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Jakarta Six trial to continue online after court rejects request for postponement

Tempo - April 13, 2020

Lani Diana Wijaya, Jakarta – The trail of six Papuan activists is to be held online or long-distance amid the enforcement of large scale social restrictions or PSBB in Jakarta to contain the corona virus. The activists are scheduled to read out their defense or pledoi (defense speech) during the next hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court which will be held later today.

The defense lawyer, Michael Himan, said that the defendants will attend the hearing from prison. "The defendants are in jail. Those who will appear (in the courtroom) are the defense lawyer, the prosecutor and the judges", said Himan when contacted on Sunday evening, April 12.

The six defendants are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere. There were arrested by police for flying the Morning Star independence flag during a protest action demanding a referendum for Papua in front of the State Palace on August 28 last year.

The mechanisms for hearings into the alleged makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) case have been changed since the corona pandemic has hit Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta. The team of lawyers defending the six had earlier asked the panel of judges to postpone the hearing.

The judges however refused the request and the mechanism for the hearing will be changed so that the defendants can remain in jail. According to Himan, this kind of mechanism has been applied since March 27.

The defendants will not just read out their pledoi at today's hearing, but will also hear testimonies from three expert witnesses.

"Correct, the tapols' (political prisoners') hearing is scheduled to hear the pledoi and testimonies from experts at the same in accordance with the agreement at the hearing last Friday", explained Himan.

Earlier, the prosecution indicted Surya Anta and his colleagues under two alternative articles, namely Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP on makar and Article 110 of the KUHP in criminal conspiracy.

At the hearing on Friday April 3, the prosecution demanded that the six each be sentenced to 1 year and five months in jail.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Sidang Aktivis Papua Digelar Secara Online".]

Source: https://metro.tempo.co/read/1330852/sidang-aktivis-papua-digelar-secara-online