‘Jakarta Six’ trial to continue online after court rejects postponement

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Four of the accused so-called Jakarta Six Papuan pro-independence activists at an earlier hearing. Image: Tempo/Antara

By Lani Diana Wijaya in Jakarta

The trial of six Papuan activists will be held online or long-distance amid the enforcement of large scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Jakarta to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The activists were scheduled to read out their defence or pledoi (defence speech) in the next hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court this week.

The defence lawyer, Michael Himan, said that the defendants would attend the hearing from prison.

READ MORE: Six Papuans charged with treason

“The defendants are in jail. Those who will appear (in the courtroom) are the defence lawyer, the prosecutor and the judges”, said Himan when contacted.

The six defendants are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere. They were arrested by police for flying the Morning Star independence flag during a protest action demanding a referendum for Papua in front of the State Palace on August 28 last year.

The hearings into the alleged makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) case have been changed since the coronavirus pandemic has hit Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta. The team of lawyers defending the six had earlier asked the panel of judges to postpone the hearing.

The judges however refused the request and the mechanism for the hearing will be changed so that the defendants can remain in jail. According to Himan, this kind of mechanism has been applied since March 27.

The defendants were not only to just read out their pledoi at this week’s hearing, but were also to hear testimonies from three expert witnesses.

“Correct, the tapols’ (political prisoners’) hearing is scheduled to hear the pledoi and testimonies from experts at the same in accordance with the agreement at the hearing last Friday”, explained Himan.

Earlier, the prosecution indicted Surya Anta and his colleagues under alternative articles, namely Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1 of KUHP on makar and Article 110 of the KUHP in criminal conspiracy.

At an earlier hearing on Friday, April 3, the prosecution demanded that the six each be sentenced to 1 year and five months in jail.

Translated by James Balowski for Indoleft News. The original title of the article was “Sidang Aktivis Papua Digelar Secara Online”.

Jakarta Six
The Jakarta Six (from left): Issay Wenda, Charles Kossay, Arina Elopere, Surya Anta, Ambrosius Mulait and Dano Tabuni – pictured on December 19, 2019. Image: Tempo/Antara
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