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Students Detained & Demonstration In Jayapura

Students detained & demonstration in Jayapura today

A demonstration involving about 500 West Papuan people was reported to have occurred in Abepura today [22 April 2008]. Large numbers of Brimob (Para-military police) and Military were visible in and around the Jayapura and also the rural districts of Deparpre, Dempta and Genyem this morning.

Police and Military reportedly stopped large groups of people who sought to attend the demonstration. These reports said that 300 people were stopped in Boroway outside Sentani, who were from Genyem, Yuk and Lereh Districts. Another group of 300 people from Kerom District were stopped by the army at the Tami River.

The West Papuan student organisation Front Pepera, was reported to have organised the demonstration and was demanding that the Republic of Indonesian recognise West Papuan sovereignty back to the year 1961. Front Pepera was reported to be demanding that the Indonesian Government begin to negotiations about sovereignty with the West Papuan people.

Police arrested 7 students as they were unfurling banners at 10.30 am this morning. The names of arrested students are Yosias Yeimo 22, Benyamin Sabu 30, Nebon Pahabol 25, Marthen Goo 29, Santon Tekege 27, Emilianus (Demianus) Keiya 27 and Gunawan Inggeruhi 22.

The students were taken by heavily armed police to Jayapura police station at 11.30 today after being detained in Abepura Police Station.

A group of three human rights lawyers: Alo Renwarin Els-ham, Aberth Rumbekwan Komnas Ham and Gustav Kawer are representing the group at the main Police Station in Jayapura.

Mr Renwarin has reported that Police have said they would release the group tomorrow after 24 hours. Mr Renwarin said that the Police said group were being treated as witnesses at this stage and would not been charged.

The students had refused to answer questions from the local Military commander in the Abepura before being transferred to Jayapura police station.

Serious concern is held about the detention of this group.

Other West Papuans who have been first held as witness have been charged with subversion related crimes.

There are now 20 West Papuans political prisoners who have been detained for involvement in peaceful demonstrations in recent months. A group of six demonstrators has been convicted in Timika and there are two groups in Manokwari and Jayapura awaiting trial.

We are advised that concerned persons should contact the police station in Jayapura to support the release of the 7 students.

ENDS

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