On 11 October 2010, Demi Dudop and six other people were arrested in Demta, close to Papua’s provincial capital of Jayapura. The only source of information on this case so far has been provided by their lawyers, the Alliance of Democracy for Papua (Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua, ALDP). This profile is therefore an abridged reproduction of their summary of the case.
During the afternoon of 10 October 2010, a group of about people that would normally gather to conduct various activities at the Mammo, a traditional meeting house in Demta village, had a procession around the village playing flutes and drums. They were trying to meet with the District Head and local army and police representatives to present them with a religious/spiritual declaration.
They did not manage to meet the people they were looking for and so returned to the Mammo, where other people were waiting. They then raised two flags; the Morning Star and another flag which they called the flag of the kingdom. The Morning Star flag is a symbol of Papuan identity, and while it is allowed under Indonesia’s 2001 Special Autonomy laws relating to the governance of Papua, it was subsequently banned by Presidential Regulation 77/2007.
As dusk set in, security forces came to negotiate for the flags to be lowered, which the people around the Mammo emphatically rejected. The District Head arrived and tried to negotiate, whilst asking security forces not to carry out acts of violence. The people continued to refuse to lower the flag, stating that the flag was being flown under the orders of the ‘King.’ (It remains unclear as to which King or Kingdom the people were referring to, but it is thought that these references indicate certain spiritual and messianic beliefs which are commonly held by some indigenous Papuans).
Eventually a woman decided to lower the flag herself, explaining “I am scared that blood will be spilled and I will have to take it down while I am crying.” By that time it was 02:00.
The next morning on 11 October at around 07:00, a group of people arrived on a motorboat and burned down the Mammo. There is information that this action was probably provoked by a religious leader who had complained about the Mammo since it was first built, as many people had stopped going to church and went to the Mammo instead. The community around the Mammo did not respond to this.
Bearing in mind the safety of the majority of the people and the fact that the Mammo had now been burned, seven people who had been involved in the incident handed themselves in to local police office in Demta. Mr Demi Dudop, Chief of Ambora village, said “we don’t want other people to act violently so we are ready to be responsible.” The seven were charged with treason under article 106 of the Indonesian penal code and were processed by the police. No investigations or legal actions regarding the burning of the Mammo were reported.
The seven detainees were held at the Jayapura police headquarters until bail was agreed on 22 December 2010 following legal action by ALDP and the Papua Legal Aid Institute (Lembaga Bantuan Hukum, LBH Papua).
While no further police action has been taken, the case has been left open, leaving those individuals arrested and bailed with vulnerable legal status.
Alliance for Democracy in Papua, “Pengibaran bendera bintang kejora,” 7 April 2011, http://www.aldepe.com/2011/04/pengibaran-bendera-bintang-kejora-di.html