Friday, September 5, 2014

1) Press Council: Better to Just Deport French Journalists Arrested in Papua

1) Press Council: Better to Just Deport French Journalists Arrested in Papua
2) French journalists apologize to Indonesian govt: Lawyer
3) Former West Sepik Governor wary of Indonesian link
4) Outcry over intimidation of prominent Papuan lawyer

5) Amnesty calls for history of restrictions in Papua to end

1) Press Council: Better to Just Deport French Journalists Arrested in Papua

By Jakarta Globe on 09:48 pm Sep 05, 2014
Category CrimeNews

Jakarta. The Press Council says the government should deport two journalists from French who were arrested in Papua while doing reporting work after entering the country on tourist visas.
“The case of these two foreign journalists is only an immigration violation, and we have sent a letter about this case to the Immigration [office]. We suggest the two journalists be deported — send them back to their home country, problem solved,” Bagir Manan, chairman of the Press Council, was quoted as saying by on Friday.
The Papua Police however are investigating Thomas Dandois, 40, and Valentine Bourrat, 29, for possible connections to armed separatists in Papua.
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) also called upon the Indonesian government to send the two back to France.
“They formed a research team that made contact with sources before the arrival of the reporting team,” AJI chairman Eko Maryadi said, as quoted by Antara.
Dandois and Bourrat, who work for the French-German TV channel Arte, were arrested in Wamena on Aug. 6.

2) French journalists apologize to Indonesian govt: Lawyer

Jumat, 5 September 2014 22:41 WIB | 292 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The lawyer of two French journalists who were nabbed in Papua said his clients have sent a letter of apology to the Indonesian government with regard to their journalistic activities in Papua.

"Thomas and Valentine have personally written an apology letter to the government and concerned authorities with regard to committing violations of immigration law," said Aristo Pangaribuan, a lawyer of Lubis, Santosa and Maramis Law Firm, in a press conference at the Indonesian Press Council Office in Jakarta, on Friday.

Aristo and his team represent Thomas Charles Dandois and Marie Valentine Bourrat, the two France journalists who were arrested in Papua on August 7, 2014.

"They (Dandois and Bourrat) have promised not to use any information that they had gathered in Papua and have confessed to not being involved in any criminal actions," Aristo noted.

According to the lawyers, Dandois and Bourrat began their journalistic activities in Papua on July 30 for a documentary film titled "Papua New Guinea," which was assigned by Memento Production House and Arte TV, a television broadcasting channel based in France.

On August 3, they had filmed the sceneries and landscapes of Papua in general, and then were scheduled to record the Baliem Valley Festival, including the gunfire incident by the armed group in Pirime District, Wamena.

On August 6, however, the police arrested them not long after the journalists had visited locals upon an allegation of having links with armed criminal groups.

On August 7, Dandois and Bourrat were officially imprisoned for misappropriation of visa and relocated from Wamena to Jayapura.

According to Article 122 of the Indonesian Law No. 6 Year 2011 on Immigration, Foreign journalists are required to obtain journalist visas to conduct journalist activities in Indonesia.

Aristo and his team had submitted a surety for the journalists and required a non-criminal sanction in accordance with the Immigration Law Article 75, criminal punishment was the last option.

"There is still administrative sanction, which is to deport the journalists," he emphasized.

The lawyers stand was supported by the Indonesian Press Council and the Alliance of Independence Journalists, who had urged the authorities to release Dandois and Bourrat soon and deport them back to France.(*)


Two French journalists to be deported: Press Council

Jumat, 5 September 2014 22:35 WIB | 304 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Press Council of Indonesia has urged the government to deport the two French journalists, Thomas Charles Dandois and Marie Valentine Bourrat, in order to prevent an escalation of their immigration issues.

"They have not only committed violation of immigration law, but have also contacted various sources in Papua," Chairman of the Indonesia Press Council Bagir Manan reported here.

The Press Council had sent a letter to the Directorate General of Immigration, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, after receiving a report about the detention of Dandois and Bourrat.

Regarding the allegation of the involvement of the French journalists with armed groups in Papua, Bagir replied that every country might cordon off some parts or all of the territory under certain circumstance.

After determining the status of an area, one cannot move in and out of the area without official permission.

According to Bagir, the public should know about the current status of a territory.

"If security situations develop, a clear legal basis should be formulated to establish whether a violation has occurred," Bagir explained.

He added that an information can be considered illegal if it has become a journalistic work through publication in the mass media.

"Foreign journalists are not discriminated from Indonesian journalists in terms of professionalism. The difference lies only with immigration laws and permits," Bagir pointed out.

Apart from the Press Council, the Alliance of Indonesian Independent Journalists (AJI) had also urged the government to deport Dandois and Bourrat to their country immediately.

"They were conducting research and had contacted sources before the coverage team had arrived at the site," Chairman of AJI Eko Maryadi noted.

AJI had asked the police and immigration offices to release the journalists and return their equipment.

Dandois and Bourrat were detained in Wamena by Papua Regional Police on August 6 for their alleged involvement with armed groups.

