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Papuan Prisoner of Conscience Filep Karma receives medical treatment in Jakarta

September 27, 2012

Papuan Prisoner of Conscience Filep Karma in Jakarta for Medical Treatment

*Jakarta, Indonesia [27 September 2012].

Filep Karma, a prisoner of conscience from Papua, has been to Jakarta for a two-week course of colonoscopy treatment in a Jakarta hospital and is now back in the Abepura prison in West Papua. He arrived in Jakarta on September 14 and received colonoscopy treatment at the PGI hospital in Cikini, Jakarta.

Indonesian physicians in Jayapura, who earlier examined Karma with simple equipment, suspected that he had a colon tumor. As it is not possible to conduct a colonoscopy in West Papua, the physicians referred him to a hospital in Jakarta.

Karma was imprisoned in 2004 and is serving 15 years for participating in a peaceful independence demonstration and for raising the Morning Star flag, an important Papuan symbol of independence.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared him to be a political prisoner in September 2011 and called on the Indonesian government to immediately and unconditionally release Karma.

However, the Indonesian government denies that there are any political prisoners’ in Indonesia.

Karma sustained injuries during acts of torture inflicted on him while in prison. He also injured his hip in a fall in 2006.

It took nearly six months for Karma to be transferred to Jakarta despite having a referral. from a doctor in Jayapura. Abepura prison officials, under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, refused to cover the cost of his medical treatment and travel. Refusal to cover his costs is in direct contravention of national and international law.

According to the United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Principle 24), and Indonesian law (Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners’ Rights in Prisons) the government is required to cover all the medical costs for the treatment of a prisoner in hospital

Even though the Abepura prison authorities eventually granted permission for Karma to travel to Jakarta, they refused to cover the cost of his medical treatment and travel. Funds were raised from donations from the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund (London), Rev. Socratez Yoman’s church service (Timika), from the Walter Post School of Theology in Jayapura, as well as many individuals.

Besides Karma, there are seven political prisoners in Papua with a variety of illnesses. They are Apotnagolik Lokobal who had a stroke; Ferdinand Pakage who also had a stroke; Forkorus Yaboisembut whose vision is now impaired, Kanius Murib who is suffering from memory loss; Kimanus Wenda who has a hernia; Jefrai Murib who also had a stroke; and Yusak Pakage who is suffering from indigestion.

Karma urged the Indonesian government to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and give them decent medical treatment.

*For further inquiries, please contact:

*Margareth Karma : +6281242950809

Cyntia Warwe : +6281344910243

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