May 09, 2014

South Moluccas: Police Arrest Head Of RMS

Leader of the Republic of South Moluccas (RMS) Simon Saiya, has been arrested after being on the police’s wanted list for seven years. The activist has been charged for displaying the RMS flag at the celebration of National Family Day in Ambon on 29 June 2007. 

Below is an article by The Jakarta Globe:

Maluku police on Friday [25 April 2014] have reportedly arrested Simon Saiya, an activist wanted for masterminding the display of a separatist flag during a performance for the president almost seven years ago.

Simon was arrested with nine companions in Nusaniwe subdistrict, Ambon, and that a South Maluku Republic (RMS) flag called “Benang Raja” as well as two United Nations flags were confiscated as evidence, Sr. Comr. Martuany Siregar — who is the operational unit head of the Maluku police — told state-run Antara news agency.

Simon is transition president of the Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM) and RMS, both of which were established in April 25, 1950 to seek an independent state in Indonesia.  The government has called the organizations separatist groups and have arrested activists. Meanwhile, the leaders and a dozen other members sought refuge in the Netherlands.

Simon has been on the national police’s wanted list after allegedly ordering RMS activists to unfurl an RMS flag during the celebration of National Family Day in Ambon on June 29, 2007. The event was attended by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife, ministers, governors and district heads.

In the middle of the event, the RMS activists — who posed as dancers performing the traditional Maluku war dance known as Cakalele — unfurled the flag before Yudhoyono and his entourage.

Police promptly arrested 39 RMS followers after the event, but Simon remained at large. The 39 activists were charged with subversion and their sentences ranged from 12 years to life in prison.