Benny Mawel, Jayapura – Four students detained by police in antiracism protests that turned violent in Wamena and Timika, Papua, in September have been released because they are under the age of 18.
The students' lawyer, Gustav Kawer, said that they had been detained for over a month. "Two in Timika and two in Wamena – all were released on a diversion program because they are underage," Gustav told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
A 2012 law on the child criminal justice system stipulates that children in the justice system must be put into diversion programs.
Gustav said one of his clients in Wamena was arrested on Sept. 30 after being treated for bullet wounds suffered during the protest.
He said his clients were not processed according to the correct legal procedures, that they had been kept in a storage room rather than a cell and that the diversion process had been unnecessarily prolonged.
Papua People's Assembly (MRP) chairman Timotius Murib said that underage detainees should be processed quickly according to prevailing laws.
"These children are the future so they should be handled correctly so that they are free from collective trauma," he said. If not, "they might not be proud of being part of this nation," Timotius added. (kmt)