Sabtu, 17 Maret 2012


Papuans found guilty of subversion, get 3-year jail terms

Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Sat, 03/17/2012 11:29 AM
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The Jayapura District Court sentenced on Friday five Papuans to three years in prison for subversion.

The verdicts were two years lighter than the five years a piece sought by prosecutors. 

At the trial hearing, presided over by judge Jack Octovianus, the five defendants — Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison G. Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Sorabut and Agustinus Makbrawen Sananay Kraar — were found guilty of violating Articles 44 and 106 of the Criminal Code.

They were convicted of treason for declaring the independent state of West Papua during the third 
Papuan People’s Congress held at Zaccheus Field in Abepura, Papua, from Oct. 17 to 19, 2011.

They, along with hundreds of participants, were arrested during the closing stages of the congress, when armed police and military personnel forcibly broke up the peaceful gathering after Forkorus announced himself president of West Papua and Edison as prime minister.

The following day, three people were found dead on a hill in Padangbulan, 300 meters from Zaccheus Field.

The defendants’ lawyer, Gustav Kawer, said he would file an appeal over the ruling.

“The court ruling is misleading. Had the judges referred to the treason article, certain elements in the trial should not have been used,” Gustav said. 

“The charge of treason has not been proven, so the other articles should be dropped. The facts show that our clients were exercising their democratic right [to freedom of expression]; they were not being subversive,” he added.

“Furthermore, the panel of judges did not allow into evidence letters from the coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister, the Home Ministry’s Directorate General of Regional Autonomy and the Papua Police granting permission for the Papuan congress to go ahead. We, therefore, demand our clients be acquitted of all charges,” he said. 

Prosecutors, however, deemed the court’s ruling was fair.

“The ruling meets the requirement of justice. There are differences of opinion, of course, but the judges have the final say. We sought five years [for each of the accused] but the judges handed down three years against them,” said prosecutor Julius D. Teuf.

The trial session was tightly guarded by 600 officers of the Jayapura Police deployed to the courthouse. 

The atmosphere remained calm throughout the trial hearing, despite the presence of hundreds of the 
defendants’ supporters.

The Papuan People’s Congress produced eight points, including the demand for the re-establishment of the independence and sovereignty of the Papuan people, which was taken from them by the Indonesian government in the 1960s; a declaration of West Papua as an independent and sovereign country; the formation of a West Papua constitution; the establishment of a West Papuan government as of Oct. 19, 2011; and a call to the Indonesian government to immediately end its annexation of Papua and West Papua provinces.

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