Aryo Wisanggeni, Jayapura – The Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans hopes the panel of judges would be objective and fair in examining the facts during the trial of a mass rampage on 29 August 2019. They said it is crucial acts to avoid perceptions that the Jayapura District Court is only an instrument of Indonesian colonialism against Papuans.
The statement revealed in the press release by the Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans as the legal councillor team of the mass rampage's defendants. In the hearing held on Wednesday (15/1/2020), the advocate team presented a West Papuan activist for independence Filep Karma as a witness to defend their four clients.
In the press release issued on Thursday (16/1/2010), the Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans declared that Karma's testimony in the hearing held on Wednesday (15/1/2020) would strengthen the suspicion that the peaceful anti-racism rally on 29 August 2019 turned into a rampage after a group of people provoke the crowds' mobilisation. They further asked the Jayapura District Court to explore the facts of the trial before convicting the defendants.
"The witness Filep Karma presented by the Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans in the trial against the defendants YL, EH, PK, and DK, revealed new facts [which] confirmed the statements of previous witnesses that the tragedy of arson and riots in Jayapura allegedly carried out by a mobilized group. When the riot occurred at around 3 p.m. Papua time, Filep Karma was on the location of the peace rally, at the intersection of Jayapura City and Dok II," wrote the Advocate Team in the press release.
In the trial chaired by Judge Maria M Sitanggang, Karma testified that he witnessed a group of people riding motorcycles who seemed to provoke other people by roaring the noise of their motorbikes. Those riders passed a group of students and masses who participated in the peaceful rally.
The Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans also said the witness Karma further stated that he also saw another group riding motorcycles. In this group, he recognized the Deputy Chair of Barisan Merah Putih (Red-and-White Front) Abisai Rolo whom Karma said greeted him.
The Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuan then underlined that Karma testified about the alleged scenario for steering the pacifist student demonstration into a rampage. Therefore, in his opinion, the students who suspected, in this case, are only the scapegoats. Karma also asserted that the rally held peacefully. The demonstrators were obedient, and even amongst the demonstrators were women.
As a Papuan native, Filep Karma also hopes that the Jayapura District Court will be fair to Papuan students and youth, so it can grow trustiness amongst Papuans that the court is not a colonialized instrument of Indonesia.
In their press release, the Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans also stated that during a series of hearing against their clients, it revealed that the docket of case prepared under intimidation and violence. In the hearing of case dossiers against the defendants DK and FE, the witnesses presented by the Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans stated investigators had intimidated and even tortured the defendants during the investigation.
In addition to being tortured during the investigation, some defendants also experienced violence by the authorities before being investigated. Regarding the torture, the Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans said their clients were abused in various ways including kicked on their ribs, spine, ears and knees, slapped on the cheeks, beaten while being handcuffed which caused injuries and pain.
"Based on these facts, the Advocate for Indigenous Papuans expressed their statement and called for the Panel of Judges to consider facts during the trial objectively to prevent assumption that the Jayapura District Court is a tool of Indonesian colonialism against indigenous Papuans."
Moreover, the Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans urged the Panel of Judges to fully and comprehensively consider the facts of the trial. "From the testimonies of several witnesses, there is a matching fact that the burning had a greater impact, but the police did not reveal this legal fact," stated the Advocate Team for Indigenous Papuans in the press release. (*)