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Papuans Behind Bars: December 2013

January 10, 2014

At the end of December 2013, there were at least 70 political prisoners in Papuan jails. After a period of sustained demonstrations and 112 political arrests in November, this month saw fewer demonstrations and no political arrests.

As reported in our November update, on 1 December 2013, two Papua New Guinea nationals and one West Papuan were arrested in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, during a ceremony raising the Papuan Morning Star flag, held to commemorate the date which West Papuans consider to be their national day. The three men have been released on bail. The arrests show the curbing of free expression extending beyond Indonesia’s borders, and a PNG civil society group has criticised Indonesia’s alleged interference.

While the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared in November 2011 that detaining people for raising the Morning Star flag is a violation of international law, there has been an increase in the number of detentions relating to the Morning Star flag in 2013.

Six detainees in the Aimas 1 May case were sentenced to 1.5 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit treason under Articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. Isak Klaibin, who the court considered to be the leader of the gathering on 30 April, was sentenced to 3.5 years’ imprisonment under the same charges and an additional charge under the Emergency Law 12/1951. Yan Christian Warinussey, the Executive Director of LP3BH (Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid in Manokwari, Lembaga Penelitian, Pengkajian dan Pengembangan Bantuan Hukum), stated that the sentencing reflected poorly on the situation of human rights in Papua, particularly with regards to freedom of expression.

Despite attempts by the Provost and vice-Provost of Cenderawasih University (Universitas Cenderawasih, UNCEN) in November 2013 to suppress political activity on campus, students continued to protest against the detention of student leader Yason Ngelia, holding a further demonstration on 12 December.

West Papua attracted further international attention, with the completion of the ‘Pedalling for Papua’ campaign at Abepura prison, Jayapura, where human rights activist Jeremy Bally delivered global messages of support to the prisoners. There were concerns over distorted media coverage of his visit and Indonesian news outlets were criticised as misrepresentative.

The full Update is attached – we hope you find this information useful.

You can read or share the update online here: http://www.papuansbehindbars.org/?p=2438

With best wishes for a peaceful and happy New Year,

Papuans Behind Bars team

Papuans Behind Bars December 2013.docx

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