issay Wenda, Charles Kossay, Arina Elopere, Surya Anta, Ambrosius Mulait and Dano Tabuni (Antara)

Jakarta – Four Papuan political prisoners immediately underwent a corona virus rapid test after being released from Salemba prison in Central Jakarta today. One of them was Paulus Suryanta Ginting or Surya Anta.

Papua Advocacy Team member Suarbudaya Rahadian said that the rapid tests were done to ensure that they were not infected by Covid-19 during their time in jail.

“Upon release we tested them immediately. [We] brought test equipment, brought nurses as well”, said Rahadian when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Tuesday May 26.

Surya Anta, along with three of his colleagues, namely Ambrosius Mulait, Charlesa Kossay and Dano Anes Tabuni, were released after serving nine months incarceration at the Salemba prison after being convicted of committing makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) by a panel of judges at the Central Jakarta District Court on Friday April 24.

Their time in jail however was reduced by the time they had spent undergoing trial and since they were declared suspects and arrested in late August last year.

Rahadian said that one other Papuan political prisoner, Ariana Lokbere, has yet to be released from the Pondok Bambu women’s detention centre in East Jakarta. Lokbere will be released tomorrow, on Wednesday 27.

Nevertheless, Rahadian said that they are still communicating with the Ombudsman so that Lokbere can be released today. “They said tomorrow. But were trying for today”, he said.

In relation to their release, Rahadian explained that the Papua Advocacy Team cannot yet provide any information on the released prisoners’ position on the issue of Papua which they had continually voiced before being arrested. This, he said, would be conveyed soon.

“Later there will be a more complete press release. We can’t make any kind of statement now”, he said.

Surya Ginting and his colleagues have thus served their full sentence of nine months without being paroled under the government’s release and assimilation program to reduce overcrowding in jails in order to contain the spread of Covid-19.

On May 13 the five Papuan political prisoners were about to be paroled under the assimilation program but their release was cancelled at the last minute because they were involved in an act of makar.

The cancellation of the release was based on Government Regulation Number 99/2012 on the on the Regulations and Rights of Penitentiary Inmates. (thr/bac)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Surya Anta Bebas dari Rutan Salemba”.]