18 Jul 2006

Lawyers for Papuans facing trial over 2002 killings stay away from court

3:31 pm on 18 July 2006

The legal team for seven Papuans charged over the slaying of two Americans who worked for the Freeport mine in Indonesia's Papua province in 2002 will not be attending the trial.

The trial opens in Jakarta today, despite demands by the Papuans and their lawyers for the case to be heard in Timika where the attack took place.

Last week, the lawyers stayed away from preliminary hearings at the Central Jakarta Court, and the suspects are being forced by the police and prosecutor to face trial in the Indonesia capital.

One of the lawyers for the seven Papuans, Riando Tambunan, says foreign intervention has tainted the fairness of the trial.

"We do really know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation were involved in the cheating or arresting of these seven people; foreigners that tried to force our government to do the trial in Jakarta. Why? Because they could control it in Jakarta, not in Timika. My clients, they feel cheated, and it's true, they've been cheated - by government, by police, by the FBI."

Lawyer Riando Tambunan