Hengky Yeimo, Jayapura – The Jayapura District Court has started to examine the pretrial motion filed by the legal advisory team of Victor Yeimo, the international spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the Papuan People's Petition leader, who is named a suspect for allegedly provoking the anti-racism protests in 2019.
The first pretrial hearing was held on Thursday, August 19, 2021. According to one of Yeimo's lawyers, Emanuel Gobay, the hearing was led by Judge Roberto Naibaho.
The first hearing, however, did not go as planned as the Papua Police chief did not attend the hearing. The judge only checked the completeness of the pretrial application and Yeimo's power of attorney and delayed the hearing to August 23.
Gobay regretted that the Papuan Police chief did not attend the hearing on Thursday. "Because [the police] was not present, the judge only checked the administrative completeness of Yeimo's attorney as the applicant. The absence of the Papua Police shows the fact [that they] do not obey the law," Gobay told Jubi in the Jayapura District Court on Thursday.
In Thursday's hearing, Gobay asked the judge to present Victor Yeimo at the next hearing. He hoped that the Papuan Police chief will attend the next hearing so that the pretrial would run smoothly.
Gobay said the motion filed was a motion to dismiss, which attempted to get the judge to dismiss the case. He said the motion was filed due to the police's alleged procedural error when arrested Victor Yeimo.
"At that time, they did not bring an arrest warrant. Besides, the police who arrested Yeimo was the Nemangkawi Task Force, they are neither an investigator nor an assistant investigator as stipulated in Article 1 Point 1 of the Criminal Procedure Code, they do not have the authority to arrest Yeimo," he said.
Gobay also said that the police had ignored Yeimo's rights as a suspect. "The police do not understand the Criminal Procedure Code that many of Yeimo's rights are not fulfilled. Yeimo's family members are not allowed to visit him even though he is sick. The police's failure in fulfilling Yeimo's basic rights is the second reason we filed a pretrial motion," he added.
According to Gobay, if the arrests made by the police were not in accordance with the procedures of the Criminal Procedure Code, the pretrial judge was obliged to dismiss the charge and release the suspect.
"We hope the judge examining pretrial cases to carry out these provisions. We firmly ask the judge to state that the Nemangkawi Task Force is not an investigator and therefore, has no authority to arrest Victor Yeimo. We demand the judge to determine that the arrest is unlawful," he said.
Another lawyer of Yeimo, Gustav Kawer, said that the pretrial hearing would indeed test the legality of Yeimo's arrest and detention. "This pretrial is to test the legality of the arrest and detention of Victor Yeimo," Kawer said.
Victor Yeimo is accompanied by 18 lawyers who became his legal advisors. They include lawyers from the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH), the Papuan Human Rights Advocates Association (PAHAM), the Democratic Alliance for Papua (AlDP), and the Cenderawasih Legal Aid Association (PBHC).