Accused Papuans ‘flew Morning Star flag’, police chief tells Jakarta court

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By M Yusuf Manurung in Jakarta

An East Jakarta Metropolitan District police chief has given prosecution evidence at the trial this week of six Papuan activists charged with treason.

Senior Commissioner Ardian Rishadi gave testimony in the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday (February 3) about when he was guarding a protest action in near the State Palace that was held on August 28, 2019.

At the time, Rishadi held the post of Central Jakarta Metropolitan Police deputy chief. He claimed to have seen the demonstrators singing songs or “shouting things” which went against the principles of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia or NKRI.

“Papua is not the red-and-white [flag], Papua is the Morning Star – I apologise, but that’s what I heard”, said Rishadi, singing the verses that he had heard being sung by the demonstrators at the rally while testifying in front of the panel of judges.

Rishadi also said that the demonstrators brought Morning Star flags to the protest and that the symbol of the Morning Star was drawn on several of the demonstrator’s faces. The symbol was also drawn on one of the roads.

Rishadi claimed he had heard the defendants singing and shouting these things. He also said the defendants made “problematic speeches”.

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“They [said they] wanted to separate from the unitary state, and declared that Papua was not part of Indonesia. Then a referendum was also discussed,” he said.

On the issue of the Morning Star symbols, one of the defendants’ lawyers asked Rishadi which regulation prohibited the Morning Star flag from being flown.

Rishadi said the lawyer was testing him and refused to answer the question.

“What’s clear is that the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia has only one flag, the red-and-white. There are no other flags,” said Rishadi, who at the time of the demonstration still held the rank of assistant superintendent of police.

The six defendants in the treason case are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere.

They have been indicted under alternative articles, namely Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1(1) of the KUHP on makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) and Article 110 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy.

Translated by James Balowski for Indoleft from Tempo. The original title of the article was “Saat Eks Wakapolres Jakarta Pusat Bersaksi di Sidang Makar Papua”.

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz