This article provides an overview on trials related to Papua-wide anti-racism protests between late August and late September 2019 as well as the subsequent wave of criminalisation against human rights defenders and political activists. The International Coalition for Papua summarised earlier stages of the legal proceedings and detentions in previous articles (first update, second update; third update). The following article covers recent developments in relation to the anti-racism riots between mid-January 2020 and early February.
Imprisonment sentences for perpetrators of hate speech in Surabaya disproportionately low
Three defendants responsible for racist assaults against Papuan students in Surabaya have been found guilty. However, all sentences were lower than the sentences proposed by the public prosecutor. The sentences for the former legislative candidate of the conservative party ‘Gerindra’, Tri Susanti and Syamsul Arifin, a member of the Public Order Police Unit (Satpol PP), were particularly low in comparison with the maximum statutory punishments as stipulated in the respective articles.
• On 30 January 2020, Syamsul Arifin was found guilty of violating article 16 of Law No. 40/2008 regarding elimination of racial and ethnic discrimination. He was sentenced to five months imprisonment reduced by the period of detention and a fine of one million rupiah (about € 67). Previously, the public prosecutor had demanded a sentence of eight months imprisonment. This is far below the maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a fine of five hundred million rupiahs (about € 33,400) as stipulated under article 16 of the law. He was immediately released after the verdict.
• On 3 February 2020, Tri Susanti was found guilty of violating article 14 (1) of Law No. 1/1946 regarding criminal law regulations and sentenced to seven months imprisonment. The public prosecutor demanded a sentence of twelve months imprisonment. Similar as the case above, the proposed sentence is far below the maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment as stipulated under the corresponding article.
• On 30 January 2020, Andria Ardiansyah was found guilty of violating article violating article 15 of Law No. 1/1946 regarding criminal law regulations and sentenced to ten months imprisonment. The public prosecutor demanded a sentence of twelve months imprisonment. The proposed sentence is below the maximum sentence of two years imprisonment under article 15.
Update on trials in relation to Jayapura riots
Multiple trials in relation to the anti-racism riots in Jayapura on 29 August 2019 are currently taking place at the Jayapura District Court. Some trials have already resulted in imprisonment sentences for the defendants. The examination of defendants during court sessions illustrate the widespread pattern of torture during police detention in West Papua.
Meanwhile, 17 defendants, namely Elo Hubi, Ary Asso, Ruvinus Tambanop, Ronald Wandik, Yusuf Marthen Moai, Jony Weya, Persiapan Kogoya, Mikha Asso, Dorty Kawena, Yali Loho, Pandra Wenda, Ferius Entama, Agustinus Lisak Mohi, Oktovianus Hisage, Piter Meraudje, Vinsent Kalvin Dogopia and Yan Piet Suramaja were released because their custody had reached the maximum period of detention as regulated by the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP). However, they have not been acquitted – their trials continue to be held at the district court in Jayapura.
One of the defendants, Dolfinus Hisage, testified at court that police officers arbitrarily arrested him. Dolfinus was charged with article 160 KUHP on incitement for making orations in front of the Cenderawasih University Campus. He was beaten during detention and forced to sign a confession letter. Dolfinus also witnessed how police officers ill-treated other detainees at the police station. The trial continues with the examination of further witnesses.
On 29 January 2020, judges sentenced Wilem Walilo guilty of violating article 2 (1) of Emergency Law No 12/ 1951. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment, reduced by the period of detention. Mr Walilo was arrested while he was in possession of a machete on 30 August 2019 during a police check. Wilem Walilo claimed that he was on the way to his pig stall and needed the knife to prepare food for his animals. The public prosecutor had demanded a sentence of twelve months imprisonment for Mr Walilo.
Likewise, another defendant in relation to the anti-racism riots named Lanti Nipsan was sentenced to six months imprisonment. Nipsan’s indictment was the same as Wilem Walilo’s indictment. Police officers allegedly found a sharp weapon during arrest.
A similar trial against Yan Piet Suramaja is also held at the Jayapura district court. Police officers arrested him for allegedly participating in acts of vandalism during the anti-racism riots in Jayapura on 29 August 2019. The public prosecutor demanded a sentence of eight months imprisonment for Suramaja. According to the public prosecutor, the police found an axe and a morning star flag in his bag during arrest.
In a separate trial against Yosam Wenda and Yoda Tabuni, the lawyers pleaded for the defendants’ immediate acquittal. The police officers did not find any evidence when they arrested the defendants and there were no witnesses for the alleged theft. During a previous court hearing, the public prosecutor demanded an imprisonment sentence of twelve months for the defendants for allegedly stealing a computer and a keyboard from the Governor’s Office on 29 August 2019.
Lawyers also pleaded for acquittal of Oktavianus Hisage. According to the lawyers, Oktavianus Hisage was forced to sign a confession stating that he had stolen a laptop from the Governor’s office. He was allegedly subjected to torture during police detention. The public prosecutor also demanded a sentence of 12 months imprisonment for him.
