Indonesia Respect Rights of Papuan Prisoners Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni
December 9, 2010 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and the West
Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) urge the Indonesian Government to respect the
rights of and end the persecution of internationally recognized prisoners of
conscience Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni who were transferred from Abepura
Prison to Jayapura Police Headquarters on December 3.
ETAN and WPAT also urge the U.S. government to use its considerable
influence with the Indonesian government and police, deriving in part from
its extensive assistance to and training of the police, to ensure that
persecution of these prisoners of conscience ceases.
The transfer of Karma, Tabuni and several other prisoners to the police
headquarters followed a riot at the prison which in turn was prompted by the
killing of one of five prisoners who had escaped the previous day. The
authorities are accusing the two activists of inciting the riot. However,
reliable reports says that Karma and Tabuni had sought to calm the situation
at the prison.
Karma is serving a 15-year sentence for raising a Papuan flag in 2004, while
Buchtar Tabuni is serving a three-year sentence after supporting the launch
of International Parliamentarians for West Papua in October 2008.
ETAN and WPAT urge the U.S. government
to use its considerable influence with the Indonesian government and police
-- deriving in part from its extensive assistance to and training of the
police -- to ensure that persecution of these prisoners of conscience
Since their transfer to the police headquarters Karma and Tabuni
reportedly have had very limited contact with their families and no contact
with legal counsel. Karma has launched a hunger strike in support of his
demand for proper treatment for himself, Tabuni and the other transferred
prisoners, including access to adequate food or drink.
ETAN and WPAT note that Article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights requires that "All persons who are deprived of their
freedom must be treated humanely and with respect for their dignity as human
beings." ETAN and WPAT also note that under Indonesian regulations Karma
and Tabuni are entitled to correspond with and receive visits from their
families, legal counsel and others.
ETAN and WPAT are also deeply concerned that the Indonesian authorities may
seek to pursue charges against Karma and Tabuni related to the prison riot.
Such a course would be particularly ironic insofar as the Indonesian
authorities have failed to prosecute the security force personnel who were
recorded torturing two Papuans in May 2010.
Observers in West Papua are concerned that the authorities may transfer
Karma and Tabuni to the infamous Nusakembangan prison in Java, where violent
criminals are incarcerated. As nonviolent prisoners of conscience, Karma and
Tabuni would be at risk. Such a transfer would also make it much more
difficult for their families and counsel to monitor their welfare. ETAN and
WPAT strongly urge that Karma and Tabuni not be transferred out of West
Contact: Ed McWilliams - 401-568-5845
John M. Miller (ETAN) -917-690-4391
West Papua Report
Human Rights Watch:
Indonesia: Explain Transfer of Imprisoned Activists