The Jakarta Post
The National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB) has lambasted the government for demanding the death penalty for a TPNPB member arrested over the killing of military personnel.
The armed group demanded that the prosecution retract the death penalty demand, as Yogor Telenggen was a political defendant, not a criminal one.
“The shooting happened in a conflict area, military against military. It was not murder of a civilian,” TPNPB spokesperson Sebby Sembom said in a press release made available on Monday. “He is a political defendant, not a criminal one,” he said.
Yogor was a “fighter” of the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) that had been fighting for Papuans’ right to self-determination, Sebby went on.
On Friday, prosecutors at the Manokwari District Court had demanded the death sentence against Yonggor for premeditated murder in violation of Article 340 of the Criminal Code. He stands accused of killing Indonesian Military (TNI) member First Pvt. Sandi Novian at Sinak Market in February.
Yogor’s lawyer, Christian Warinusi, told The Jakarta Post on Monday that his client also stood accused of four other shootings, but Yogor only admitted guilt on the shooting of a Trigana plane in Mulia in Puncak Jaya, Papua, on orders of the armed group.
The lawyer said that, contrary to the accusation, Yogor had not shot Sandi. Rather, Yogor’s friend had borrowed his weapon and used it to shoot the soldier, before snatching Sandi’s weapon.
The weapon is one of the pieces of evidence put forward against Yogor in the case.
The lawyer also said Yogor was a political defendant. “He is a combatant, so he should not be charged under the Criminal Code. Yogor shot someone who was armed, the enemy,” Christian went on.
He raised questions about the punishment of Indonesian Military personnel who shot unarmed civilians. Several Papuan activists have accused the TNI of hurting civilians in their attempt to eradicate the rebels.
The 30 year-old suspect had been sentenced to life imprisonment in another case in 2013 for alleged involvement in various lethal attacks against TNI and police personnel. In January 2016, he escaped from Abepura prison and was rearrested in May last year, according to the TPNPB. The group said police had shot Yogor in the knee during the arrest last year.
He was later detained at the Police’s Mobile Brigade building in Jayapura and sent to Manokwari for the trial in January, TPNPB said. (evi)