14 May 2012

US Congressman speaks out for jailed Papuan leaders in Indonesia

3:00 pm on 14 May 2012

A member of the United States Congress is urging Washington to encourage Indonesia to release political prisoners in Papua such as the so-called 'Jayapura Five'.

The five Papuans were jailed for three years on treason charges after declaring an independent state at last October's Papuan People's Congress.

This peaceful gathering was stormed by Indonesian security forces, resulting in at least three deaths.

American Samoa's Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has confirmed US concern about the actions of security forces.

He says a group of congressmen have petitioned the President and Secretary of State.

"And our request, those of us who are very supportive of the political rights and human rights conditions pertaining to West Papua in Indonesia, and the assurance at least that the State Department has given us is that they're working towards it. Although part of the problem is that you can't just make demands and expect that the host country is going to do it."

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin