Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tapol responds to Indonesia's denial of political prisoners in Papua

Tapol's Carmel Budiardjo responds to statements by Indonesia's Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, who said that "there are no political prisoners in Papua — only criminals who have broken the law."

In an oped in the Jakarta Globe, the veteran activist writes:
"This is troubling news for Papuans such as Filep Karma, Forkorus Yaboisembut and others who are currently behind bars for expressing their beliefs.
"Djoko’s statement late week is especially puzzling in light of an internal government document, titled “List of Political Prisoners Across Papua,” that was leaked earlier this year to Tapol. The document lists 25 Papuans detained for treason and related offenses. In addition to the government’s own records, numerous NGOs based in Jakarta and Papua, as well as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Tapol, all hold extensive data on political prisoners in Papua the put the number even higher."
She concludes:
"If Indonesia is to move on from its painful past, it should heed the calls to release political prisoners and repeal anti-democratic laws that criminalize the freedom of expression. Only then will Djoko Suyanto truly be able to say that political prisoners no longer exist in Indonesia."

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