Student in Ternate under investigation for participating in peaceful rally for Papuan independence

On 2 December 2019, the Director of Khairun University expelled four students for participating in a peaceful demonstration in commemoration of the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. The protest took place in front of the Muhammadiyah University Campus in Ternate, Maluku Utara Province. The Ternate police are now investigating one of the students named Arbi M. Nur. The authorities accuse the student of violating Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason and Article 160 KUHP on incitement. According to CNN Indonesia, the Ternate District Police informed the public prosecution in Ternate about the investigation on 13 July 2020.

Arbi’s lawyer assumed that the investigation is an attempt to intimidate the four students for suing the Director of Khairun University, Unkhair Husen Alting. Alting had expelled the four students based on a notification letter by the Ternate Police Chief according to which the four students had “defamed the campus's reputation by participating in a protest for the 'liberation of Papua' with treasonous intentions”. The students decided to take legal action because the director refused to withdraw the exmatriculation.

Police officers forcefully dispersed the peaceful demonstration on 2 December 2019 and arrested Arbi M Nur, Fahyudi Kabir, Ikra S Alkatiri and Fahrul Ahmad Abdullah along with six other protesters. According to the students, the officers dragged and repeatedly beat the protesters during the arrest and detained the students for 24 hours at the Ternate District Police Station.