Sambom: ‘Imprisonment will never silence Papuans’

JUBI, 19 March 2012
A leading Papuan human rights  activist has said that the Indonesian government will never be able to silence the Papuan struggle by putting Papuans behind bars. On the contrary, he said, it has the reverse effect by making people more determined than ever.

Sebby Sambom made these comments in an interview with JUBI in connection with the three-year sentence given to Forkorus Yaboisembut and his four colleagues last week.

‘Indonesia has neither the power nor the legal means to punish Papuans by silencing them with regard to their aspirations for an Independent Papua,’ he said.

He said that whenever Papuans take action, they are brought before the court and given a prison sentence. This is the way the government behaves which is simply unacceptable. Even though Papuans have done nothing wrong, they are thrown into prison.’

He said that any Papuan who takes action faces the prospect of being jailed. People keep on being arrested, put on trial and thrown into prison but this will never silence the Papuan people.

He went on to say that  as the number of Papuans being held behind bars goes on increasing , this will help to alert the international community to get involved in solving the Papuan issue.

‘With all these political prisoners,’ he said, ‘international support will become more positive.’

Sebby said that Forkorus  is a loyal Papuan leader who is very serious about the Papuan struggle. ‘He is doing everything he possibly can to bring an end to our sufferings,’ His attitude was very clear from the remarks he made after the verdict was announced. ‘We were pleased with the verdict and our struggle will continue,’ said Sambom.

Translated by TAPOL

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