Three More Makar (Rebellion) Convictions In Papua
Three More Makar (Rebellion) Convictions In W Papua
Received from TAPOL
Three Papuans, Roni Ruben Iba, Isak Iba and Piter Iba were found guilty on the charge of makar (rebellion) for unfurling the peace flag, Bendera Sabat on the flag mast in front of the office of the district chief of Bintuni Ba on 1 January 2009.
The court hearing on Thursday 12 November sentenced Roni Ruben Iba to three years, while the other two, were given slightly shorter sentences of two years each. Only two of the defendants were present in court to hear the verdict. The third one was absent because of ill-health. (the name of the absentee was not mentioned).
The court house was heavily guarded by local police. Relatives of the accused were in court to hear the verdict. The two prosecutors said that they would consider the verdicts (before deciding whether to appeal). The defence lawyer Yan Christian Warinussy SH announced that he would do likewise.
The atmosphere in the courtroom became tense when officials from the prosecutor's office ordered the two defendants to get on board a truck to be taken back to Class IIb prison in Manokwari. The two men objected, saying that they wanted to meet their relatives who were there in the courtroom. They also started shouting about their dissatisfaction of the verdict.
One of them said that the hearings were very unjust and complained that others involved in flag-raising action should also have been put on trial. One of them, Mathius Sarwa was the person who had urged them to raise the flag, but he had appeared in the trial as a witness. He had even sent a letter to the court stating that he was responsible for the incident. 'All of us who were involved, including Mathius Sarwa should have been put on trial,' he said, 'especially Mathius who was the one who told us to do it.' Eventually the two men left the courtroom under police guard.
Their relatives stayed behind for a while to meet together in a room in the courthouse. .(*rs*)