Victor Yeimo’s treason trial was postponed due to prosecutor’s absence

The panel of judges at the Jayapura District Court postponed the trial on charges of treason against the international spokesman for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Victor Yeimo on 20 March 2023. The panel of judges had to postpone the hearing because the prosecutor was not present.

The alleged treason case against Viktor Yeimo was related to the Papuan anti-racism demonstration to protest racial discrimination against Papuan students at the Kamasan III Papuan Student Dormitory in Surabaya on 16 August 2019. Yeimo was charged with treason for allegedly leading the demonstrations, which took place in the city of Jayapura on 19 and 29 August 2019.

At the hearing on 20 March was scheduled an expert testimony to be presented by the Papua Law Enforcement and Human Rights Coalition as Victor Yeimo’s legal counsel. The witnesses are Prof Dr Cahyo Pamungkas, an expert on conflict resolution and peace, and Dr Herlambang Perdana Wiratraman SH MA, an expert on constitutional law.

The presiding judge regretted the attitude of the prosecutor, who was not present at the trial. He apologised for having to postpone the trial. Mathius then adjourned the hearing until Monday 27 March.

Viktor Yeimo’s lawyer, Gustaf Rudolf Kawer, said the postponement gave the impression that neither the prosecutor nor the judge were serious about Yeimo’s trial.

“This can be seen from the beginning of the many delays made by prosecutors and judges without good coordination,” Kawer told Jubi on Monday afternoon.

Kawer said the judge should have respected the principle of a speedy and cost-effective trial. Then the agenda of the trial can be organised as neatly as possible. He said his party had prepared expert witnesses, but they had to be postponed again because President Jokowi came to Papua.

“We have to go to court because our expert is ready, but it has to be postponed because the president came. I want to say that the president came to solve this human rights problem, but it is problematic in the context of the trial. The president’s visit should not affect the trial process,” he said.

Kawer said the problems that have arisen in the trial need to be supervised by the Supreme Court and the High Court Judicial Commission so that the trial can proceed according to the trial agenda.

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