Saturday, May 9, 2015

1) Indonesia frees prisoners and lifts media curbs in Papua

2) President Jokowi pardons five political prisoners in Papua
3) Pardon granted for Papuan to eliminate conflict stigma: President Jokowi
4) Indonesia to allow foreign journalists full Papua access
5) Govt allocates Rp 6 trillion  for Papua infrastructure  development 

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1) Indonesia frees prisoners and lifts media curbs in Papua
2 hours ago
 From the section
Asia
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered the release of five political prisoners in Papua province - home to a long-running separatist campaign.
He also announced the lifting of travel bans for foreign journalists there.
"We need to create a sense of peace in Papua. This is just the beginning," Mr Widodo said, on a visit to the area.
Rights group have criticised Indonesia for its tough policies in Papua, where dozens have been jailed for simply raising the local flag of independence.
A low-level guerrilla organisation called the Free Papua Movement has been fighting a secessionist battle ever since Dutch colonial rule formerly ended there in 1962.
The recent developments suggest a change in policy for the government of Joko Widodo towards the region.

Analysis: Alice Budisatrijo, South East Asia producer
Joko Widodo promised to pay special attention to Indonesia's restive Papua region as soon as he took office last year.
In his second visit as president, he is trying to show that he will deliver not only economic development, but also political solutions.
Many Papuans viewed the travel restrictions for foreigners to their provinces as a way to allow the police and the military, the target of much public scorn, to operate with impunity.
While some people have applauded the decisions to release political prisoners and lift the travel ban as a step in the right direction, others remain suspicious of the government's intentions.

The five men granted clemency were convicted over a 2003 raid on an Indonesian military arms depot.
Mr Widodo met and shook hands with each of the men on Saturday, before handing them a letter confirming that the rest of their sentences had been waived, the AFP news agency reports.
"Today we are releasing these five detainees to stop the stigma of conflict in Papua," the president told reporters, speaking in the city of Jayapura.
It comes weeks after Indonesia's move to execute seven foreigners and one Indonesian national, who were convicted of drug offences, sparked international outrage.
Australia recalled its ambassador to Jakarta after two of its citizens, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were among the men executed by firing squad.
Joko Widodo, who took office in October last year, had ignored worldwide calls for the convicted prisoners to be spared.
Touching on the subject on Saturday, he told journalists that the death penalty was "still our positive law".
Papua sees regular flare-ups of violence. Thousands of Papuans have been killed in attacks and skirmishes with the Indonesian military over the last four decades.
Access to the region has been severely restricted to foreign journalists and international organisations over the years.



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http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/98865/president-jokowi-pardons-five-political-prisoners-in-papua

2) President Jokowi pardons five political prisoners in Papua

Sabtu, 9 Mei 2015 18:40 WIB | 603 Views


President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) provides file clemency to five political prisoners in prisons Abepura, Jayapura, Papua, on Saturday (May 9, 2015). (ANTARA/Hafidz Mubarak A.)
Jayapura (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) pardoned five political prisoners during his visit to Abepura Penitentiary in Jayapura, Papua, on Saturday afternoon.

"We wish to create a peaceful Papua," he said while presenting the pardon to the five prisoners.

Among the five prisoners who received the presidential pardon are Linus Hiluka and Apotnaholik Lokobal, who were both sentenced to 20 years in jail, and Numbungga Telenggen and Yafrai Murib, who were both sentenced to life imprisonment.

President Jokowi stated that granting pardon was the first step towards releasing political prisoners in Indonesia.

"It will later be followed by an amnesty and other steps, involving as many as 90 prisoners," he affirmed.

Yafrai Murib had earlier said he was grateful that he would be receiving a pardon directly from the president.

"I am grateful for the pardon," Murib, who served three years in Abepura, told Antara at the prison in the company of his lawyer Latifah Anum Siregar.

In addition, the lawyer expressed his appreciation of the pardon. "We thank the president and appreciate his decision, which was made to develop better democracy in Indonesia.

Moreover, Linus Hiluka told newsmen after receiving the pardon that he had requested President Joko Widodo for a safety guarantee for all Papuans.

"I just asked President Jokowi (Joko Widodo) to ensure the safety of Papuan people, especially of former political prisoners like us," he remarked.

(Reported by Alfian Rumagit/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/B003)





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3) Pardon granted for Papuan to eliminate conflict stigma: President Jokowi

Sabtu, 9 Mei 2015 18:57 WIB | 552 Views
Jayapura (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said here on Saturday that he pardoned five political prisoners in Papua to eradicate conflict stigma in the region.

"This is a sincere effort made by the government to eradicate the conflict stigma that exists in Papua. We wish to make Papua a peaceful region," he stated at a press conference at Abepura Prison.

