JUBI, 31 March 2011—The formal indictment presented in court against Mecky Bleskadit and Dance Yenu who are facing the charge of unfurling the 14-star flag in Manokwari last December is at variance with the verbatim report submitted to the court by the police.
A member of the legal team of the defendants, Simon Richard Banundi, said that the charge sheet does not reflect the contents of the interrogation report which provides a chronological account of the police arrest and they intend to make a formal complaint about this when they submit their demurer (eksepsi) at the next hearing of the case on 5 April.
Banundi said that the two defendants were facing charges under Article 106 of the criminal code for makar and they are also accused of being separatists. The charge sheet also makes reference to Articles 107 and 110 for alleged provocation of a large number of people. After the indictment was read out, the hearing was adjourned and will continue on 5 April.
Yan Christian Warinussy, co-ordinator of the defence team, later told the press that when submitting their demurer, he would deal at length with the continuance in force of the makar article and the other articles used in the charge sheet. These articles are being used to silence Papuan activists whenever they give expression to their aspirations and can even result in their ending up behind bars.
The two defendants along with five others were involved in an incident when they unfurled the 14-star flag to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of West Melanesian independence on 14 December 2010 in Manokwari, West Papua.
In a statement issued on the following day, the co-ordinator the defence team, Yan Christian Warinussy said that even though articles 102, 106, 108 and 110 can be described as being ‘karet’ (highly flexible), they have been used since the days of President Sukarno and up to the present era of reformasi. to silence people holding views contradictory to those in power and are still being used by elements within the judiciary and including the police, against people calling for democracy in the Land of Papua as well as in Maluku and Aceh.
He said that the activities that had been undertaken by the two defendants last December had led to charges of makar whereas what they had done should not be seen as makar or separatism. Makar should be seen as an act involving armed violence or violence. Can the expression of people’s aspirations such as unfurling the 14-star flag or the Morning Star flag (kejora), or singing the song, Hai Tanahku Papua be branded as makar or separatist?
The government should stop using these articles and there should be a judicial review and an end should be put to using these articles to silence democratic actions in the Land of Papua.
A movement must be launched to call for a judicial review of the makar article must secure the support of all components of society as well as the local governments of Papua and West Papua.*