Tag Archives: Karma

Filep Karma refuses to take oath in Buchtar trial

JUBI, 26 July,2012


Filep Karma who has diligently fought for the basic rights of the Papuan indigenous people refused to take the oath when summoned as a witness in the ongoing trial of Buchtar Tabuni. He said that the court was a full of people who know only how to deceive and trick the Papuan people.

He said that his own declaration that he was speak the truth was enough. Both the prosecuting counsel and the judges urged Karna to take the other on the Bible but he refused to do so.

He said repeatedly that he did not want to acknowledge the law that was in the hands of people who were intent upon using deception. He reiterated his belief in God whose crown is embedded in within his own breast.

‘Jesus said, I am the word, the path towards  truth and life. I will offer my testimony on that basis,’ Karma told the court. However the judge failed to persuade Karma to take the oath in the way required by the court. He asked Karma whether he was willing to be a witness in the Buchtar Tabuni trial and if so he would have to take the oath as required.

Karma did not budge from his position and the judge therefore dismissed him as a witness and adjourned the hearing.

The next hearing in the trial will be held on 30 July.

A photo accompanying the article in JUBI shows Filep Karma in a discussion with Buchtar Tabuni outside the courthouse.]

[Abridged translation by TAPOL]


UN Declares Indonesia’s Detention Of Filep Karma A Violation Of International Law, Calls For Immediate Release

In response to a petition filed by Freedom Now and Hogan Lovells LLP, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued its opinion that the Government of Indonesia is in violation of international law by detaining Filep Karma. The Working Group calls on the Government of Indonesia to immediately release the human rights advocate.

Mr. Karma is a prominent Papuan human rights advocate and former civil servant arrested on December 1, 2004 for raising the Papuan Morning Star flag at a political rally in commemoration of Papuan independence from Dutch rule. Although Mr. Karma has explicitly denounced the use of violence, he was convicted for crimes of hostility against the state and sedition in a trial that fell far below international standards of due process. He now languishes in prison serving a fifteen-year sentence, despite health concerns and calls for his release by numerous NGOs and government officials. In August, 2011, 26 members of the U.S. Congress urged President Yudhoyono to release Mr. Karma. Forty members of Congress signed a similar letter in 2008. This week, President Obama will be in Indonesia attending the 2011 ASEAN Summit—which takes place November 17-19 in Bali—where many hope such human rights discussions will take place.

Freedom Now Executive Director Maran Turner stated: “The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found Indonesia’s actions a clear violation of international law. Mr. Karma is a nonviolent advocate who was arrested for his views and convicted in a trial marred by judicial bias, denial of appeal without reason, and intimidation tactics. I urge President Obama to raise Filep Karma’s case with President Yudhoyono and to call for Indonesia’s compliance with the UN opinion by releasing Filep Karma.”

The United Nations Working Group determined that Mr. Karma’s arrest was due to his exercise of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. According to the UN, provisions used to convict and detain Mr. Karma—including declaring “feelings of hate”—were “drafted in such general and vague terms that they can be used arbitrarily to restrict the freedoms of opinion, expression, assembly and association.” Such a detention violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a multi-party treaty by which Indonesia is bound, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Working Group also censured the Government of Indonesia for violating Mr. Karma’s right to a fair trial.

The opinion concluded by calling the Government’s attention to broader human rights violations in Indonesia, for which Filep Karma’s situation is emblematic, stating, “The Working Group will remind The Republic of Indonesia of its duties to comply with international human rights obligations not to detain arbitrarily, to release persons who are arbitrarily detained, and to provide compensation to them.”

Freedom Now, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to free prisoners of conscience, and Hogan Lovells LLP, an international law firm, welcome the UN’s decision. They call on the Indonesian government to uphold its commitments under international law and immediately release Mr. Karma.

Source: Freedom Now