Melkianus Bleskadit sentenced to two years

JUBI, 19 August 2011

Melkianus Bleskadit was sentenced yesterday in Manokwari court to two
years for his role when the 14-star flag was raised.

A day earlier, the prosecutor asked for him to be sentenced to five
years. The prosecutor has announced that he will mount an appeal against
the verdict.

In a report made public by the human rights lawyer Yan Christian
Warimnussy it was stated that Melkianus was arrested along with Dance
Yenu for flying the 14-star flag to mark the anniversary of independence
for ‘West Melanesia ‘ on 14 December 2010.

In a comment on the verdict, Yan Christian Warinussy who was also a
member of the defence team, said that while the judges had taken a good
decision by limiting the punishment to the criminal element of the
incident, indicating that he was not willing to go as far as the
prosecutor, in the end his client had been given a much higher sentence.
According to past experience involving the case of Jacob Wanggai and his
colleagues, the judges had passed a shorter sentence which was
subsequently increased at the request of the prosecutor, resulting in a
far higher sentence.

He also said that the defendant had been held in a cell of the Manokwari
prosecutor at the Manokwari prison in breach of the law. He said that
both the judge as well as the chief prosecutor had obstructed his
client’s release to the moment when the high court judge could decide on
extending the period of the appeals detention which should have ended
on 19 August.

The three hours of freedom that his client should have enjoyed had been
denied him by the decisions of the prosecutor and the judge. Moreover,
there was a show of force when a company of police security officers as
well special intelligence personnel stood on guard round Bleskadit at
the office of the prosecutor. He said that the the lack of
professionalism by both of these institutions had resulted in his client
being deprived of his basic rights.

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