Forkorus Yaboisembut rejects charge of treason

Bintang Papua, 16 December 2011
Abridged in translation
After spending 56 days in  police custody,  Forkorus Yaboisembut along with four others, has finally been charged with treason. He is now being held in Abepura Prison.

The charge was strongly rejected by Gustav Kawar as one of their legal team. They say that police interrogators insisted that the five men be  charged even though  the police would need first to consider the incident in which they were involved right from the start.

Before the Papuan Peace Congress was held, the committee sent a letter of notification  to the police  requesting  permission for the congress to be held, and had also sent a letter to the minister for legal, political and security affairs  requesting him to be the keynote speaker at the congress, which the minister had agreed to, and had instructed the director-general of the ministry to open the congress.

‘How can this be said to be treason when there have been letters received from the police and the minister?,’ said the lawyers.

Even though the police interrogators have said that the documents for the trial are now complete, the lawyers will make a formal complaint, stressing that  what their clients had done was to express their opinions which is guaranteed  under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights .

The lawyer said that their client(s)  had not yet signed any documents relating to the trial.Yet even so, the police interrogators consider that the documents are complete and have been submitted to the prosecutor’s  office..

He said that  usually when someone is charged with treason, there should have been an attack, but the Congress proceeded  peacefully  and came to a conclusion according to the aspirations of the Papuan people  who want to exercise their right to self-determination and to set up a state of West Papua.

When Forkorus and  his colleagues arrived at the prosecutor’s office, they were sent straight for interrogation by the prosecutor, Maskel Rombolangi, and were accompanied by their lawyer, Anum Siregar, and there was a request that the men should be held in custody  at the detention centre of the police.  This was firmly rejected by Selpius Bobii, accompanied by Domingus Serabut. Things then became quite tense . The five accused  were taken to the prosecutor’s office in Jayapura  for proceedings to continue.

‘We dont yet know whether they will be sent back to police custody,’ said the lawyers.

Gustav Kawar said that the five accused are: Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Domingus Sarabut and Agus Krat who have been charged under Article 106  with treason and for incitement under article 160 of the Penal Code. After the Congress, the five men and Gat Wenda  were arrested by the police after they had been involved in proclaiming the State of West Papua on 19 October in Abepura. At the sime time, three members of PETAPA, were killed. The first charge could result in sentences of twenty year or life , while the second charge can lead  to a six-year sentence.

One of the lawyers of Forkorus, Anum Siregar said that since 7 December, they had refused to be interrogated on the basis of an international covenant and rejected the charge of treason . Anum Siregar said that her clients had refused to be held at the police detention centres because they did not feel safe there and moreover, their families had not been permitted to visit them. The detained men said that they would prefer to be held at Abepura Prison because their families would be able to visit them and they felt safer there.

When the men met a reporter from Bintang Papua,  they said had been ill and had be treated violently , They also rejected medication provided by the police  and wanted to be treated by doctors at the general hospital. Finally, the men were handed over to the authorities at Abepura Prison  and they have been given medical check-ups.

One thought on “Forkorus Yaboisembut rejects charge of treason

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