Update on trials in Papua: Witness dismised in Buchtar trial|Defence lawyer threatens to charge the police in Manokwari

Witness dismised in Buchtar trial;Defence lawyer threatens to charge the police in Manokwari

The trial of Buchtar Tabuni facing the charge of makar (treason) for coordination a rally in Jayapura in support of the launch of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in London:

Buchtar Tabuni trial: Witness dismissed

A hearing in the trial was held on 18 March to hear testimonies from prosecution witnesses. Four witnesses were due to be heard.

The first three witnesses were members of the police force who all testified that they had seen the defendant giving speeches at two locations, one outside the Cenderawasih University campus and one outside Ekspo Waene, which they alleged constituted threats to the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). They quoted him as saying: 'Indonesia has no right to rule in Papua'. He was also quoted as describing the Act of Free Choice in 1969 as being unfair and undemocratic.

The fourth witness was Ramses Ohee, head of Waena kampung. When asked by the prosecution whether he had witnessed the defendant at the demonstraation in Ekspo Waena, he replied: 'I was not present at the location of the demonstration I only heard about it from my people who told me what had happened.'

A lawyer defending Buchtar objected to Ramses Ohee appearing as a witness. The prosecutor then asked the witness whether he could explain the Pepera (Act of Free Choice) in 1969 as someone who was present at the time, to which he replied: 'Yes I can.' Whereupon a lawyer for the defendant protested saying that he had not be called as an expert witness. He told the judge that this would amount to pitting Papuans against each other.

When the judge asked the prosecutor to repeat the question, the latter said that he could not do so, and therefore the question was taken over by the judge. He asked the witness: 'Is it true that you were not present at the demonstration which was held at that time?' When Ramses answered, 'Yes it is', the judge said that was as far as he could take the matter and he then adjourned the hearing until the following Wednesday (25 March).

At the hearing on 25 March a film of Buchtar leading the IPWP demonstration will be shown.

As on previous occasions hundreds of people gathered outside the courthouse. Photos accompanying the report received from the GKI (Christian Evangelical Church in Papua) showed the large crowd with a number of banners and long lines of police, including Brimob, carrying large shields for protection.

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Lawyer threatens to file charges against police

Manokwari: The lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy, member of the defence team for the chairman of the Birds Head Dewan Adat Papua, Barnabas Mandacan, and John Warijo, chairman of the KNPP (?) on trial in Manokwari, threatened to file charges against the police in the case that his clients are acquitted on the charge of treason. He described the charge as excessive, explaining that when the two men conducted the long march on 1 December 2008 to commmorate the anniversary of their nation, they had not engaged in anarchistic actions, still less had they engaged in treason. He called on the police to undertake an investigation into the matter and present it to the attorney generals office.

This should be done quickly as the case before the court had been going ahead for quite some time whereas the police had not designated them as defendants till some time afterwards.

He said that he would be filing counter charges against the police in order to clear the name and reputation of his clients.