Press Release – Karma family
for Medical Treatment
Jakarta, Indonesia [27 September 2012].
Filep Karma, a political prisoner of conscience from Papua, has attended a two-week medical treatment in Jakarta hospital and now is back in the Abepura prison in West Papua. He arrived in Jakarta on September 14 and took a colonoscopy treatment in PGI Cikini hospital, Jakarta.
Indonesian physicians in Jayapura, who earlier examined Karma with simple equipment, suspected that he has a colon tumor. As it is not possible to conduct a colonoscopy in West Papua the physicians referred him to the hospital in Jakarta.
Karma was imprisoned in 2004 and is serving 15 years in prison for participating in a peaceful independence demonstration and for raising the Morning Star flag, an important Papuan symbol of independence.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared him a political prisoner in September 2011, asking the Indonesian government to immediately and unconditionally release Karma. The government, however, denies the existence of “political prisoners” in Indonesia. His injuries were sustained from acts of torture inflicted on him while in prison. He also injured his hip during a falling in 2006.
It took nearly six months for Karma to be able to be transferred to Jakarta despite this referral. Abepura prison officials, under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, have refused to cover cost of his medical treatment and travel. The Indonesian government’s refusal to cover his costs is in direct contravention of national and international law.
According to United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Principle 24), and Indonesian law (Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners’ Rights in Prisons) it is required that all medical costs for treatment of a prisoner at a hospital be borne by the State.
Despite the Abepura prison authorities recently giving permission for Karma to travel to Jakarta, they still refuse to cover the cost of his medical treatment and travel. Funds have been raised through donations from the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund (London), Rev. Socratez Yoman’s church service (Timika), STT Walter Post (Jayapura) and many individuals.
Not only Karma, there are seven political prisoners in Papua with variety of illness. They are Apotnagolik Lokobal (stroke); Ferdinand Pakage (stroke); Forkorus Yaboisembut (impaired vision); Kanius Murib (memory loss); Kimanus Wenda (hernia); Jefrai Murib (stroke); and Yusak Pakage (indigestion). Karma urges the Indonesia government should release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and give them the proper medical treatment.
(Note from Andreas Harsono/ HRW: Note: Filep Karma finished his medication on Tuesday and returned to Jayapura Wednesday night. He has arrived safe and sound in Jayapura Thursday morning. But he’s back to his Abepura prison. A number of family members, assistants and friends helped his hospitalization in Jakarta. I am sending you some photos from his medical treatment in Jakarta as well as the airport departure in Jakarta. His sister Margaretha, daughter Audryne (and her boy friend), assistants Cyntia Warwe and Soleman travelled with him back to Jayapura.
- Police disperse humanitarian action in Jayapura (westpapuamedia.info)
- Filep Karma refuses to take oath in Buchtar trial (westpapuamedia.info)
- State must safeguard the health of political prisoners, says Parjal (westpapuamedia.info)
- Etan: Letter to Secretary of State Clinton on West Papua Concerns (netarumtelebe.wordpress.com)