Recovering the State of West Papua, Sentenced to Three Years in Jail

Recovering the State of West Papua, Sentenced to Three Years in Jail

by John Pakage for West Papua Media

Op-Ed

Forkorus Yoboisembut, Edison Gladius Waromi, Agustinus M. Sananay Kraar,
Selpius Bobii and Dominikus Sorabut were sentenced to three years in prison, Friday (16/3). They were charged with founding the independent state of West Papua.

However according to the accused, the Third Papuan Congress simply affirmed the Papuan independence that was in place before Indonesia entered Papua.

“The Congress merely renewed the independence of Papua that was previously in place before Indonesia came to Papua” stated Forkorus to Cermin Papua in Jayapura (16/3).

Therefore, according to Forkorus, it is Indonesia that should be accused of subversion, given how it used military force to enter Papua.

The public knows that the Third Congress took place with official Indonesian government permit, from both Jakarta and regional police, authorizing the holding of the Congress in Jayapura.

Even though this official permit was granted, Indonesian police and military still attacked and captured Congress participants that were present at the time, without first issuing any warrant as required by the law.

Before the conviction and sentencing, the Papuan Customary Council (Dewan Adat Papua) asked the government to liberate the five accused in accordance with the UN’s Human Rights regulation of 2007 which affirms the right to self-determination of indigenous nations, including the West Papuan nation.

Representing the accused, attorney Gustaf Kawer stated that since the Third Congress until today, Papua has yet to exit Indonesia, such that the Congress must be considered as an expression of the democratic right to free speech.

“Until now Papua is still part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia; therefore though the accused are convicted of subversion, these accusations are unfounded” said Kawer.

Reacting to the three year prison sentencing, the accused rejected the decision and stated their intention to continue to seek justice.

CP/ John Pakage

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