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Lawyers protest limited access to Surya Anta, other Papua treason suspects

November 13, 2019


CNN Indonesia – November 12, 2019

Jakarta — The Papua Advocacy Team has protested the continued restriction on access to six Papua activists who are being detained at the Mobile Brigade Command Headquarters (Mako Brimob) detention centre in Depok.

The six activists, Paulus Surya Anta Ginting, Anes Tabuni, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda and Arina Elopere have been charged by police under the makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) articles.

Because of this, the advocacy team is asking that police investigators allow access for their lawyers to meet with their clients at the detention centre at any time.

"Our legal teams still aren’t able to enter 24 hours a day to meet with our clients. Now, because of this we are asking the police investigators for access for lawyers to be given an exemption to enter the Mako Brimob", said Papua Advocacy Team member Michael Himan following a pre-trial hearing challenging the activists arrest at the South Jakarta District Court on Monday November 11.

These restrictions on access has made it difficult for lawyers to communicate and as a consequence, said Himan, they are unable to directly monitor the conditions of their respective clients. This was the case for example when one of the detainees, Arina Elopere, was suffering psychological problems which have still not been treated.

"There has also still been no response [on the request for medical staff]", said Mike — as Himan is known by his friends.

Elopere is said to be suffering shortness of breath and has begun to hallucinate due to his psychological condition. Elopere is the only occupant in a large cell located far from his other friends.

Two other of his clients meanwhile, Ambrosius Mulait and Dano (Anes) Tabuni are dealing with health issues. "One of Ambros[ius]’ teeth had to be pulled out", said Papua Advocacy Team member Oky Wiratama.

Wiratama is also questioning the grounds for the visitation restrictions because according to Criminal Procedural Code (KUHAP), lawyers should be able to visit their clients at any time.

"But in this case, we as lawyers have been restricted to only two visits a week, Tuesdays and Fridays", said Wiratama.

Wiratama said that police are justifying the restrictions based on a national police chief regulation (Perkapolri) on visits. But, said Wiratama, the regulation only regulates family visits, not lawyers.

"Lawyers cannot be treated the same as family, [other] visitors. In the case of families visits are only allowed on Thursdays and Fridays, but lawyers must be allowed [to visit] 1×24 hours", said Wiratama.

"Under the Perkapolri it does indeed explain about visiting detainees, for families it is indeed explained, but for lawyers we use the KUHAP, where there are not restrictions on lawyers, they can [visit] anytime", he added again.

Article 69 of the KUHAP on legal aid stipulates that lawyers are entitled to accompany suspects from the moment they are arrested or detained and though all stages of the investigation.

Meanwhile there are exceptions in cases of crimes against state security which are regulated under Article 71 Paragraph 2, which give officials the authority to listen in to discussions between lawyers and suspects. Despite this, lawyers are still able to communicate with suspects. (ika/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Tim Advokasi Papua Minta Diberi Akses Temui Surya Anta Cs".]

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