The trial of Buchtar Tabuni continued on Wednesday

The trial of Buchtar Tabuni continued on Wednesday 25 March.

Cenderawasih Pos
Abridged in translation by TAPOL

Five witnesses were due to appear but only three turned up, all members of the police force.

There was a heavy police presence outside the courthouse, including anti-riot units. A large crowd of people supporting the defendant were also present, including some who were able to attend the hearing, all of whom were screened before entering the court.

The defendant was accompanied by a team of eleven defence lawyers.

The witnesses said they were present at the time of the rally which was addressed by the defendant, and gave testimony about what he is alleged to have said.

A video of the event was also shown during the hearing. The hearing lasted 30 minutes. The next hearing will take place on 1 of April.

Speaking to journalists after the hearing, Iwan Niode, one of the defence lawyers said the witnesses were all present on the occasion when the defendant spoke. Their testimony was about what the defendant had said, using his right to freedom of expression which is protected under Law 8, 1999.

One of the lawyers explained that when a rally is planned, three days notice is required and the police should then issue acknowledgement of the notification., and if they fail to do so, they are in breach of the law.

'It is very strange that there was no response from the police, ' the lawyer said. Instead, reports circulated that the event had been prohibited, without this having been formally conveyed, or if it had been prohibited, no reason was mentioned.

The Iwan Niode said that what the defendant had said on this occasion has been said on many occasions and there was no grounds for charging the defendant with makar (subversion). 'If I say now that the Act of Free Choice should be reviewed, does that mean that I am going to be arrested?'

Among the crowd of people outside the courthouse were some people taking photographs who were recognised as being from the state apparatus and from the intelligence.