16 Oct 2014

Leniency call for journalists on trial in West Papua

2:50 pm on 16 October 2014

Reporters without Borders has again called on Indonesia to display leniency and dismiss all charges against two French journalists accused of violating their travel permits in West Papua.

Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois are to go on trial on Monday in the Indonesian provincial capital Jayapura on a charge of misusing an entry visa.

They were arrested in early August for working as journalists after entering the country on tourist visas.

Reporters Without Borders says in the past, the Indonesian authorities have usually just expelled journalists caught doing this.

The group says Indonesia cannot pride itself on being the world's third biggest democracy without respecting fundamental freedoms and human rights.

It points out that restricting the freedom of movement of journalists is a breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Indonesia signed in 2006.

According to West Papua Media Alerts, 66 West Papuan activists were arrested by Indonesian Police in Jayapura and Merauke on Monday, as rallies in support of the journalists attracted thousands of people across the region.