Jayapura, Jubi – Jayapura City Resort Police arrested four administrators of the Student Executive Board (BEM) of the University of Science and Technology Jayapura (USTJ), Papua on their campus in Padang Bulan, Jayapura City, Papua on Monday (6/15/2020) at around 8 a.m. Papua time.
“The police arrested the four students because of their initiative to open a solidarity post to support the release of seven Papuan political prisoners in East Kalimantan,” BEM Deputy Chairman Marvin Yobe told Jubi by phone on Monday (15/6/2020).
Yobe confirmed the name of the four students are Marten Pakage, Semi Gobay, Albert Yatipai, and Ones Yalak who took are now taken to the police.
“We ask seeking everyone’s support concerning their arrest,” he said.
He further accused the police of breaking the rules because the arrest occurred on campus.
“We urge the police to release our fellow students because what they have done is trying to silence democracy in this country,” he said.
Yobe added the students had opened the solidarity post on campus since Saturday, 13 June 2020 as a support to seven Papuan political prisoners who are currently on trial in East Kalimantan to be immediately released.
“Because they are victims of racism, not perpetrators nor lawbreakers,” he said
Release the students, say MRP and LBH
Separately, a member of the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) asked the Jayapura Police to release the USTJ students.
“This is an injustice and discrimination (against the law). The public prosecutor’s indictment upset Papuan people,” said the Rev. Nikolaus Degey who also urged the police to stop interfering students’ activities on campus.
“The university is an academic space, so the police should not arrest students. If they did, it means they interfere with the university authority,” said Degey.
He further underlined that the police should see the free speech forum to express a voice to release the seven Papuan political prisoners in Balikpapan as a part of academic freedom of expression.
According to him, this forum is similar to the online discussion that organised by some Papuan leaders last week because both equally talked about the prosecutor’s indictment over the seven Papuan political prisoners which considered too severe.
Separately, advocate Emmanual Gobay stated the free speech forum at the USTJ campus was not against the law, and the police cannot arrest the students who organised it. Therefore, he asked the police to release the four students.
He then said in his written press statement that the Indonesia Law gives consent to the academic and religious activities to conduct without any prior notice to the police. It includes in the Law No.9/1998 about the freedom of expression in public. Therefore, the police in Papua are obliged to respect and protect the citizens’ rights for democracy.
“So, the police must release these four USTJ students, namely Marthen Pakage, Semi Gobay, Alberth Yatipai and Ones Yalak,” said Gobay. (*)