On 15 September 2020, the panel of judges launched another political trial in the Sorong District Court. The Papuan defendants: Marten Muuk, Simon Sasior and Yakobus Assem have been charged with three indictments, among them the Articles 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on criminal conspiracy and Article 106 KUHP on treason, the latter carrying a maximum penalty of live imprisonment. The three Papuans were arrested during a police raid in the regency of Maybrat, Papua Barat Province. The arrest occurred on 23 April 2020 in the Tigihmana Village of the Aifat District.
The police encountered Marten Muuk, Simon Sasior and Yakobus Assem as they were walking in the forest with a machete, bow and arrows and an air rifle. Such tools and weapons are common in rural areas of West Papua – indigenous Papuans use them for gardening and hunting small animals. A police interrogation revealed that the three villagers were associated with the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a movement organisation which advocates the right to self-determination in West Papua through civil resistance and mobilisation of masses in peaceful protests.
Lawyer Fernando Ginuny expressed concern regarding the trial process, which has been conducted virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (see photo on to, source: Jubi). Internet disruptions prevented the defendants, their lawyer and the judges from understanding the testimonies properly. The judges finally decided to postpone a witness examination on 17.11.2020 to the next hearing. “Virtual witness examinations like the last one can lead to confusion and misunderstandings in the case. For clarity, witnesses should not be examined virtually” said Ginuny.
The trial will continue on 24 November 2020 with the examination of witnesses.