London – TAPOL condemns the political decision to cancel the early release of five political prisoners that were arrested in Jakarta for demonstrating in favour of self-determination of West Papua.
On 24 April 2020, the Central Court of Jakarta sentenced Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Ambrosius Mulait, Dano Tabuni, Charles Kossay, and Ariana Elopere to nine months' imprisonment; while Isay Wenda was sentenced to eight months. Isay Wenda was released on 29th April 2020 having served his full sentence.
The Ministry of Law and Human Rights implemented a new policy on prisoners as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in early April, making provisions for the conditional release or assimilation of those who have served at least two-thirds of their sentences. The remaining five political prisoners have to date served eight months and 12 days of their sentences.
Suryanta, Ambrosius Mulait, Dano Tabuni, and Charles Kossay are currently detained in Salemba Detention Center. Ariana Elopere is detained at Pondok Bambu Detention Center where 24 prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19.
Yesterday afternoon (11th May), the five remaining prisoners signed 'letters of execution of sentences' and in the evening, guarantors signed 'letters of assimilation'. The guarantor for Suryanta, Dano Tabuni and Ambrosius Mulait is the Priest Suarbudaya Rahadian. The guarantor for Charles Kossay is his sister Sati Kossay.
On 12th May, at midday, they signed letters confirming assimilation release, tested negative for Covid-19 and were given rice and instant noodles by the detention centre to take home.
After these preliminary steps which should have preceded their release, they waited a further 30 minutes and were then summoned by the Head of Registration of Salemba's Detention Center. He relayed to the prisoners that a political intervention from the central government had resulted in their planned release being cancelled. The Jakarta Five will now serve out their full sentences before being freed on 26 May 2020.