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Critical D-day over Papua governor Lukas Enembe's legal nightmare?

Asia Pacific Report - June 19, 2023

Yamin Kogoya – Next month, on July 10, six months will have passed since Papua's Governor Lukas Enembe was "kidnapped" and flown to Jakarta for charges over alleged one million rupiah (NZ$100,000) graft.

Despite his deteriorating health, he has been detained in a Corruption Eradication Commission's cell (KPK) in the Indonesian capital – more than 3700 km from his hometown of Jayapura.

He is due to appear in court today, but that depends on his health status.

His drawn out ordeal has been full of drama and trauma. There has been indecisiveness around the case and the hearing date has been repeatedly rescheduled – from 20 more days, to 40 more days, and now into months.

There are no clear signs of any definite closure. For his family, friends, colleagues, and the Papuan people, this has been a nightmare.

While being held captive and tortured in the KPK's prison cell in Jakarta, his kidney, stroke, and heart specialists in Singapore are concerned about what has been happening to their long-term patient.

In December 2020, Governor Enembe had a major stroke – for the fourth time. He lost his voice completely in Singapore, but his medical specialists at Mount Elizabeth hospital brought his voice back.

Since then, during a covid lockdown in 2021, he had another stroke, and was flown to Singapore.

Between 2020 and 2022 he had been receiving intensive medical assistance from Singapore. He was about to go to Singapore last September as part of his routine check-ups, only to discover that his bank account had been frozen, and his overseas travel blocked.

The trip in September was supposed to fix his already failing kidneys. He was unable to walk properly, his foot kept swelling and he began to lose his voice again.

He was on a strict diet as advised by his doctors in Singapore.

After Jakarta's special security forces and KPK "abducted" him during a happy lunch hour at a local restaurant in his homeland on January 10, all his routine medical treatment in Singapore came to an abrupt halt.

Governor's health

Following the abduction, medical specialists in Singapore expressed their concern in writing and requested that the medical report of his latest blood test from KPK Jakarta be released so that they could follow up on his critical health issues.

On 24 February 2023, the medical centre in Singapore wrote a medical request letter and addressed it directly to KPK in Jakarta.

The above mentioned (Lukas Enembe) is a patient at Royal Healthcare Heart, Stroke and Cancer Centre under Patrick Ang (Senior Consultant Cardiologist) and Dr Francisco Salcido-Ochoa (Senior Renal Physician). He was last reviewed by us in October 2022. As his primary physicians, we are gravely concerned about his current medical status.

We are aware that his renal condition has deteriorated over the last few months with suboptimal blood pressure control. We are humbly requesting a medical report on his renal parameters via biochemistry, blood pressure readings and a list of his current medications.

To date, however, KPK has prevented his trusted long-time Singaporean medical specialists and family members from obtaining any reports regarding his health.

The governor's family in Jakarta have repeatedly requested for an independent medical team to oversee his health, but KPK has refused.

Only KPK's approved medical team is allowed to monitor his health and all the results of his blood tests, types of medications he has been offered and overall report on his treatment since the kidnapping has not been released to the governor, his family, medical specialists in Singapore or the Papuan people.

Elius Enembe, spokesperson of the governor's family said they want the panel of judges at the Tipikor Jakarta court to appoint a team of independent doctors outside the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) to check the governor's health condition.

According to the family, it was important to ensure Enembe's current health conditions are verified independently before the court hearing takes place. This is because "we consider IDI to no longer be independent", Lukas Enembe's brother, Elius Enembe, told reporters in Jakarta, reports Medcom.

"After all," he continued, "Indonesia's Human Rights Commissioner had issued a recommendation that Lukas continue his treatment, rights that had been obtained before being arrested by the KPK, a service to be received from the Mount Elisabeth Singapore hospital doctor's team."

An independent opinion of the governor's actual health condition is critical before the hearing so that judges have a clear, objective picture on his health condition.

"If there is an independent doctor, then there is another opinion that could be considered by the judge to ensure the governor's health condition. This is what we are hoping for, so that the panel of judges can objectively make its decisions," said Elius Enembe.

The court hearing

One of his five times failed case hearing attempts was supposed to be held in Central Jakarta's District Court at 10am last Monday, 12 June 2023. This highly publicised and anticipated hearing did not take place.

Two conflicting narratives emerged about why this was adjourned.

KPK's view

According to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Lukas Enembe's actions hampered the legal process. In fact, the head of the KPK news section, Ali Fikri, stated that his first session was met with a very uncooperative attitude.

