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5 West Papuan prisoners granted clemency/media bans lifted

5 West Papuan prisoners granted clemency/media bans lifted for foreign journalists wanting to visit West Papua.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, "although this first small step is encouraging, we should be cautious of Jokiei's motives. Until all West Papuan political prisoners are unconditionally released and the lifting of travel ban restrictions confirmed by journalists, we cannot be sure that this is not simply a stunt by the Indonesian President who has received international condemnation because of his policy on the death penalty for drug offences".

According to Papuans behind bars there were still 38 political prisoners in Papuan jails at the end of March.

To receive clemency or pardon, prisoners have to admit guilt before it is granted. Political Prisoners such as Filep Karma one of the most well known political prisoner in West Papua has refused clemency (as have the majority of political prisoners) as they refuse to admit any guilt in return for a release.

In 2013, 26 political prisoners held at the Abepura Prison refused a clemency from former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stating in a letter delivered to Yudhoyono "that they plan to remain incarcerated until Papua is granted its freedom". The Jakarta Globe (4 June 2013) reported at the time “The do not want [clemency] because they seek Papua’s freedom, not individual freedom".

Joe Collins said, " We must remember that as recently as the 1 May over 260 West Papuans were arrested simply because they were taking part in peaceful rallies to mark that tragic day in West Papuan history when West Papua was handed over by the UN to Indonesian administration. I think there is a long way to go before we can be sure how committed Jokiwi is to helping the West Papuan people".

AWPA calls on the Indonesia Government to grant an amnesty to all West Papuan political prisoners, releasing them immediately and unconditionally. Only then can we know if Jokiwi is serious in trying to solve the problems in West Papua.


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