Joint Statement on the Verdict of the Makassar District Court on the Sorong Six

30 Jun 2022
Coalition for Maybrat Advocay

Coalition for Maybrat Advocacy has criticised the verdict of the Makassar District Court, which has found the Sorong Six guilty and sentenced them to prison for between 18 and 20 years. These verdicts add salt t​​o unhealed old wounds of Papuans, and have strengthened their sense that the Indonesian legal system cannot be trusted to deliver fair trials.

The court found the Six (Maikel Yaam, Amos Ky, Agustinus Yaam, MS, YW and RY) guilty of the premeditated killing of four Indonesian National Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI) soldiers at the Kisor military post, Maybrat District, on 2 September 2021. The judge, Franklin B. Tamara, sentenced Agustinus Yaam, YW and MS to 18 years in prison[1] while Maikel Yaam, Amos Ky and RY were sentenced to 20 years.[2]

The Coalition believes that this judgement ignored several violations of procedural law and other factors which were brought up at trial:

  1. The defendants were tortured during the time of their arrest and questioning in September 2021. They were hit with rifle butts, kicked, punched with a jade ring, electrocuted, a defendant’s ear was ‘stapled’, and they were forced to lick their own blood off the floor.
  2. The defendants were moved from Sorong, West Papua, to Makassar, South Sulawesi, by police and prosecutors without the knowledge of their legal team and families on 29 December 2021.
  3. The legal system, including police, prosecutors and judges, ign​​ored the fact that three of the six defendants were minors.
  4. Evidence brought by the prosecutors was weak and it could not be compellingly proven by the prosecution that the defendants were, in fact, involved in the actions that they were accused of carrying out. The charges from the prosecutors are suspected of being simply copied from the police investigative report.
  5. Several TNI members that survived the attack gave witness statements at trial that the Sorong Six were not the instigators of the attack.
  6. Three of the defendants were intimidated and manipulated by three investigators from South Sorong Police while in detention on 27 and 28 March 2022. They were forced to confess to the judge that they were involved in the attack. At trial on 30 March 2022, the three defendants  confessed involvement. As a result, the judge decided not to proceed with the case brought against investigators suspected of using torture during arrest and questioning.
  7. The court did not take into account point 6, which has had the effect of weakening the authority and dignity of the c​​ourt as an institution with responsibility and competence for the security of defendants during the trial process.

 

Indonesia is a State Party to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT). Under UN CAT (Articles 12 and 13), Indonesia is obliged to carry out independent investigations, by an institution other than that suspected of being the perpetrator, on the allegations of torture against the Sorong Six. Under UN CAT (Article 15), all evidence and testimonies suspected of being given under torture must not be considered as legal facts.

By ignoring these points, the court’s decision has worsened the already shaky image of Indonesia’s justice system in the eyes of Papuans with the trial becoming a stage for the creation of scapegoats, as opposed to finding justice.

We urge:

  • Makassar High Court to rescind the original judgement and to free the Sorong Six;
  • Indonesia’s Judicial Commission to investigate suspected violations that occurred by during arrest, investigation and at trial;
  • The Witness and Victim Protection Agency (Lembaga Perlindungan Saksi dan Korban, LPSK) to provide protection to the Sorong Six who are strongly suspected of being victims of police torture;
  • The Child Protection Agency of Indonesia (Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia, KPAI) to monitor and protect the rights of three of the Sorong Six defendants that are minors.
  • Indonesia to establish an independent enquiry into allegations that torture was used against the Sorong Six.
  • Civil society in Indonesia and the international community to monitor and demand that the injustices faced by the Sorong Six and other Papuan political prisoners are not repeated.

 

London, 30 June 2022

Contacts:
LBH Kaki Abu lbhkakiabu86@gmail.com
LBH Makassar Info@lbhmakassar.org  
TAPOL info@tapol.org


[1] Case number: 69/Pid.B/2022/PN Mks

[2] Case number 70/Pid.B/2022/PN Mks