Bali legal aid director cited for ‘treason’ after assisting Papuan protesters

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Ni Kadek Vany Primaliraning
Ni Kadek Vany Primaliraning speaking at a protest action. Image: Tribune/File

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

The director of the Bali Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), Ni Kadek Vany Primaliraning, has been reported to the Bali regional police for treason for allegedly facilitating a mass action by Papuan activists, reports CNN Indonesia.

The report was confirmed by Vany when contacted by CNN Indonesia.

Vany sent CNN Indonesia a photograph of the official receipt of the public complaint, which was registered with the Bali regional police and dated Monday, August 2, via a message application.

Vany has yet to explain in detail about the report but she suspects that it was related to legal assistance that they gave to Papuan activists conducting a protest.

“Assistance for Papua comrades holding a protest action,” said Vany via an SMS message.

The receipt of the reports shows that it is a public complaint registered as Bali regional police report Number Dumas/539/VIII/2021/SPKT.

In the document it states that the person submitting the report is Rico Ardika Panjaitan SH, who is an assistant advocate residing in Datuk Bandar Timor sub-district in North Sumatra. The person being reported is Ni Kadek Vany Primaliraning as the director of LBH Bali.

Alleged makar
The brief description of the report concerns an act of alleged makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) and conspiracy to commit makar. The report cites the victim in the case as being the “Constitution of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia” (NKRI).

Vany then explained about the action by activists from the Bali Papua Social Concern Front (FORMALIPA) Bali which resulted in her being reported to the Balinese police.

“The comrades asked for legal aid (assistance) related to a freedom of expression action. On the day of the action the comrades coordinated with us to leave their motorcycles at the LBH for safekeeping then marched to the Bali regional police to hold the action,” she said.

During the march, however, there was an ormas (mass or social organisation) which blocked and assaulted the protesters. As a result they sought refuge on the grounds of the LBH Bali.

“Those assisting the action (LBH Bali) coordinated with police to protect the protesters, bearing in mind that the comrades had already sent a notification [of the action to police]. And, the action was an action to convey an opinion in public, even though the police still asked them to disband,” said Vany.

“After a protracted debate, in the end the comrades were allowed to convey their views in front of the LBH Bali,” she said.

In response to the report against Vany, which is suspected to be related to her providing legal assistance, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) chairperson Asfinawati that it would be inappropriate for police to pursue the report.

‘This is fabricated’
“The LBH Bali was acting in accordance with its capacity. This is fabricated, if it’s followed up then the police will be endangering all lawyers or people at LBH,” she said when contacted.

Asfinawati – known as Asfin by her friends – emphasised that the LBH’s activities are in accordance with legislation as regulated under Law Number 16/2011 on Legal Aid.

When contacted separately, Rico Ardika Panjaitan, who submitted the police report, claimed that he had reported Vany over a mass action by Papuan activists on May 31.

At the time, he said, the Papuan demonstrators gave speeches in front of the LBH offices, one of which contained the statement, “That the red-and-white [national flag] is not Papua, Papua is the Morning Star [flag]”.

It was this that made him report the LBH Bali for allegedly violating Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP).

“According to my understanding, in legal terms, under Article 106 of the KUHP it is written, right, or it means one thing, meaning that when a part of the Indonesian territory wants to be given independence this is included in the category of makar.

“This means that in the case of the AMP [Papua Student Alliance] it fulfilled [the stipulations of] that article, right?” he said when contacted.

LBH Bali accused
In the case of LBH Bali, meanwhile, he is accusing them of facilitating the Papuan mass action and therefore violating Article 110 of the KUHP.

“They (LBH) can be indicted under Article 110”, said Panjaitan, who claimed to have made the report in an individual capacity although he received support from the group Patriot Garuda Nusantara of which he is a member.

CNN Indonesia has attempted to confirm the report with Balinese regional police public relations division chief Senior Commissioner Syamsi but at the time of publication had not received a response.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “Direktur LBH Bali Dipolisikan Dugaan Makar Bantu Massa Papua”.

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