Jakarta – The panel of judges at the Central Jakarta District Court has postponed a hearing scheduled to hear a rebottle by the prosecution against a demurrer by the lawyers representing Surya Anta and five other Papua activists indicted on charges of treason and criminal conspiracy.
The postponement was made because two of the defendants, namely Ambrosius Mulait and Dano Tabuni, insisted on wearing a koteka (penis gourd) during the hearing. At the previous hearing last week, the judges appealed to the two defendants not to wear a koteka at the next hearing.
Before deciding to postpone the hearing, there were negotiations between the panel of judges, the public prosecutor and the team of lawyers representing the defendants.
"The hearing is postponed until Monday the 20th (January), to give an opportunity to the public prosecutor to read out his response [to the demurrer]", said presiding judge Agustinus Setya Wahyu Triwiranto during the hearing on Monday January 13.
The panel of judges asked that for the hearing scheduled for next week the defendants not wear koteka.
"It's not that we don't respect you. [But] next week, for clothing, like the preliminary hearing [please] were short trousers [instead], that's allowed. Wear headdresses, short trousers, that's allowed", said one of the judges.
Responding to the judge's statement, one of the defendants, Dano Tabuni, declared that he had long been wearing a koteka.
"I've long been wearing a koteka, I never wear any other clothing at all. I can't be forced to wear that. I feel that when we appear before these hearings, it is more dignified and respectful (to wear a koteka), and we respect the judges that have come to this hearing", he said.
During a hearing on Monday January 6 which was scheduled to hear the defendants' demurrer, the judges also expressed their objections to Tabuni and Mulait wearing koteka. Meanwhile the other four defendants wore white shirts. Despite this the hearing went ahead.
"The judges asked me to wear trousers. My chest can be left bare but don't wear a koteka again at the next hearing because it's the court's rules he said", said Tabuni following the hearing on January 6.
Earlier in reading out the demurrer, the defendant's legal team said that the prosecution's charges were imprecise, unclear and incomplete because they failed to explain the meaning of makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) which Anta and his colleagues are being charged with.
"There was not one sentence in the indictment which explains the meaning of makar or a benchmark of [what constitutes] an act of makar, so this has created confusion on the part of the defendants, their lawyers and the public over the prosecutor's charges", lawyer Tigor Hutapea said in reading out the demurrer.
According to Hutapea, the prosecutor should also include Article 87 of the Criminal Procedural Code (KUHAP) which states that the benchmark for an act of makar is when there is concrete intent prior to the act being committed. In the incitement however, the prosecutor failed to explain this.
"Thus we request that the panel of judges declare that the public prosecutor's charges be dropped for the sake of the law because it does not include the stipulations included in Article 87 of the KUHAP", he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Hakim Tunda Sidang karena Aktivis Papua Berkeras Pakai Koteka".]