24 Oct 2014

French journalists in Papua convicted, but will be freed on Monday

8:27 pm on 24 October 2014

Reports from Indonesia say the two French journalists have been convicted for misusing their tourist visas to work in Papua but will be freed on Monday.

Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were arrested in August for working as journalists in Papua illegally and put on trial this week.

The prosecution asked for the two to be jailed for four months for the visa breach which can be punished with up to five years imprisonment.

French media reports say the court in Jayapura sentenced them to two and a half in prison - a term, which will see them free on Monday.

The two were working for the German-French television station, Arte.

Their arrest was denounced by media organisation and human rights groups, with Human Rights Watch saying the Indonesia's chokehold on Papua media coverage has effectively turned foreign journalism in the province into a criminal activity.

A foreign ministry official has said foreign journalists who intended to report from across Indonesia must apply for a permit to the Indonesian representative in the countries where they come from.

The official says 18 ministries and related institutions are involved in the process of issuing a permit.