Verdict in treason trial in Sorong - Ten months imprisonment for eleven Papuan activists

On 17 September 2020, the panel of judges at the Sorong District Court found eleven Papuan activists guilty of criminal conspiracy as stipulated under the article 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP). The public prosecutor sought a sentence of 16 months for Daniel Jitmau, Paulus Syama, Lukas Nauw, Simon Aifat, Berto Tomow, Frengky Nauw, Lukas Smass, Marlinda Mangko, Silvester Nauw, Wilson Kofias and Jhosua Kingho. All defendants were arrested on 27 November 2019, after planning a public event through which they allegedly supported the establishment of the separate state ‘West Papua New Guinea’. The police found banners, flags and stickers with the Morning Star during the arrest.

All defendants accepted the verdict. Following the judges’ decision, the lawyers of the Kaki Abu Legal Aid Institute (LBH Kaki Abu) urged the police in West Papua to be more cautious in applying the articles 106 and 110 KUHP against people involved in peaceful protests as guaranteed through the right of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and association. Such prosecution behaviour contradicts the spirit of these democratic rights and freedoms and leads to criminalisation. The lawyers argued that this was somehow also reflected in the verdict. The judges found the defendants only guilty of article 110 KUHP but not of article 106 KUHP, as applied by the public prosecutor and the police.

The eleven political prisoners were released from the Sorong Class II Correctional Facilty on 22 September 2020.