14 February 2012[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]
At the fourth hearing of the trial of Forkorus Yaboisembut and his colleagues which was held on 13 February, the panel of judges chaired by Jack Jacobus Octavianus SH announced that they could not accept the demurrer of the defendants which was submitted on 30 January, arguing that it was not in conformity with the law.
But the panel of judges failed to take into consideration the opening statement of the defendants which analysed the social, political and economic circumstances currently prevailing or the roots of the conflict in the Land of Papua at this time.
It was clear that the judges only take into consideration the thoughts and actions of the security forces such as the army, the police and the prosecutor and are only seeking those aspects of the law which restrict the right to freedom of expression of the majority of the Papuan people.
The defendants’ team of lawyers went on to say that the judges hearing the case are under pressure from forces outside the court of law as is clear from the fact that the head of the Prosecutor’s Office along with the military commander of the Cenderawasih military command, the chief of police in Papua and the prosecutor’s office were approached prior to the hearing on 8 February and prior to the hearing held yesterday.
Our impression is, they said, that the powers that be in Indonesia are very keenly following every aspect of the trial, as is evident from the extra tight security arrangements; the fact that access for the press to attend the trial is very much restricted while members of the public are not being allowed to enter the courtroom because it is packed with intelligence agents and members of various elements of the army and the police who are busy taking photographs and recording everything happening from very corner of the courtroom.
Forkorus, speaking on behalf of all the defendants, stood up and challenged the judges, saying that the judges will not be able to prevent him as the president of the NRFPB, the Federal Government of West Papua from reading out their rejection, a copy of which was then handed to the panel of judges
Responding to the statement of the defendants, Yan Christian Warinussy, a member of their legal team, said that the panel of judges should not at the forthcoming hearing try to restrict the defendants from expressing their views but should use those elements in the Criminal Code by simply noting the reports of the interrogations of the defendants (BAP).
The judges decision rejecting the defendants demurrer also called forth a strong statement from Yan Christian Warinussy who said that he did not agree with the viewpoint of the judges which only reflects the difference of opinion between the judges and the prosecutors and the legal team of the defendants, and he went on to say that it was wrong to say that their demurrer is not based on the law.
The team of lawyers also said that the trial should be accessible to the international community and members of the diplomat corps in Jakarta so that they are able to follow developments in the trial.
The panel of judges then announced that the next hearing would take place on Friday, 17 February, when witnesses for the prosecution would be heard, most of whom are members of the police force which was involved in the attcks against the defendants and the mass of people, following the closure of the Papuan Peoples Conference (KRP III) on19 October last year.