APSN Banner

'I don't know about the regulation, I just follow the order': Truth and irony behind arrest in Papua

Tabloid JUBI - July 11, 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – In the trial of the alleged treason against the seven Morning Star bearers – all of whom Papuan – on Thursday, July 7, 2022, the Public Prosecutor presented one of the police officers who arrested the seven defendants on December 1, 2021, Endriko Ary Setiawan.

The seven defendants are Melvin Yobe (29), Melvin Fernando Waine (25), Devion Tekege (23), Yosep Ernesto Matuan (19), Maksimus Simon Petrus You (18), Lukas Kitok Uropmabin (21), and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere (21). A panel of judges led the trial at the Jayapura District Court, chaired by RF Tampubolon with member judges Iriyanto T and Thobias B.

On Thursday, a follow-up hearing on the alleged treason case took place at the Abepura Penitentiary in Jayapura City. Endriko Ary Setiawan said he did not know the regulation that forbids the Morning Star flag-raising. Endriko said he arrested Melvin Yobe and his friends upon taking orders from their superiors.

"I heard the Morning Star was banned. But I'm not aware if there is a regulation about it. I don't know about the regulation, I just follow the order," said Endriko responding to questions from the lawyer of the defendants.

Melvin Yobe and his friends were arrested last year when they were marching in front of the Papua Police Headquarters. At that time, Endriko was on watch, and heard a bunch of people screaming "Free Papua". "One person shouted, 'Papua', then the other answered 'freedom'," said Endriko.

Endriko stated that Melvin Yobe and his friends also brought a banner with the Morning Star picture on it. Endriko said he recognized it was the Morning Star because he had seen it on the news.

He then reported the matter to his superior, Chief Brig. Didik Hermawan. "'I saw the Morning Star, Sir,' I told him," Endriko recounted his report to Didik.

According to Endriko, Didik continued his report to First Insp. Barnabas F Simbiak who, at that time, was at the Papua Police Integrated Police Service Center (SPKT). Not long after, Endriko received an order to pursue and capture Melvin Yobe and his friends.

Endriko and the other four police officers arrested Melvin Yobe and his friends carried the Morning Star flag tied to a branch. They also carried banners that read "Self Determination for West Papua, Stop Militarism in West Papua" and "Indonesia Must Immediately Open Access for the Investigation Team of the UN Human Rights Commission to West Papua". Endriko admitted he did not know the meaning of the former as it was written in English. "It was written in English, I didn't know what it was," he said.

Endriko then took the seven defendants to the Papua Police SPKT. After that, staff from the Papua Police General Criminal Investigation Directorate came and took Melvin Yobe and his friends. "I chased them, brought them to SPKT, then they were picked up by the Criminal Investigation Unit," said Endriko.

Endriko thought that the Morning Star flag represented the aspirations of Melvin Yobe and his friends to separate themselves from Indonesia. He also said he often heard shouts of "Free Papua" during protests in Jayapura City. However, when the defendants' lawyer asked Endriko if he thought Papua would become independent immediately after the people raised the Morning Star, he replied it would not happen that way.

Other than presenting Endriko, the Public Prosecutor also presented Didik Hermawan, Endriko's superior. Didik confirmed that he received Endriko's report about people marching while carrying the Morning Star flag and a banner with the Morning Star picture.

Didik reported the matter to his superior, Barnabas F Simbiak, then received orders to chase the Morning Star raisers. "I asked Mr. Simbiak, 'Commander, what should I do?' He told me to chase them," said Didik.

Didik testified he knew the Morning Star from the colors and symbols. He said that the Morning Star was the flag of the Free Papua Organization (OPM). However, he said he only learned that the flag was banned. "At first, I didn't know it was banned because I'm new here, I just came to Papua," he said.

When asked what regulation explicitly prohibits the Morning Star, Didik said that he was only carrying out orders from his superiors and that he had just served in Papua. "At the time, I was confused. I was ordered to chase, so I chased. I am new to Papua," he said.

During the trial, the panel of judges gave Melvin Yobe and his friends the opportunity to question the two witnesses. Melvin Yobe asked whether their arrest was according to the procedure, and both police officers claimed that the arrest was according to the procedure.

Source: https://en.jubi.id/i-dont-know-about-the-regulation-i-just-follow-the-order-truth-and-irony-behind-arrest-in-papua