Filep Karma referred to Jakarta hospital with a suspected colonic tumour: NKRI refuses to pay

from West Papua Media’s correspondent at Abepura Prison (with Eds)

April 16, 2012

Filep Karma referred to Cikini hospital in Jakarta

Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma, in prison for 7 years on treason charges after raising the banned Morning Star independence flag, has been referred to Cikini hospital in Jakarta for three months to undergo medical treatment.

However he must undergo treatment in Jakarta, because Dock 2 hospital in Jayapura lacks colonoscopy equipment to diagnose the condition of Filep Karma. Healthcare in Papua is poorly funded and supplied, if at all, and health workers are rarely paid properly.

Hospitalised in Jayapura’s Dok 2 hospital since 2008, FIlep Karma has been gaoled in atrocious conditions and subjected to early routine torture by Indonesian security forces and prison officers, including beatings causing internal injuries.  His health has been declining since 2008 due to numerous hunger strikes and illness caused by prison conditions in Abepura prison.

Karma has been complaining of a lump in his gut over the last 3 years. Since an operation was performed on 2 November 2011, Karma has continued to pass significant blood in his stools.

Karma has been referred by the Dok 2 Head of Trauma to the Department of Surgery Specialist, Dr D. Arnold, Sp.B (K) BD, in Cikini. Filep had already been undergoing treatment in Jakarta separately for his prostrate. On 13 April 2012, Dr Hidayathu Samawi, the general practitioner in Abepura prison, called Karma to his rooms. Dr Hidayathu said that Karma must provide a letter of permission from the family to consent to the treatment of Jakarta, and the Letter to commit the family to bear the full cost of treatment and transport to Jakarta.

Karma in this case ask for the Abepura Prison to issue a letter that the prisons are not able to bear the cost of treatment in Jakarta, but Dr. Hidayathu said that the prison would not certify its refusal to bear the cost of treatment in Jakarta.

During prison visiting hours at Abepura, Filep Karma told West Papua Media’s correspondent, “I was detained by the State of Indonesia, for 15 years, why are they unable to bear the cost of my treatment in Jakarta.  My case in July 2010, it was the same, treatment not covered by the State.  Abepura prison officials alone cannot issue a statement that they can’t afford the cost to Jakarta, yet I hardly have the foundation (strength) to have resort to outside solidarity as my only choice to help me for medical expenses to Jakarta,” said Karma.

The Indonesian government has an obligation to provide adequate healthcare to political prisoners.  According to Amnesty International, under Indonesian Government Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners’ Rights in Prisons, all medical costs for treatment of a prisoner at a hospital must be borne by the state, also in accordance with the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Principle 24) .

In late February, in response to a petition filed by Freedom Now, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued its opinion that the Government of Indonesia is in violation of international law by detaining Filep Karma. Amongst many other international voices, the Working Group called on the Government of Indonesia to immediately release the human rights advocate.



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