There were two more trials on allegations of theft during the August-Riots in Jayapura. In a first trial against Yorgen Aibui and Valerio Yaas, the public prosecutor demanded a sentence of eight months imprisonment. In a second trial, the public prosecutor proposed seven months imprisonment for the defendants Vinsent Kalvin Dogopia and Piter Meraudje.
Update on situation of seven Papuan political detainees in Kalimantan
The seven Papuan political activists Fery Kombo, Alexander Gobay, Hengki Hilapok, Buchtar Tabuni, Irwanus Uropmabin, Stevanus Itlay and Agus Kossay are still awaiting trial at the East Kalimantan Regional Police detention facility (Rutan Polda Kaltim).
Some of the detainees continue to experience health issues during detention. End of January 2020, a lawyer stated that one of the defendants was vomiting blood despite the medical treatment that they received previously. He added that the defendants’ health condition would be much better if the detention was again shifted to Jayapura, where the families can care for their detained relatives on a daily basis. The defendants and lawyers still demand that the trial should take place in West Papua. The same claim was expressed by the defendants’ relatives, as well as members of the local parliament and the Papuan Peoples Assembly (Majelis Rakya Papua, MRP).
The Balikpapan district court has scheduled the first court hearing on 11 February 2020.
Update on trial against six pro-Papua activists in Jakarta
The trial against the political pro-Papua activists Surya Anta, Charles Kossay, Isay Wenda, Arina Lokbere and Ambrosius Mulait at the Central Jakarta District Court is still ongoing. In the first indictment, the prosecution has charged the six activists with two alternative articles, namely article 106 KUHP in conjunction with article 55, 1(1) KUHP on treason (makar). In the second indictment, they are charged under article 110 (1) KUHP on criminal conspiracy for carrying the Morning Star Flag during a peaceful protest in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on 28 August 2019. The activists were subsequently arrested, although they had registered the protest at the local police office as required under national law.
In late January, the panel of judges rejected the defendants’ objection note and continued with the examination of witnesses. Meanwhile, two witnesses have been examined at court. One of them was the chairperson of nationalist mass organisation ‘Laskar Merah Putih’ (Red and White Warriors), Adek Erfil Manurung. Mr Manurung had reported the activists to the Jakarta police after he received a video on social media, showing the protest in front of the State Palace. He argued that the waving of the Morning Star Flag was an act of separatism. The public prosecutor also summoned the vice police chief of the East Jakarta Municipality Police, Arie Ardian Rishadi, as witness at court. Officer Rishadi was personally present when as demonstration took place. He testified that protesters were waving the Morning Star Flag, while shouting slogans in support of a referendum.
Update on trials in relation to Exodus student riot in Waena on 23 September 2019
Four trials against twelve defendants are taking place in relation to the clashes between Papuan students and joint security forces on 23 September 2019 in Waena. The trials at the Jayapura district court are still ongoing. In all trials, the panel of judges rejected the defendants’ objection note and proceeded with the examination of witnesses.
In the trial against Bedira Tabuni, Alpon Meku, Pailes Yigibalom, Biko Kogoya and Tenak Waker, a first witness was examined at court. A police officer testified that he did not see the defendants participating in the demonstration at the Cenderawasih University campus and the subsequent clashes between students and security force members in Waena.
In the second trial against Yogi Wenda, Jumbrif Kogoya, Elimus Bayage and Maya Kamarigi. The trial also continued with the examination of witnesses on 4 February 2020.
The third trial against Abua Yikwa and Yadu Kogoya also proceeded with the examination of a first witness. However, the witness could not confirm the involvement of the defendants in the demonstration or the subsequent clashes at Ekspo Waena.
In the fourth trial against Abraham Dote, a first witness could neither confirm the involvement of the defendant in the clashes nor in the subsequent pillage of a nearby store. Abraham Dotes is the only defendant among the twelve protesters who has been charged additionally with articles 160 KUHP on incitement and or article 187 KUHP on deliberate arson, and or article 365 KUHP on theft accompanied by violence. The trial continued with the examination of further witnesses on 10 February 2020.
Trials against human rights activists in Manokwari
A trial against Papuan activist Septinus Meidodga was launched in Manokwari in late November 2019. He was charged with article 28 (2) in conjunction with article 45A (2) of Law No. 19 /2016 about the amendment of Law No. 11/2008 on Electronic Information and Transaction for posting content of hate speech in response to the racist assault against the Papuan students on his Facebook account. The judges sentenced Septinus Meidodga to four months and 20 days imprisonment to be reduced by the period of detention. He was released on 6 February 2020 (see intro image). The public prosecutor had demanded an imprisonment sentence of seven months and 20 days imprisonment.
Three other Papuan activists named Erik Aliknoe, Yunus Aliknoe and Pende Mirin, are still being detained at the Papua Barat regional police detention facility. They were arrested for making orations during the anti-racism demonstration in Manokwari on 3 September 2019. Police arrested and charged them with articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason and article 160 KUHP on incitement. The beginning of the trial was scheduled for 6 February 2020.