Protestors call for the release of Papuan political prisoners in Indonesia
Around 100 protestors demonstrated today outside the Indonesian embassy in London to call for the unconditional and
immediate release of all Papuan political prisoners.
76 of the protestors were handcuffed and had their mouths taped shut to represent the 76 political prisoners currently
being held in Indonesian prisons.
According to data from Papuans Behind Bars
, the number of political arrests more than doubled in 2013 compared to the previous year, and reports of torture and
ill treatment of political detainees have increased. West Papua’s tribal people
continue to be arrested for peaceful activities and are often charged with treason or incitement, which can carry
lengthy prison sentences.
A demo today in West Papua about political prisoners was dispersed by the police who fired warning shots. Two students
have been arrested.
Wiki Meaga was arrested in November 2010 while he was on the way to the funeral of a relative who had become ill after
being tortured by the police. Meaga and eight other Papuans were accused of raising the banned Morning Star flag before
they left their village in the Papuan highlands. It is believed that they were tortured after their arrest. Six of the
men were found guilty of ‘treason’ and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. The fate of the other three men is
Dominikus Surabut, a Papuan activist, writer and documentary film maker who was arrested in 2011 sent a message to the
protestors in London, saying ‘I can’t be with you in person today because I am in jail, but my soul and my spirit are
with you. United and strong we will overcome.’
, a Yawanawá Indian from the Brazilian Amazon, who joined Survival International to speak out for indigenous rights also
participated in the protest. He said, ‘As an Amazon Indian I can understand the Papuans’ fight for freedom and justice.
The Papuan tribes have suffered racism and violence at the hands of the Indonesian government for over 50 years; this
inhumane action has to stop immediately.’
Indonesia has occupied Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea) since 1963, and more than 100,000 Papuans
are believed to have been killed since then.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘This is an excellent example of why the current vogue amongst some American ‘popular science’ writers
for claiming that the ‘peaceful’ state pacifies ‘violent’ tribes is nonsense. Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua has
only been secured through the killing and torture of tens of thousands of tribespeople, who object to their new
colonizers. It is one of the world’s longest-standing, and under-reported, gross violations of human rights.’
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