1 Sep 2006

Church protests outside Papua prison

3:48 pm on 1 September 2006

An Indonesian church is staging a protest outside Abepura prison in Papua over conditions in which nine Papuan students are being held in police custody.

The Protestant church Gereja Kristen Indonesia, or GKI, has set up camp outside the prison with hundreds of supporters.

The nine are charged in connection with the murder of four Indonesian policemen and an intelligence officer during a violent demonstration in Abepura in March.

The nine boycotted their trial yesterday after allegedly being assaulted by police as they were being returned to prison from court on Monday.

The Foreign Affairs spokesman for the Papua National Authority, Jacob Rumbiak, says the GKI has issued two demands to the government:

"Cornelis Berotabui, he's the head of the GKI now. He said he would leave the prison (protest) when the government pulls out from their decision to move the nine students from the prison to military custody and then also when the government guarantee the nine prisoners or student movement security."

Jacob Rumbiak of the Papua National Authority.