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Arrests in West Papua will Continue through Christmas

Continuing Arrest in West Papua

Sydney, 17th December 2010

A group calling itself the Council of Western Melanesia with the leadership of Melkianus Bleskadit celebrated the Melanesia Nations anniversary on Tuesday 14th December by raising the Fourteen Star flag. Eight people, Melkianus Bleskadit, Priest Dance Yenu and six students from Papua University were arrested by the police during this anniversary in Manokwari, West Papua. The Head of Public Relations, Papua Police Sr. Comr Wachyono said "Yes they would be subject to the Article about treason if found guilty, but for a while they are still checked, we wait the results later". Mr Bleskadit, the Secretary General of the Council of Western Melanesia has not eaten and drunk since he was arrested up to today (16/12) in Manokwari police detention, meanwhile his wife brought some meal for him, the police hold the food.

Meanwhile, Simon Risyard Banundi was also arrested by the police; he was covering the anniversary as a human rights lawyer by using a digital camera belong to LP3BH. The camera was also confiscated by the police officer. Simon Risyard Banundi is a human rights lawyer who works with Research, Assessment and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH) Manokwari as an Executive Assistant for the Information and Documentation Division. Mr Banundi is also a member of the Indonesian Advocates Association (PERADIN, Persatuan Advokat Indonesia).

In this past year, Mr Banundi has strongly criticised the performance of local police and also the military, as part of LP3BH’s program on police and military reform. Recently he wrote a media release to criticise the head of district police in Manokwari and the Police Brigade known as BRIMOB, because a member of Brimob consumed alcohol with a member of the local community in the area of Fanindi-Manokwari (close to Banundi’s office, LP3BH). Afterward a member of the community carried the gun belong to Brimob, and he opened fire in the air, scaring the local community. The media release made the police district chief offended.
President Yudhoyono issued regulation number 77 of 2007; this regulation especially article 6, paragraph 4 is prohibits any display of separatist symbols, as a result of this policy several people in West Papua and Maluku were charged.

Mr Yan Christian Warinusi is a prominent human rights lawyer and a director of LP3BH where Mr Banundi works, Mr Warinusi visited to Australia from 22nd to 26th February 2010 by invitation of Indonesian Solidarity.

ENDS

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