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URGENT, Support five Papuan leaders on trial for ‘treason’

February 16, 2012


Despite their activities being of a peaceful political nature, five Papuan leaders are standing trial in an Indonesian court. If convicted they are likely to face prison sentences of 20 years or more.

From 17-19th October 2011 The Third Papuan Peoples’ Congress took place in Jayapura. Around 1000 representatives from every region of West Papua were present to discuss their concerns and make decisions together. On the third day of the congress, the newly elected chairperson Fokorus Yaboisembut publicly read West Papua’s declaration of independence, first made when the Dutch colonial power pulled out in 1961, and they raised the ‘Morning Star’ flag.

The peaceful gathering was stormed by Indonesian security forces. Live ammunition was fired, 3 people were killed and over 90 injured. Hundreds were arrested and bundled onto army trucks. Many were badly beaten, some have not been seen since. Five of the leaders now stand trial for treason, having been imprisoned since October.

The accused Papuan leaders have issued a statement rejecting the treason trial, and insisting that instead there should be an international dialogue between the Federal Republic of West Papua and the Republic of Indonesia, mediated by the UN. This can be read here. It has been rejected by the presiding judge.

It is important that the trial be witnessed by the international community, in order to hold Indonesia to it’s professed democratic ideals, and due to the power imbalance of Indonesia enforcing military control. There is a precedent for Indonesia giving extremely long jail sentences to political prisoners. Filep Karma has been imprisoned since 2004 for raising the West Papuan ‘Morning Star’ flag. At least 15 political prisoners are currently serving long jail terms. Some of them are seriously ill, but being denied treatment.

You can help, by letting the Indonesian government know that this trial is being followed by concerned citizens around the world.

If a large number of us contact the Indonesian Justice Minister, it will send an important message. Such pressure has helped before, and is also the best form of protection that can be given to these leaders while they are imprisoned (to reduce the chances that they will be severely mistreated).

Below is a template email that you can copy and paste. (Postal addresses and phone numbers are also available at the bottom)

Send it to this address: rohumas

Subject: Amir Syamsuddin re: Trial of 5 Papuan leaders

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