A panel of judges at the Sorong District Court acquitted the three defendants Marten Muuk, Simon Sasior, dan Yakobus Asem on 3 February 2021. The trial against the three indigenous villagers was already launched on 15 September 2020. Marten Muuk dan Simon Sasior were charged with Article 110 (2) of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on criminal conspiracy against the state. Yakobus Asem was tried separately. The public prosecutor charged him with Article 106 KUHP on treason. The judges ruled that the evidence presented at court could neither be linked to the defendants nor to the murder of police officer Mesak Viktor Pulung. The verdict elaborates that the defendants’ names, dignity and status shall be restituted from all accusations.
Marten Muuk, Simon Sasior, dan Yakobus Asem were arrested on 23 April 2020 during a police raid in the village of Tigihmana, Aifat District, in the Maybrat Regency. The police found the villagers walking through the forest carrying machetes, bows and arrows, which indigenous Papuans commonly use as hunting weapons and gardening tools. The officers suspected them as members of the West Papua National Coalition (KNPB), a political movement organisation, promoting the right to self-determination through peaceful activities.
Before the trial, human rights defenders had reported attempts of obstruction during police custody. On 8 May 2020, the Head of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Sorong Selatan District Police, Inspector Vhalio Agafe, prevented the Kaki Abu Legal Aid Institute’s lawyers from providing legal aid to the suspects.