Buchtar Tabuni on trial for subversion

Cenderawasih Post
A 29-year old Papuan, Buchtar Tabuni, was due to go on trial today in
Jayapura, charged with subversion (makar). The charge arises from an
action he took, along with other West Papuans, in response to the launch
in London on 16 October last year of International Parliamentarians for
West Papua.

Buchtar Tabuni graduated in technology at a university in South Sulawesi.

The police announced that a heavy guard would be mounted round the
courthouse, including two infantry units, two police units and a unit of
Brimob troops. The security forces were being kept in readiness for all
eventualities should there be problems inside or outside the courthouse.
A senior police office said that they had received a request for a
demonstration to take place, although without the required 72 hour
notice. The officer also said that the names of those making the request
were not clear.

According to Cenderawasih Pos, his lawyer, Pieter Eli, SH announced that
a large number of lawyers are ready to defend him. Altogether no fewer
than 45 lawyers have expressed a desire to be part of his defence team.

Pieter Eli told the press than his client was fit and well and ready to
face the trial, although he had lost weight and was now thinner than before.

Today's hearing would be devoted to the presentation of the case against
the accused. Response from the defendant and his team will follow shortly.

The lawyer, Pieter Eli, said that Buchtar was ready to defend himself
against the charges. 'He says that he is somewhat confused because what
he did was nothing more than the expression of an opinion.' Responding
to allegations that his client was pursuing separatist aspirations, he
said that such accusations were not objective.

The lawyer said he had held discussions with the court regarding the
large number of lawyers who want to be part of his defence team, and
arrangements would be made to enable as many of the lawyers as possible
to attend the trial, in view of the size of the court.

It was also likely that a large number of Buchtar's friends and
supporters would want to attend the court hearings. Among those wanting
to attend were members of the Association of Central Highlands Students.
How many exactly would come was not known. The trial is open to the
public and has been announced to the public, so there's no telling how
many people might turn up in support of the defendant who is known as
someone who struggles for the aspirations of the Papuan people.'

Buchtar has been held 'in quarantine' for two weeks before the trial and
had only recently been allowed to mix with other prisoners.

Buchtar is quoted as saying that he was unclear the charges the police
had laid against him. He had done nothing more than express his opinion
in response to the launching of the International Parliamentarians for
West Papua in London. He said the police claim that they have evidence
of subversion against him whereas all he has was a letter giving
notification of his action. His lawyer said that Buchtar was ready to
defend himself against whatever charges were laid.

Translation and summary by Tapol