UPDATE: Manokwari and Sorong: prosecutors’ charges



On 12th May 2020, prosecutors in Manokwari, West Papua province, sought ten months in jail on charges of treason for Sayang Mandabayan.

Ms Mandabayan was arrested on 2nd September 2019 while carrying 1,496 small Morning

Star flags at Manokwari airport. She participated in and gave speeches at protests, part of the Papua Uprising, on 19th and 27th August 2019 in Sorong. When she was arrested at Manokwari airport on 2nd September 2019, she had just arrived from Sorong to attend a protest in Manokwari that day.

Airport staff conducted an inspection on the aircraft and its passengers because a lifejacket was missing from the aircraft. They found 1,496 small, paper Morning Star flags in Mandabayan’s bag. The police were called and subsequently arrested her. She has been charged under Article 106 of the Criminal Code. Ms Mandabayan was a Member of the Sorong City Council, however she was fired due to this incident. She has suffered from persistent toothache but has not been afforded proper medical treatment while in detention. Her trial began on 13th February 2020.


On 13th May 2020, prosecutors in Sorong,West Papua province, sought one year and four months in jail on charges of treason for Rianto Ruruk, Yoseph Syufi, Manase Baho and Etus Kareth.

The four individuals currently detained in Sorong are student activists and were arrested on18th September 2019 for organising a protest that day. Each of these individuals has been charged under Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code. Police arrested Rianto Ruruk and Etus Kareth shortly after they delivered speeches to a group of protestors while waiting to be joined by another group of protesters, led by Yoseph Syufi and Manase Baho. Both Mr Syufi and Mr Baho were also arrested. The initial plan was to march together to the Mayor’s office. Police accuse the four of flying Morning Star flags, while in fact they were only wearing small Morning Star stickers. Their trial began on 5th March 2020.

Updated: 13th May 2020