Buchtar Tabuni Trial Continues with request that B

Buchtar Tabuni Trial Continues with request that British MP be called as a witness

Translation of the following item are slightly abridged. TAPOL Report from GKI, the Evangelical Church of Papua

The tenth hearing in the subversion trial of Buchtar Tabuni took place in Jayapura on 13 May, for ths purpose of hearing testimony from mitigating witnesses called by the defence lawyers.

The witness, Thaha Al Hamid, secretary general of the Presidium Dewan Papua, said that the organisation launched in London (on 16 October last

year) had met with enthusiastic response from Papuans, not only in Papua but also elsewhere, in Menado, Java and Bali, but no one was being put on trial in these places.

He explained that the IPWP (International Parliamentarians for West

Papua) was a network of parliamentarians from various countries who are concerned about human rights and social and economic problems in Papua.

The witness said that it was true that he had seen the defendant holding a microphone at the event but did not know whether he had made a speech because he himself was busy trying to calm down the large crowd, so as to ensure that the rally proceeded peacefully.

He said that the defendant was not himself a member of the IPWP because he is not a parliamentarian. Thaha also said that many speeches were made, prayers were said and he himself had given a speech and signed a banner during the rally.

He also told the court that demonstrations like this would continue to take place until the government takes action to resolve the the root of the problems in Papua. What was happening up to now were subversion trials and corruption trials, while matters that were of concern to the people took second place. It was ironic that the slightest mention of Merdeka resulted in people being described as being 'on the other side'. If this situation continues, it could result in the arrest and detention of every single Papuan.

The defendant's legal team asked the court to summon the British MP, Andrew Smith as a witness but in reply, the chairman of the panel of judges said that would not be possible.

The defendant asked the prosecutor why the charge sheet made no mention of the name of Thaha Al Hamid who was called as a witness. The prosecutor did not answer the question but the judge said that this should be taken as a lesson for the police in the operation of their duties.

Among those present in the public gallery were Markus Haluk, chair of the Alliance of Students from the Central Highlands, Leo Imbiri, secretary general of DAP, and two representatives of the Papuan Human Right Commission, Komnas HAM.

The defendant also briefly attended the trial of Sebby Sambom which held its second hearing on the same day.