Lawyers condemn 'secretive' transfer of Papuan treason suspects to East Kalimantan

National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) members and Zamotok Lokon's family take a picture during his funeral. Lokon reportedly died while serving his sentence at Abepura Prison in Jayapura, Papua, on Monday.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

Human rights activists who are part of the Papuan Civil Coalition condemned the Papua Police for transferring treason suspects from Papua to East Kalimantan without their knowledge.

The activists, including the suspects' lawyers, claimed that the plan was done without any legal basis.

The coalition that represented seven suspects of treason said they were surprised to learn about the transfer on Friday. 

"The transfer process was secretly done, denying the prisoners' rights to legal assistance," the coalition said in a press statement over the weekend, adding the Law and Human Rights Ministry had yet to issue a letter to justify the move. "With that, the Papua Police chief and the police' investigator jointly abuse Article 85 of the KUHAP [Criminal Law Procedures Code]," the statement said.

The coalition, therefore, urged the police chief to reverse the transfer. The police should respect the suspects' rights to legal aid, the coalition added.

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The statement said that the prisoners were members of Free Papua Movement-affiliated groups, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). 

They were Buktar Tabuni, Agus Kossay, Fery Kombo, Alexander Gobay, Steven Itlai, Hengku Hilapok and Irwanus Uropmabin.

All of the suspects were charged under Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.

They were arrested following a series of protests against racism in Jayapura, the provincial capital in August and September.

Agus Kossay, the chairman of KNPB, was arrested on Sept. 16 for alleged treason.

The National Police spokesperson, Sr. Comr. Asep Adi Saputra, said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday that the transfer was done to avoid conflicts during their trial.