"We regret the attitude of the defendant, which we consider uncooperative," Fikri said in his statement quoted by Holopis.com on June 12.

"The confession of Lukas Enembe, who was ill and could not attend the trial, was considered strange and far-fetched by the KPK. The defendant can answer the judge's questions and explain his situation, even though he later claims that he is ill," he said.

Fikri also threatened Lukas Enembe by saying that the Governor would face consequences during the prosecution process.

"The KPK Prosecutor Team and the panel of judges will assess his attitude separately when conducting prosecutions or drafting charges," he said. '

"Of course, there are aggravating matters or mitigating issues, which will be a consideration when a defendant is uncooperative in the trial process," he continued.

"When the trial process takes place, the KPK will always include a doctor's health report to anticipate Luke's uncooperative attitude in the retrial," Fikri said. "The KPK Prosecutor Team will convey to the court in detail the defendant's health condition during the next [hearing]," he said.

The first hearing in Lukas Enembe's gratuity case has been postponed until this week. The reason for this is that Lukas Enembe claimed he was sick and could not participate in the virtual trial.

The Governor's legal team protest

The Governor's legal team protested against the KPK, saying that it was a "deliberate attempt" by the agency to manipulate public opinion based on biased and inaccurate information about what actually happened on Monday, June 12.

The following is the account provided by the Governor's legal team after KPK was accused of spreading media news that the hearing had failed due to an "uncooperative governor" in terms of the legal proceedings on that day.

Monday, 12 June 2023, around 9.30am local Jakarta time, a guard entered the KPK's detention room where Papua's Governor, Lukas Enembe, was detained. The guard was requested to accompany the detained Governor to the hearing room.

Upon arriving at the door, the Governor asked the guard where the hearing was being held. The guard explained that he was taking him to the online courtroom in the red and white KPK building (red and white symbolise the colours of Indonesia's flag or Bendera Merah Putih in Bahasa Indonesian).

The Governor said he would not attend the hearing via tele link. The Governor wanted to attend the hearing in person, not virtually via a screen.

Afterwards, the Governor went to his detainee room and wrote a letter of protest, explaining his aversion to viewing the proceedings on television. After the letter was written, the guard accompanied the Governor to the detention room to inform them of his desire to appear in court physically.

The court hearing was scheduled for 10am that day. Guards from KPK's detention arrived at 9.30am to escort the Governor, allowing him only 30 minutes to prepare.

The Governor's legal team was waiting outside the KPK's building. As 10am approached, the legal team (Petrus, along with Cosmas Refra and Antonius Eko Nugroho), went to KPK's receptionist and asked why they were not called to enter the hearing room.

The receptionist replied that they were still in the process of coordination since Enembe was not yet awake. Moments later, officers took the legal team into the detention visiting room, where there were masses of visitors because it was visiting time.

At one corner of the room, Governor Enembe was surrounded by prison guards working on a laptop. The governor's lawyers were then told that the hearing would begin when the audio system was fixed.

When the Governor and the legal team finally met, the legal team asked Enembe why he was wearing shorts and a T-shirt to court. Governor Lukas said he was annoyed at the guard for suddenly arriving to escort him without warning, which is why he had not dressed neatly. He could not wear sandals because his feet were swollen.

Governor Enembe refused to have an online hearing because he had not been informed in advance of Monday's hearing and the summons was only signed once the hearing was opened by the judges.

If the KPK prosecutor had notified him at least the day before the hearing, Governor Enembe would have cooperated. But he was only notified 30 minutes earlier.

As the judge covered the trial, the legal team led by Petrus, informed Governor Enembe to appear before the court on 19 June 2023. The governor nodded in agreement.

"In light of this explanation, we must emphasise that Mr Lukas does not intend to be uncooperative in facing the alleged case," said the legal team.

According to Petrus, "the detained Governor Lukas Enembe did not immediately leave the detention room because he was still writing a statement that the prosecutor had not informed him in advance of the trial scheduled for Monday, 12 June 2023".

The Governor's next court hearing has been rescheduled for today and whether he can physically attend will depend on his health.

However, the main issue is will he be found guilty of the charges? There is a lot at stake.

[Yamin Kogoya is a West Papuan academic/activist who has a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from the Australian National University and who contributes to Asia Pacific Report. From the Lani tribe in the Papuan Highlands, he is currently living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.]

Source: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2023/06/19/critical-d-day-over-papua-governor-lukas-enembes-legal-nightmare