On August 12, Deputy Chief Police of Papua Brigadier General Paulus Waterpauw claimed that the journalists had been reporting and meeting a number of armed groups in Jayapura and Wamena.

Brig. Waterpauw said if the two foreigners, who posed as journalists, were found to be involved with armed groups, then they could be charged under criminal laws, in addition to immigration laws.

"We are still coordinating with the Immigration Office on whether the two French journalists might have disrupted the integrity of Indonesia," Brig. Waterpauw added.(*) 

3) Former West Sepik Governor wary of Indonesian link

Updated at 5:27 am today

The former Governor of West Sepik province in Papua New Guinea has sounded a note of caution about joint infrastructure projects with Indonesia.
PNG's national government is committing the country to joint roading, hydro and power projects with its neighbour, intended for the area around their common border.
PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says they see economic development as the best vehicle for solving border issues such as incursions by Indonesian military chasing Papuan rebels.
Mr Solo says he is weary of PNG entering into arrangements where it is dependent on Indonesia.
"But in the long run, we feel that we are not safe for safety risk. In terms of why I'm saying this, because when we got the problem with the Indonesian people, they can automatically shut down the whole operation and we'll have a blackout throughout the province and the country because they control the economy over there."
Simon Solo.

4) Outcry over intimidation of prominent Papuan lawyer

Intimidation of prominent Papuan lawyer and human rights defender Gustaf Kawer has provoked a local, national and international outcry. Mr Kawer, who has provided legal defence for numerous cases involving peaceful political activity and indigenous land disputes, has bizarrely been summoned by Papua police as a witness in a case against himself. The case has been brought by a court judge after Mr Kawer criticised the judge for ignoring his request for the trial to be delayed, to allow himself and his client to be present at the hearing of a case involving an indigenous land dispute with the government. To date Mr Kawer has received two summons from the police and is threatened with prosecution under Articles 211 and 212 of the Penal Code. If proceedings continue Mr Kawer could potentially face up to four years imprisonment.
On 2 September local civil society groups demonstrated to protest the attempts to harass Mr Kawer, calling for process to be halted. Meanwhile, the local Papua Coalition for Human Rights released an urgent appeal, as have several international organisations, including a joint appeal by TAPOL and the International Coalition for Papua. They called on authorities to ensure the safety and protection of human rights lawyer Gustaf Kawer; an end of the legal intimidation of Mr Gustaf Kawer; an investigation into the attempted criminalisation against him, and for full protection of Papuan human rights defenders.


Amnesty International hopeful its calls for Indonesian authorities to ease restrictions on freedom of expression are heeded.


Amnesty International has called on the Indonesian government to stop attacking freedom of expression in Papua.
That comes after a number of arrests of  pro-independence activists as well as two French journalists who were making a documentary on the independence movement.
Amnesty is also demanding justice for the murder of West Papuan pro-independence activist, Martinus Yohame, who was allegedly kidnapped by Indonesian security forces.
Amnesty's Josef Benedict told Koro Vaka'uta there is a history of rights violations in the region.
JOSEF BENEDICT:  What we have seen are restrictions on freedom of expression there where peaceful, political activists are not allowed to organise and to gather to express their views.  We often have seen a very strong response from the security forces and often the use of excessive force and also the issues around criminalisation of activists.  In the instance, we saw two students who basically just express themselves through pro-independence graphically who were arrested, detained, ill-treated.  We also have highlighted the case of a traditional council leader who met some journalists in Papua who is now being arrested for rebellion.
KORO VAKA'UTA:  I know Amnesty International has talked about the Criminal Code and possible changes to that.  How is the law used to clamp down in Papua?
JB:  There are several laws that have been used.  Particularly this rebellion law or what has been known as crimes against the security of the state, have been used quite arbitrarily in the last couple of years to imprison dozens of political activists, for as simple things as possession of the pro-independence Papuan flag or for raising it or for peaceful protest and so forth.  Amnesty obviously considers them as prisoners of conscience, people that express themselves peacefully, and have called for their release.  Some are in prison for as long as 15 years, you know.  Not just Amnesty but even a working group on arbitrary detention of the United Nations have also raised their concerns about the usage of these laws in the Papuan region.

KV:  The two French journalists who seem to be doing a documentary of sorts and they have been detained.  Have you heard about the state or anything about their detention?
JB:  What we've heard so far is that they've had access to lawyers who are currently working out with them their case and I think they will brought before, be charged and tried pretty soon for immigration violations.  Their case highlights a larger issue with the issue of access to the Papuan region.  Various foreign journalists have been denied access there over the years, including human rights organisations.  If there is no major conflict in the region, we don't see the need to restrict independent observers there.  Amnesty International have consistently called for all those who have been detained for their peaceful political activism or for freedom of expression to be immediately and unconditionally be released. But I think more importantly. what we need is independent investigations.  We've seen in numerous cases where incidences of human rights violations occur in the province where investigations are not carried out by independent bodies but by the police themselves.  And this in practice rarely leads to any form of prosecution and this has contributed to a culture of impunity in Papua where the security forces can get away with many things.                             

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