Statement from Advocacy Team for Citizen Freedom - Tools of State Repression: Abolish treason articles in the Indonesian Criminal Code

22 Mar 2017

Tools of State Repression: Abolish treason articles in the Indonesian Criminal Code

Advocacy Team for Citizen Freedom

Jakarta, 22 March 2016 — Political expression by those critical of the Government of Indonesia for not ensuring it’s citizens’ rights if often faced with repressive acts, especially in Papua where those who challenge the state are commonly labelled as rebels, separatists, and guilty of treason [makar].

To challenge the State’s usage of the criminal code as an instrument of repression, we, the Advocacy Team for Citizen Freedom, have submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court for a Judicial Review of Makar articles in the Criminal Code against the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. This submission was formally registered on 21 March 2017 (receipt number 1654 / PAN.MK / III / 2017).

Hans Wilson Wader, for example, was accused of raising the Morning Star flag on 14 December 2010 when a group of approximately 50 Papuan students in Manokwari gathered to demonstrate 22nd anniversary of the West Melanesian Proclamation of Independence. He was arrested on suspicion of treason for promoting separation from Indonesia, although the court acquitted his charges. Similarly, Meki Elosak, a farmer born in Siba, Papua, was arrested by police in November 2010 for alleged acts of treason: raising the Morning Star flag along with other colleagues in the village of Yelengga before they left for the burial of their relatives. Elosak was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Police and military personnel. often accuse Papuans of involvement with armed groups

The existence of the Makar Articles in the Criminal Code has become a tool to repress freedom of expression and the democratic movement for Papua, many examples of which have been experienced first-hand by the legal team petitioning for this judicial review. Without the power to separate the territory of the State from the Republic of Indonesia, actions of Papuan civil society will continue to be labelled as separatist: a violation of freedom of expression also guaranteed by the 1945 constitution. The current interpretation and application of makar articles within the Indonesian Criminal Code severely undermines freedom of expression and peaceful calls for an end to human rights violations in the land of Papua. Similarly, where makar articles are used to repress free expression of Papuan Human Rights Defenders, and calls from civil society for their deprived rights to independence, must be seen in contrast to rights clearly guaranteed by the 1945 Constitution.

The scope of articles petitioned for constitutional review in this submission includes: Article 104: (intent to deprive the President or Vice President of his life or his liberty or to render him unfit to govern); Article 106 (secession); Article 107 (revolution); Article 108 (rebellion); and Article 110 (conspiracy to commit crimes under article 104, article 106, article 107, and article 108).

The Petitioners on this application include:

Hans Wilson Wader, a student criminalized under makar articles;

Meki Elosak, a farmer who was sentenced to 8 years for makar;

Jemi Yermias Kapanai (aka Jimi Sembay), an accused member of an armed group;

Pastor John Jonga, Pr., is a Pastor serving the people of Papua;

Church of the Gospel Tabernacle (KINGMI) in the Land of Papua, concerned with improving the human rights conditions in Papua;

One Justice Foundation (Yayasan Satu Keadilan), an organisation advocating for people facing injustice.


At it’s core, this petition is calling for repeal of the makar articles cited above in order to guarantee the fulfillment and protection of citizens' constitutional rights to free expression including political opinions and demanding the rights of those who have been violated. By repealing the makar articles, all of the State’s citizens, but especially Papuans, will not face arbitrary accusations or criminalisation (acts of makar), and the principal of legal certainty will be realized.


Advocacy Team for Citizen Freedom


Latifah Anum Siregar    +62 (0) 852 4406 0000

Simon Pattiradjawane  +62 (0) 813 4467 1831

Arif Maulana                  +62 (0) 817 256 167