13 Jun 2013

West Papuan activist released from police custody

12:18 pm on 13 June 2013

A leading West Papuan activist, Buchtar Tabuni, has been released from custody, a day after being arrested when Indonesian police forcibly stopped a demonstration in Jayapura.

Mr Tabuni was among about 50 demonstrators holding a rally in front of Cenderawasih University in the Papuan provincial capital, calling for West Papuans to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

It's unclear why Buchtar Tabuni was arrested, however reports emerging from Papua indicate he was severely beaten by police while in custody.

The police public relations head of Papua, Commissioner Gede Jaya Sumerta, said he was not aware of the arrest.

Mr Tabuni was part of a peaceful demonstration last weekend to support the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in New Caledonia next week, which will consider the West Papuan application for membership.