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Polish Man Accused of Treason in Indonesia’s Papua Refuses to Appear in Court

Victor Mambor
Jayapura, Indonesia
2019-01-08
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Defendants Jakub Fabian Skrzypski (right) and Simon Magal at Wamena District Court, in Papua, Indonesia, Dec. 16, 2018.
Defendants Jakub Fabian Skrzypski (right) and Simon Magal at Wamena District Court, in Papua, Indonesia, Dec. 16, 2018.
Courtesy of Latifah Anum Siregar

The trial of a Polish man charged with treason over his alleged involvement with separatist rebels in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province was adjourned for the second time Tuesday after the defendant refused to attend, his lawyers said.

Jakub Fabian Skrzypski, 39, and another defendant, alleged Papuan separatist Simon Magal, 30, were due to hear their indictment Tuesday at the Wamena District Court in remote Jayawijaya Regency.

But Skrzypski insisted that hearings be held in the provincial capital, Jayapura, according to his defense attorney, Welis Doga. The hearing was postponed until January 14.

“I was called by the prosecutor who said Jakub refused to come to the trial," Welis told BenarNews.

Welis said he then visited Skrzypski at the Jayawijaya police station, where he had been detained since December, to persuade him to come to court, but he refused.

The trial opened on Dec. 16 but was adjourned because there was no translator for the defendant.

In early December, a Papuan separatist group claimed responsibility for an attack that left 19 construction workers dead. The victims had been building roads and bridges in remote Nduga Regency.

Refusing Food

Skrzypski, who was arrested in August in Wamena, and Magal are both accused of involvement in arms trading.

Police allege that Magal had asked Skrzypski to help him buy weapons for a Papuan separatist group. Skrzypski agreed, according to the police.

The Pole has denied the charges, saying that he was not an arms dealer and did not even own a weapon.

Another of his lawyers, Latifah Anum Siregar, said her client had complained of poor conditions in detention in Wamena, including a lack of clean water.

“He’s been depressed, partly because of poor conditions in detention . He’s refused to eat food provided by the detention center,” she told BenarNews.

Skrzypski’s demand has been discussed with the panel of judges, Welis said .

"But the judges have no authority to decide on the matter," he said.

David Maturbongs, Magal's defense attorney, said he had lobbied for the trial to be moved to Jayapura, but the request was rejected.

Maturbongs expressed concern about uncertainty faced by Magal because of Skrzypski’s refusal to attend hearings.

"I can understand Jakub's attitude, but on the other hand, this is is detrimental to my client," David said.

Papua is one of Indonesia’s poorest regions. despite its rich natural resources. It has been the scene of a low-level armed separatist conflict since the 1960s. Human rights groups have accused security forces of committing rights abuses during counter-insurgency operations.

Ahmad Syamsudin in Jakarta contributed to this report.

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