Papuan student faces six-month imprisonment sentence

Public prosecutors have demanded a sentence of six months imprisonment and one-year probation against Obby (Obi) Kogoya during the recent court session on 19 June 2017. The Papuan student was arrested during a peaceful assembly of Papuan students in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) at the Papuan student dormitory in Yogyakarta on 15 July 2016. He has been charged with articles 212, 213 and 351/ 2 of the Indonesian penal code (KUHP) and is currently undergoing trial at the Yogyakarta District Court. The articles refer to the criminal offence of violence against law enforcement officers. The spokesperson of Yogyakarta regional police Mrs Anny Pudjiastuti claimed that Obby Kogoya had injured a police officer with an arrow. Obby KogoyaObby Kogoya denies the allegations, stating that he did not apply physical violence against any police officer. Moreover, multiple pictures taken by journalists and human rights defenders show that police officers tortured the student during arrest (see image on the left). Obby Kogoya's lawyer Emanuel Gobay said that police allegedly fabricated the charges. The trial was therefore repeatedly delayed because the police could not find any evidence for Obby Kogoya's involvement in the criminal offence. The lawyers of the 'Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute' will deliver a written plea at the next hearing, scheduled for Monday 3 July 2017.  

Previously, LBH Yogyakarta filed a pre-trial hearing in August 2016, claiming that Obby Kogoya's arrest was unlawful due to violations of the criminal procedure code. The pre-trial was attended by armed police mobile brigade and military police members, which the lawyers and Obby Kogoya understood as a measure of intimidation. However, the judges rejected the lawyers request to drop the charges against their defendant, arguing that Obby Kogoya had applied physical violence against a police officer.

Case Background:

On 15 July 2016 Papuan students conducted a peaceful demonstration in support of the full MSG membership status for the ULMWP. At 07.00 am police forces blocked the entrance gate in front of the Papuan student dormitory at Kusumanegara St. This was understood as an action to prevent the demonstration. At 09.40 am police forces also blocked the back gate to the dorm and tried to break down the back door.

As 21-year-old Papuan student Obby Kogoya tried to enter the dormitory from the back, plain cloth officers stopped him and confiscated his motorcycle without reason, stating “do you think police is afraid?! We can finish you”. Obby Kogoya tried to escape towards Kusumanegara St., one of the plain cloth officers released a warning shot. Subsequently, several plain cloth police officers dragged Obby Kogoya to the ground, where they punched and kicked him to the body and the head. One of the officers stuck his fingers into the victim's nose holes and forcefully pulled him by the nose. Another officer pushed Obby's face into the dirt using his shoes.

Around 10.00, am police officers unlawfully arrested another seven students on the way to the dormitory. At 10.40 approximately 100 people gathered in front of the dormitory shouting discriminating expressions such as “pigs”, and “monkeys”, while police forces were standing next to the group neglecting the racist insults. As Papuan students protested against the negligence, police fired three tear gas canisters into the dormitory yard. When a humanitarian aid organization (Indonesian red cross) arrived to provide water to the students locked in the dorm, the police refused access to the victims. ICP submitted a report on the incident to the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council.