Jayapura, Jubi – The Jayapura High Court has found Viktor Yeimo guilty of treason, according to their recent appeal decision. Yeimo, the International Spokesperson of the West Papua National Committee, is sentenced to one year of imprisonment.
The verdict dated July 5, 2023 was delivered during a public session held by the Panel of Judges headed by Paluko Hutagalung, with Adrianus Agung Putrantono and Sigit Pangudianto serving as member judges.
The charges against Yeimo stem from his involvement in the Papuan anti-racism protest lambasting racial slurs targeting Papuan students at the Kamasan III Student Dormitory in Surabaya on August 16, 2019. Yeimo was accused of leading the demonstrations that occurred in Jayapura City on August 19 and 29, 2019.
The Jayapura High Court issued a higher criminal sentence compared to the previous verdict on May 5, 2023. In the previous ruling, the Jayapura District Court found Viktor Yeimo guilty of violating Article 155 paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code, which pertains to the public display of writings or images containing expressions of hostility, hatred, or contempt towards the Indonesian Government. Yeimo was sentenced to 8 months' imprisonment.
The verdict raised controversy because the charge of Article 155 paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code was not initially brought against Viktor Yeimo. Moreover, the article used to sentence him had already been invalidated by the Constitutional Court.
On May 12, 2023, the public prosecutor and the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Human Rights for Papua, representing Yeimo as his legal counsel, both appealed the decision of the Jayapura District Court.
In the appeal decision, the Jayapura High Court overturned the previous decision, found Viktor Yeimo guilty of treason, and upheld the initial one-year prison sentence requested by the public prosecutor.
The Panel of Judges at the Jayapura High Court stated that the time Yeimo had already spent in arrest and detention would be fully deducted from the imposed sentence and ordered him to remain in detention. (*)