Selected postings from east-timor (reg.easttimor)

Subject: President advised to ignore letter from US Congressmen

also Selections from reg.easttimor (ETAN/U.S.) 2006, Selections from reg.easttimor (ETAN/U.S.) 2006

08/08/08 00:26

President advised to ignore letter from US Congressmen

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The chairman of the House of Representatives (DPR)`s Inter-parliamentary Cooperation Body, Abdillah Toha, said it was not necessary for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to respond to a letter from 40 members of the US Congress about two separatists in Papua.

"The reason is that it is something normal for US Congressmen to write just for the sake of pleasing their constituents," he told ANTARA here on Thursday in response to a letter from 40 US Congressmen to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The contents of the letter asked for the immediate release of two Papuan separatists unconditionally. They were Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage. The letter was addressed to Dr H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Toha said if the government really wanted to respond to the letter, the president had to tell them about the condition of the law and the court in Indonesia in the sense that the president could not intervene in an ongoing legal process.

Toha who is known as a senior politician and one of the founders of the National Mandate Party (PAN) elaborated the third reason as a criticism over the US letter.

For Indonesia, the unitary state of Indonesia (NKRI) was a final answer and it could not be negotiated. "Those who violate the law by conducting such separatism are liable to legal process, " he said.

Then, fourth reason had to do with a call for the US Congressmen to handle human rights violation in that country like cases in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan.(*)


8/08/08 13:21

Papua legislator dismisses US Congressmen`s demand for release of OPM supporters

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - A provincial Papua legislator said US Congressmen should not interfere in an Indonesian court`s decision regarding Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage, two Papua residents who were detained in 2004 for involvement in activities supporting the outlawed separatist OPM (Free Papua Organization).

"From the judicial point of view, the request made by a number of US congressmen is obviously an act of interference in Indonesian law," Ramses Wally, deputy chairman of Papua`s Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD)`s Commission A, said here on Friday.

Some 40 US Congressmen have sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono demanding the "immediate and unconditional" release of two sympathizers of the outlawed separatist OPM (Free Papua Organization), Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage.

Other countries cannot interfere in an Indonesian court`s decision because Indonesia is a sovereign country including in law enforcement, Wally siad.

"I think the US Congressmen`s request is a political rather than a legal move. They claimed they were acting based on the human rights point of view. The question is which human rights has Indonesia violated by sentencing Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage?" Wally said commenting on the US congressmen`s letter.

He said the human rights issue must not be misused to defend a political interest, namely the wish to see Indonesia`s disintegration.

Freedom of expression could be done by writing a letter, holding discussion or dialog, instead of hoisting a flag of OPM which symbolized separatism, he said.

Wally, who is also the chief of the Simporo Babrongko tribe, said the US Congressmen`s move was part of a political game mobilized by some international NGOs which were trying to internationalize the Papua issue so that Papua could break away from Indonesia.

He said the Indonesian nation must always be aware of such a political maneuver and united to reject the attempt of the US Congressmen who tried to undermine Indonesia`s legal system for a certain political purpose.

"We must not be discouraged in rejecting the political moves of the US Congressmen who asked for the release of political detainees Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage. As a sovereign country, we must not allow any country to dictate us, especially in the legal enforcement," he said. (*)


08/07/08 21:32

President yet to receive US Congressmen's letter on Papua

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has yet to receive a letter said to have been sent by US Congressmen demanding the "immediate and unconditional" release of two sympathizers of the outlawed separatist OPM (Free Papua Organization), a presidential spokesman said.

"Until now, we have not received it. We have checked with the Foreign Ministry and the US Embassy here but neither of them knows about it," Dino Patti Djalal said on Thursday.

Dino was commenting on a report that some 40 US Congressmen had sent a letter to President Yudhoyono demanding the "immediate and unconditional" release of two OPM sympathizers identified as Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage.

"We, the undersigned, members of the U.S. Congress, respectfully call to your attention the cases of Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage who, in May 2005, were convicted and sentenced for their involvement in the legitimate and peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression in Abepura, Papua, on December 1, 2004," the US Congressmen said in their joint letter.

"We urge you to take action to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Karma and Mr. Pakage," the letter said.

Indonesian Ambassador to the US Sudjadnan Parnohadingrat confirmed the US congressmen had sent a letter to President Yudhoyono.

"It`s true. The letter was dated July 29, 2008, and sent through us. We passed it on to Jakarta," Sudjadnan told ANTARA on Wednesday.

Dino admitted that the letter had already been published in the East Timor and Indonesian Action Network (ETAN)`s website.

He questioned the ETAN`s interest in meddling in the issue of Papua, the more so because East Timor had seceded from the Unitary Republic of Indonesia.

The current security conditions in Papua were relatively stable and special autonomy for the country`s easternmost province was running well, he said.

"The US Congress must look at this. Please respect the stability there and the government`s independency with regard to the Papua issue," he said.

Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage were sentenced to 15 years and 10 years imprisonment respectively in May 2005 for hoisting the "Bintang Kejora" (Morning Star) flag of OPM in Abepura, Papua, on December 1, 2004.(*)


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