Jakarta – Six Political Prisoners on Treason Charges

The six political prisoners, five were held in Salemba Detention Centre and one was in Pondok Bambu Detention Centre. Charles Kossay, Dano Tabuni, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Paulus Surya Anta Ginting were arrested in connection with a protest in front of the State Palace on 28 August 2019 where Morning Star flags were flying. They were all charged under Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code. The first trial commenced on 15 December 2019. On 13 April 2020, the prosecutors sought one year and five months’ imprisonment for each, except Isay Wenda, for whom the prosecutors sought ten months. The Jakarta District Court handed down nine month sentences for five of the accused and an eight month sentence for Isay Wenda.

Isay Wenda was freed on 28 April 2020, whereas Ariana Elopere on 27 May 2020, and the four others on 26 May 2020. The last five were considered for early release on 12 May 2020, but this was cancelled at the last minute due to a political intervention. 

On the afternoon of 11 May, the five prisoners signed ‘letters of execution’ of the verdict. In the evening, their guarantors signed letters of assimilation. The guarantor for Suryanta, Dano Tabuni, and Ambrosius Mulait was Priest Suarbudaya Rahadian. The guarantor for Charles Kossay was his sister, Sati Kossay.

On 12 May at midday, the prisoners signed stamped letters confirming their ‘assimilation’ release. Having received negative results from Covid-19 rapid tests the detention centre then gave them rice and instant noodles for them to take home. The prisoners then waited for about 30 minutes before being summoned by Mr Pantje, Head of Registration of Salemba Detention Center. He apologized because,  he explained, they were not eligible for early release because they had been charged with treason, which was against Government Regulation Number 99 Year 2012. The detention center said that they only realised about this after having been explained by the Ministry of Law.