22 Dec 2003

Indonesian government accused of abducting separatist flag raisers

11:21 am on 22 December 2003

A human rights group has accused police and prosecutors of abducting 13 people detained in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua for having flown a separatist flag.

Ronny Tapilatu of the Jayapura-based rights group, Elsham, says the thirteen, all civic leaders from Wamena, were taken without any warrant by police and prosecutors to Jayapura after the Sunday service at the Wamena state jail,

He says the group's deputy director was told by one of the detainees that the prosecutors wanted to take them to Jakarta

A group of lawyers from Elsham met the group at the Jayapura airport but failed to secure their return to Wamena or their release.

The thirteen were arrested after they took part in a ceremony to fly the separatist "Morning Star" flag of the state of West Papua.

The Indonesian government considers the raising of the separatist flag an act of treason.