Amnesty International Indonesia director calls for immediate release of Antonius Latumutuany

19 November 2023

In the trial of Antonius Latumutuany in Masohi, Usman Hamid (director of Amnesty International Indonesia) submitted a written statement on Oct. 23, 2023. He had been asked by lawyer Semuel Waileruny to act as one of the expert witnesses for Latumutuany.

His witness statement leaves no stone unturned on the charge of treason charged against Latumutuany by the prosecution and calls for his acquittal. It is well worth reading the testimony of expert witness Usman Hamid.

The Amnesty International director’s argument is based on international instruments recognized by the UN, including the Siracusa Principles and the Johannesburg Principles. Within these internationally accepted principles, expressions such as unfurling banned flags or symbols and holding demonstrations should not be construed and interpreted as a call to violence.

The actions of defendant Antonius Latumutuany, according to Usman Hamid, are protected by the constitution and cannot be condemned under the infamous treason (Makar) article in Indonesian law. Antonius Latumutuany was merely expressing his political opinion while exercising his right to freedom of expression.

For reasons hitherto unknown, President Mr. John Wattilete was not given the opportunity by the authorities to introduce his testimony as an expert witness in the trial.

On Monday, Nov. 20, in the Masohi District Court, the prosecutor’s sentence is expected. This hearing has already been postponed twice because the Prosecutor’s Office reportedly needed to “back track” first in this “sensitive and complex” case. It is quite conceivable that Usman Hamid’s statement led to this postponement. This buys the prosecution time to reflect and think of words to wrap up their judicial blunder.

The RMS government urges everyone to follow this court case closely and take action. If there are any new developments, we will announce them on our channels.

Antonius Latumutuany has been detained since March 18 this year and on improper grounds. The 27-year-old Antony is married and the father of two young children. His oldest son is 3 years old. On Sept. 3, his youngest son was born. When his wife Wiwi Surlialy was about to give birth, he and his lawyer submitted a request to suspend his detention. However, this request was denied. To support his family, Antony worked as a farmer. On his own farmland, he took action against the new border posts that were placed on his land without any consultation. The distribution of photos posted by him on the Internet of the RMS flag he had hung on a branch of one of his trees, led to him being arrested and charged with treason.