President Jokowi granted presidential pardon to Apotnalogolik Lokobal (sentenced to 20 years in jail), Numbungga Telenggen (life imprisonment), Kimanus Wenda (19 years in jail), Linus Hiluka (19 years in jail) and Jefrai Murib (life imprisonment).

The five were jailed for breaking into the weapons warehouse of the 1710/Wamena Military Command in 2003.

President Jokowi noted that he hoped people would see the pardon within the framework of reconciliation to create a peaceful Papua.

"This is a start. It will later be followed up by pardon, or amnesty, for other regions, as there are no less than 90 who are still in jail. This is the beginning of our efforts to release them," he affirmed.

During the conference, President Jokowi also presented the five prisoners who received the pardon. On the occasion, he called on others who are still in prison or in the mountains to develop Papua.

"We wish to invite them to work together to build Papua through a welfare approach and development. This is what we are going to do in the future. So no one should instigate anymore conflicts," he emphasized in the company of Commander of the Military (TNI) General Moeldoko, National Police Chief General Badroddin Haiti, and Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yasona Laoly.

In addition, the head of state vowed to conduct coordination with regional military commands and lower agencies to implement the approaches.

"The TNI may possibly help to develop infrastructure and education in schools because they are needed in mountain regions. They may even help in local healthcare centers," he pointed out.

Jokowi hopes that the released prisoners, along with the government, develop Papua in their own ways.

"Perhaps they can develop farms or work based on contracts," he remarked.

(Reported by Joko Susilo/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/B003)








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http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-to-allow/1835972.html

4) Indonesia to allow foreign journalists full Papua access

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Saturday (May 9) decades-long reporting restrictions for foreign journalists in Papua would be lifted and ordered the release of a group of political prisoners in the insurgency-hit eastern province.

ABEPURA, Indonesia: Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Saturday (May 9) decades-long reporting restrictions for foreign journalists in Papua would be lifted and ordered the release of a group of political prisoners in the insurgency-hit eastern province.
The moves signalled that Widodo, who took office last year, is easing the tight grip that Jakarta has long kept on the mineral-rich province, where poorly armed fighters have for years fought a low-level insurgency against the central government.
Widodo has taken a keen interest in Papua, pledging to improve livelihoods in the heavily-militarised area which lags behind other parts of Indonesia in terms of development.
He revealed in an interview with a group of reporters in Abepura, Papua, that from Sunday foreign journalists would be allowed full access. "Tomorrow I will declare it," he said.
Indonesia has long been deeply sensitive about foreign journalists covering Papua, with applications for permission required to be submitted to numerous government agencies, which rarely grant it.
Punishments for foreigners caught illegally reporting can be harsh - two French journalists were given short jail terms last year for trying to make a documentary on the separatist movement without authorisation.
PRESIDENTIAL CLEMENCY
The disclosure came shortly after five political prisoners - convicted over a 2003 raid on an Indonesian military weapons arsenal - were granted clemency by Widodo. They will soon walk free from Abepura prison.
Dozens of Papuan separatists are in jail for committing treason for acts such as raising the pro-independence "Morning Star" flag and taking part in anti-government protests.
Widodo shook hands with the five ethnic Melanesian prisoners at the prison, presenting each with a letter confirming the remainder of their sentences was being waived.
"Today we are releasing these five detainees to stop the stigma of conflict in Papua," he told reporters at the prison. "We need to create a sense of peace in Papua. This is just the beginning."
The release marks a change in approach from previous governments. During the 10-year rule of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, only one political prisoner in Papua was granted clemency, according to Human Rights Watch.
However activists said releasing a handful of prisoners was not enough, and accused Widodo of seeking to burnish his image after facing international outrage over the execution of foreign drug convicts.
Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said the move was "more like image-making". "It's a good step but it's nothing new," he said, calling on Widodo to go further by granting prisoners an amnesty.
Prisoners have to request clemency and admit guilt before it is granted, but this is not a requirement for an amnesty.
There are still regular flare-ups of violence in Papua, where insurgents are fighting on behalf of the mostly ethnic Melanesian population.
Indonesian troops are regularly accused of abusing Papuan villagers in the name of anti-rebel operations, but Jakarta denies allegations of systematic human rights abuses.
Jakarta took control of Papua, which forms half of the island of New Guinea, in 1963 from former colonial power the Netherlands.


Jokowi said that of the funds, Rp 4.7 trillion would be for the construction of roads and bridges, Rp 600 billion for irrigation, Rp 400 billion for sanitation and drinking water and Rp 300 billion for housing.
“I hope that the acceleration of development will boost Papua’s economic growth,” he said on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Halltekamp Bridge project, which will link Jayapura to other areas.
The President has targeted to build a 3,985-kilometer trans-Papua road, set to be finished in 2019, Antara news agency reported. (++++)
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