LP3BH report on the trial of five students in Manokwari

Report from LP3BH, the Merauke-based legal aid institute, regarding the charges against five Papuan students who are currently on trial for subversion, makar:First of all, the charges  against the five students, Alex Duwiri, Yance Sekeyab, John Raweyai, Penehas Serongon and Jhon Wilson Wader are not that they unfurled the 14-star flag but that they took part in a long march by students from the State University of Papua – UNIPA – which started at the university campus in Amban, Manokwari on 14 December and went to the Information and Communications Service of the district of Manokwari in Sanggeng, Manokwari.

The five students were arrested  because their faces were identified in photographs taken by a member of the police force in Manokwari while they were taking part in a rally by about fifty students who were on a long march from Amban to show their support for the action to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Proclamation of the Independence of West Melanesia  on 14 December 2010.

Alex Duwiri was arrested somewhere near the the location of the action because his face had been identified in a photograph, while John Raweyai was arrested because he was the Master of Ceremonies of the action. John Wilson Wader was arrested while he was arranging the chairs that were being used during that ceremony, while Penehas Serongan and Yance Sekeyab were arrested outside the Women’s Institute which was about one kilometre from the rally as they were leaving the  event just before it had been broken up by the police. They had left slightly earlier because they wanted to get back to the university to attend a lecture there.

Then, what happened on 14 December 2010 was that Melkianus Bleskadit was taking part in an event to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Melanesia that took place  near the premises of the Information and Communications Service  of the district of Manokwari in Sanggeng Manokwari.The event was attended by about one hundred Papuan civilians. Yance who was also there  had been asked to say a prayer and give a vote of thanks at the end of the ceremony.

Bleskadit got onto the platform to deliver his speech but all of a sudden, the crowd started yelling Papua, which they did three times, and Bleskadit pulled out a 14-star flag  and held it up in his hands, whereupon the Manokwari police who were present got onto the platform and arrested him.

Thirdly, the trial of Melkianus Bleskadit and Dance Yenu was held on the following day, Tuesday, 13 June at which  witnesses for the prosecution were heard, as well as some expert witnesses who had come from Makassar. One of the witnesses was an Indonesian language expert, another was an expert in criminal code and the third was an expert in governance law.

Fourthly, the five students are indeed facing the charge of makar based on Article 106 as well as Article 160 on incitement.

Finally, we have not heard anything about pressure being put on the media  regarding their coverage of this case in the Manokwari district court..

From Yan Christian Warinussy

This message was sent in response to a query received by LP3BP from Josef Benedict of Amnesty International.

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