Jayapura, Jubi – Three students were found guilty of treason and subsequently given a 10-month prison term by the panel of judges at the Jayapura District Court on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. Yoseph Ernesto Matuan, Devio Tekege, and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere faced allegations of treason due to their involvement in a free speech event held at Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) on November 10, 2022, where they waved Morning Star flags.
The event aimed to reject the Papua peace dialogue plan introduced by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). However, the police intervened and disbanded the event, leading to the arrest of multiple participants, including the aforementioned three students.
Subsequently, Yoseph Ernesto Matuan, Devio Tekege, and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere were identified as suspects in a treason case and were convicted by the Jayapura District Court.
In their verdict, the panel of judges contended that the actions of Yoseph Ernesto Matuan, Devio Tekege, and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere, who took turns hoisting the Morning Star flag, could not be categorized as an exercise of freedom of expression. The judges argued that raising the Morning Star flag during the free speech event indicated an intention to advocate for the separation of Papua from Indonesia.
Furthermore, the judges highlighted that the actions of these individuals disrupted the security situation in Papua and were deemed to pose a threat to the sovereignty of Indonesia. Additionally, the fact that the three defendants had previously engaged in similar activities in the same case was taken into account.
The panel of judges firmly asserted that the actions of Yoseph Ernesto Matuan, Devio Tekege, and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere had been proven to constitute the crime of treason, as outlined in Article 106 of the Criminal Code, in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code, as charged by the prosecution.
Consequently, the panel of judges ordered the defendants to remain in custody, with the 10-month prison term to be offset by the duration already spent in detention. (*)