Image: LBH Kaki Abu
Press Release: Developments in the Trial of the Sorong 6
Defence witness testimony strengthens suspicions of wrongful arrest
The trial of six political prisoners from Sorong (The Sorong 6) has begun to hear witnesses for the defence. Testimony from two witnesses for the defence, presented by lawyers during the 5 April 2022 trial at the Makassar District Court and online, have strengthened suspicions that defendants MS and AY are the victims of wrongful arrest and were not involved in the murder of four Indonesian Army soldiers at the Kisor military post in South Aifat district, Maybrat regency on 2 September 2021.
The first witness for the defence, Ayub Iek, explained that he was with MS in Susumuk village at the time of the incident. MS was staying in that village because he was studying at the State Junior High School 2 in Aifat. The second witness for the defence, Welmina Waymbewer, testified that she was with YW at the time of the incident.
On the morning after the incident, Welmina and YW weren’t sure what to think when they heard news of the soldiers’ murder in Kisor Village, which is 10 kilometres from Susumuk village, separated by terrain not easily navigable by vehicle. To check whether it was true, the two of them went to see Ayub, who lived next door. The four of them, including MS, drank coffee while discussing the news that was going around. On hearing there would be sweepings by security forces, they fled to find a safe place, worried about falling victim to security force attacks, based on previous experience of sweepings in many places across Papua.
Suspicions that MS and YW are the victims of wrongful arrest was further strengthened by the testimonies of the two witnesses. Their names were just two out of dozens of names on the Wanted Persons List who were accused of involvement in the murder of four Indonesian Army soldiers in Kisor. The fact their names even appeared on the list at all is suspected to have arisen solely from the random names given by Maikel Yaam, one of the suspects, who was unable to bear continued police torture following his arrest on 2 September 2021. MS and YW are suspected to have been forced to confess to doing something they did not actually do.
The trial of the Sorong 6 was filed at Makassar District Court under case number 69/Pid.B/2022/PN Mks for defendants MS, YW and Agustinus Yaam, together with case number 70/Pid.B/2022/PN Mks for defendants Maikel Yaam, Amos Ky and RY. The panel of judges tasked with adjudicating the case comprised Franklin B. Tamara as the presiding judge and Muh. Yusuf Karim and Burhanuddin as the other judges. The trial for the former case will continue on Tuesday 19 April 2022, with the reading of the demands of the Prosecutors Eko Nuryanto and Elson Surjadi Butarbutar. The trial for the second case will be held on 12 April 2022, at which the testimonies of the witnesses for the defence will be heard.
Sorong, 6 April 2022
LBH Kaki Abu
Contact: +62 853-9973-6371 (Leo Ijie)