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Papuan activists sentenced to 8-9 months jail for flying Morning Star flag

Kompas.com - April 24, 2020

Jakarta – Papuan activist and treason defendant Suryanta Ginting and his five colleagues have been sentenced to between eight and nine months jail by judges at the Central Jakarta District Court.

They were declared guilty of violating Article 106 of the Criminal Code in conjunction with Article 55 of the KUHP on makar (treason, subversion, rebellion).

"The court rules that first the defendant Ms Ariana Eleopere alias Wenebita Gwijangge is guilty of committing a crime under the first indictment. Second, a sentence is imposed based on the first indictment of nine months", said judge Agustinus in reading out the verdict against Eleopere which was broadcast live on the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua Instagram account @fri_westpapua on Friday April 24, as quoted by the Antara state news agency.

A sentence of nine months jail was handed down against five of the six defendants, namely Suryanta Ginting, Ariana Eleopere, Dano Anes Tabuni, Charles Kossay and Ambrosius Mulait who were charged under the same articles on makar.

Meanwhile the defendant Issay Wenda was given a lighter sentence of eight months jail. Wenda was also found guilty of committing makar.

When contacted, one of the lawyers for the six Papuan activists, Michael Hilman, said that the defendants are currently coordinating on what steps will be taken next.

"Later we will coordinate with our tapol [political prisoner] friends to discuss whether or not to pursue this, but there are two tapols who are consistent that whatever the sentence we will still proceed or appeal it", said Hilman when contacted by journalists.

The trial of the six Papuan activists has been held over the last five months. The case began with the arrest of Suryanta and his colleagues for flying the Morning Star independence flag during a protest action in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on August 28, 2019.

The six were arrested separately on August 30 and 31 on charges of makar over the August 28 rally.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kibarkan Bendera Bintang Kejora di Depan Istana, 6 Aktivis Papua Divonis 8 dan 9 Bulan Penjara".]

Source: https://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2020/04/24/20220061/kibarkan-bendera-bintang-kejora-di-depan-istana-6-aktivis-papua-divonis-