10 Sep 2010

Indonesian President's response to campaign on Papuan political prisoners disappoints

2:54 pm on 10 September 2010

There's no sign that Indonesia's government will release any more political prisoners in Papua region despite a large campaign pressing the President on the issue.

At least 45 Papuans are known to be incarcerated in prisons in Papua and West Papua provinces for their involvement in non-violent demonstrations or expressions of opinion.

In July, Indonesian authorities released two political prisoners jailed for pushing for independence of Papua.

Last month, an open letter to the President from two dozen international and local NGOs working for human rights requested the release of all Papuan political prisoners.

However according to human rights observer Andreas Harsono, President Yudhyono's response is disappointing.

"The President did not release any political prisoners. What he did release then were graft convicts, corruptino convicts. Three-hundred and forty-one graft convicts received jail (term) reduction."

Andreas Harsono