Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088
Senator the Hon Bob Carr
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House, Canberra
17 March 2012
Dear Senator Carr,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney concerning the five West Papuan men who have been found guilty of treason and sentenced to three years imprisonment by the Jayapura state court on Friday the 16 March. They five men are Forkorus Yaboisembet, Edison Waromi, Agust Kraar, Selpius Bobii, and Dominikus Surabat.
The background to their case is that they were arrested and charged with treason because of their involvement in the 3rd Papuan People's Congress which was held between the 17 and 19 October 2011. Shortly after the Congress and as part of a celebration, the Morning Star flag was raised and a declaration of Independence read out. Indonesian security forces immediately moved in and broke up the gathering firing live rounds resulting in up to six people been killed. The security forces also used batons, bamboo poles and the butts of rifles during the arrest of up to 300 delegates resulting in serious injuries.
We point out at no time did these men commit violence and they have been jailed solely for peacefully expressing their political views as is their right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As opposed to the three year sentence given to the five activists, no action was taken against the security force personal who were involved in the brutal crackdown and they received only written warnings. There are also serious doubts about the fairness of the trial proceedings. The security forces maintained a heavy presence during the trial sessions and one of the senior lawyers for the defence, Gustav Kawer, is being threatened with prosecution, in violation of his right under Indonesian law and international standards to carry out his professional duties in defending clients in court.
I congratulate you on your appointment as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and ask you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government to urge that the five West Papuan men be immediately and unconditionally released. These men are prisoners of conscience