Ardi Bayage, Jayapura – The public prosecutor (JPU) has demanded a two year prison sentence for West Papua National Committee (KNPB) General Chairperson Agus Kossey and an eight month sentence for Numbay regency KNPB Secretary Benny Murib less time already served in jail.
The sentence demands were read out during a hearing at the Jayapura Class 1A District Court, Papua province, on Tuesday January 16.
"The follow up hearing against Mr Agus Kossay and Mr Benny Murib has been held. The agenda earlier was the reading out of the JPU's [sentence] demands", said KNPB spokesperson Ones Suhuniap after attending the trial of his two colleges.
Suhuniap explained that Kossay and Murib arrived at the Jayapura District Court from the Abepura penitentiary and immediately entered the courtroom.
"Our two comrades are healthy and well, it's just that Benny Murib has a boil on his left food because a corn. Throughout the trial, lawyers from LBH [Legal Aid Foundation] Papua and the Coalition were also present. At the hearing, the public prosecutor demanded Agus Kossay get two years, then Benny Murib with eight months in prison", he explained.
The KNPB spokesperson added that the trial will continue next week and is scheduled to hear a defence by the defendants' lawyers.
"Next week there will be another hearing with the agenda of a defense. Later we will follow it together", Suhuniap added.
"Yes, earlier this afternoon was the reading out of the JPU's [sentence] demands. We will also present a defence in accordance with the mechanisms. And that will be held on Tuesday the 23rd next week", said Gobay.
According to Gobay, the prosecutor stated that Kossay committed the crime of incitement as regulated under Article 160 of the Criminal Code (KHUP) and asked for a sentence of two years.
"Meanwhile for Benny Murib, the prosecutor stated that the person concerned was proven to have committed the criminal act of assault as regulated under Article 351 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code and demanded that he be sentenced to eight months in prison", he explained.
Kossay and Murib were arrested for alleged assault and incitement over an incident that occurred in Sentani, Jayapura district, on August 18, 2023.
Messy Silak, the head of KNPB Numbay diplomacy, who is also witnessing the proceedings at the Jayapura District Court, stated that the KNPB would continue to oversee the trial.
“We will continue to attend to witness the trial process. Earlier we were present and witnessed the JPU's demands. Next week we will also be present to witness the defense. Until the results are decided in according with the hopes of the Papuan people. Essentially we are ready to safeguard it in an orderly and safe manner according to instructions", said Silak.
Also present at Tuesday's hearing was KNPB international spokesperson Victor F Yeimo along with sympathisers and the families of the two defendants. The hour-long trial proceeded smoothly and safely.
According to the Human Rights Monitor, there are concerns about criminalisation in the case as both defendants are key figures in the pro-independence KNPB (https://humanrightsmonitor.org/news/trial-against-knpb-leaders-launched-in-jayapura/).
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "JPU Tuntut Agus Kossay dan Beny Murib Dua Tahun dan Delapan Bulan Penjara", and spelt the defendants’ names as Agus Kosay and Beny Murib.]