Wednesday, September 3, 2014

AWPA has written to the Indonesian President concerning the intimidation against human rights lawyer Gustaf Kawer

AWPA has written to the Indonesian President concerning the intimidation against human rights lawyer Gustaf Kawer

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
 PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of the Republic of Indonesia

Jl. Veteran No. 16

Jakarta Pusat

3 September 2014

Dear  President Yudhoyono,
AWPA is writing to you concerning the well-known human rights lawyer Gustaf Kawer who has received two summonses to the police office in Jayapura in the past few days. It is understood that fellow lawyers suspect there is an attempt to intimidate Gustaf from doing his important work as a human rights defender. 

A democratic society should listen to and respect anyone who advocates for the protection of human rights, including lawyers, journalists and civil society representatives as the can only benefit society by showing that justice is seen to be done. The demand for legal assistance from civil society can be enormous, and despite the workload Gustaf is committed to providing assistance to those in need.

On June 12th 2014, a court case for his client was held, even though Gustaf had requested an adjournment due to another court case that he had to attend at the same time. The judges decided to proceed with the hearing against  Gustaf’s client even do Gustaf was not present. After being informed of this, Gustaf immediately made his way to the courtroom and objected to the board of judges. The police have now informed Gustaf that a complaint has been filed due to his alleged disruptive and insulting behaviour in the courtroom. Several fellow lawyers fear that this is part of a plan to prevent Kawer from doing his important work.

The letter from the Crime Department of the Papuan Regional Police refer to the criminal charges on "Crimes Against Public Authority", as defined in the articles 211 and 212 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP), as legal basis for the investigation. The case indicates that judges at the Jayapura State Administrative Court and the Papuan Regional Police are trying to criminalize Gustaf Kawer with the purpose to hinder his work as human rights lawyer.

We urge you to contact the Crimes Department of the Papuan Regional Police urging them to drop any charges against Gustaf and remind them of their duty to guarantee that human rights defenders can carry out their work without fear of violence and threats, as established in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney)
Indonesian Embassy Canberra
Australian Embassy Jakarta
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