Law enforcement process against 2 Papuan students in Jakarta – Judge rules arrest in accordance with criminal procedure code

A judge at the South-Jakarta District Court (see photo, source: Jubi) ruled that the arrest and detention of the Papuan students Kevin Molama and Ruland Karafir were following criminal procedure regulations in Indonesia. Lawyers explained that the judge ignored multiple failures which police officers had committed during arrest and detention. The police officers reportedly entered the dormitory in civil clothing without showing an arrest and search warrant at the time of the arrest. According to the lawyers, the police issued the warrant letters one week after the arrest.

Kevin and Ruland also never received any copies regarding the investigation and law enforcement process against them. Moreover, the Police Chief Regulation No. 6/2019 on Criminal Investigation states that the police should summon suspects to investigate criminal offence involvement allegations. Suspects shall only be arrested if they are caught in the act of committing a crime. However, Kevin Molama and Ruland Karafir were instantly arrested and taken into custody without being summoned before the arrest.

According to Kevin and Ruland’ lawyer, the police investigators impeded legal support during police detention. The officers repeatedly rejected the lawyer’s request to get a copy of the police investigation report – another indication for the attempt to criminalise the students for their active engagement in the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP).

Both activists are members of the AMP, which frequently organises peaceful protests about political issues and the human rights situation in West Papua in cities across Indonesia. They were arrested on 3 March 2021 inside the student dormitory in Jakarta. The police investigate against both activists for involvement in alleged violence against people and property and theft using force, as regulated in Articles 170 and 365 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP). Human rights observers are concerned that the police intend to criminalise the students for their engagement in peaceful political and human rights activities. They argue that the criminal process against them should scare off other students from organising public protests about West Papua.