Judges at the Jakarta Central Jakarta District Court have rejected the public prosecutor’s indictment in their interlocutory verdict on 8 April 2020. The judges’ decision brought an end to 333 days of arbitrary detention. During previous court hearings, Mispo Gwijangge’s lawyers and the Indonesian Commission for the protection of children (KPAI) requested a forensic examination of his teeth due to substantial indications that the defendant was still a minor. According to the forensic examination, Mispo Gwijangge was estimated to be around 16 years old – too young to be prosecuted under adult law. The defendant’s age was not the only procedural breach in the law enforcement process. The police and the public prosecution of Jayawijaya regency failed to provide access to a translator and legal support during the investigation. The Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP) stipulates that law enforcement institutions are required to provide legal support to all suspects of criminal violations punishable with more than five years imprisonment during all stages of law enforcement. The team called on the National Police (Polri) and the Attorney General’s office to launch an investigation into the allegations regarding the abuse of authority by law enforcement officers.
It is not known whether Mispo Gwijangge will receive any reparation for the unlawful detention. International human rights standards suggest that all victims of unlawful or otherwise arbitrary detention are entitled to an effective remedy, which includes reparation in the form of restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.
Mispo Gwijangge was arbitrarily arrested in Wamena on 10 May 2019 and subsequently detained (see intro image) after being displaced from his village due to the widespread security force operation in the Papuan regency of Nduga. The police pressed charges against him, among them article 340 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with article 55 (1) KUHP on involvement in premeditated murder, punishable with a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment or capital punishment, articles 338 KUHP on homicide, article 351 KUHP on ill-treatment and 333 KUHP on deprivation of liberty.