Jakarta – Scores of students from Papua and West Papua plan to surrender themselves to the Metro Jaya regional police following the arrest of two activists who took part in a rally at the State Palace in Central Jakarta which ended in the raising of the Morning Star flag.
They are currently gathering on the sidewalk in front of the Metro Jaya police headquarters.
The two arrested activists are Charles Kossay and Dano [Anes] Tabuni who acted as field coordinators (korlap) during the August 28 rally.
Metro Jaya public relations division head Senior Commissioner Argo Yuwono said that the two stand accused of committing crimes against the state and attempted treason (makar).
Papuan student public relations head Ambosius said they are surrendering themselves as an act of solidarity on the part of Papuan and West Papuan student activists over the arrest of their two colleagues. This is because the rally at the State Palace was conducted jointly.
"Overnight we communicated with all of the groups from Papua and West Papua calling on them to gather [at the Metro Jaya headquarters], we will go there and surrender ourselves, we also took part in the rally so please arrest us [too]", said Ambosius in front of the Metro Jaya headquarters.
Ambosius – who is known by his friends as Ambo – said that they are calling on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Indonesian police chief (Kapolri) General Tito Karnavian prepare jail cells for them to occupy following the action in which they raised the Morning Star flag.
"We are asking President Jokowi and Pak [Mr] Kapolri to immediately put us in jail, the Papuan and West Papuan students are ready to fill them" he said.
Ambosius added that they will not return home until their two colleagues are released. "We won't return home without our friends, we'll get them home no matter what it takes", he said.
According to CNN Indonesia's observations, there are already around 50 Papuan students gathered on the sidewalk in front of the Metro Jaya headquarters in Gatot Subroto.
Those who arrived from the Papuan student dormitories in East and South Jakarta can be seen sitting on the sidewalk and chatting with each other.
Ambosius said that they are still awaiting the arrival of legal aid advocates from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).
After they arrive, a Papua student representative plans to go with the legal aid advocates to meet with officials inside the Metro Jaya headquarters.
Chronology of the arrests
Ambosius explained that his two colleagues were arrested by police on Friday August 30 at around 7.30 pm at the Lanijaya student dormitory in Depok as they were preparing an evening meal. At the time there were around 19 students at the dormitory and as a result the evening meal they had prepared was left in disarray.
"The encircled the dormitory then forced their way in and several of our friends who were asleep in bedrooms were woken up and ordered to come into the front room, all the men were ordered to take off their shirts, there were four women, the women were not ordered to remove their shirts", he said.
He said that the arrests were carried out by plain-clothed officers. Ambosius said that upon seeing the food that they were eating one of the officers "played around" with it, even mixing water into the food. Not wanting to take the risk of becoming ill, the food was later thrown away.
Ambosius added that the police interrogated the 19 people in the dormitory and finally Tabuni and Kossay were taken away by police to the Metro Jaya headquarters.
"Then two people were arrested and taken to the Metro Jaya regional police, the ones who were the korlap", he said. (gst/chs)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Korlap Ditangkap, Mahasiswa Papua Ikut Serahkan Diri ke Polda".]