8 Jan 2018

Jailed West Papuan gets trial date after 6 months in prison

3:51 pm on 8 January 2018

A West Papua independence campaigner, held for over six months without charges, is due in court tomorrow.

no caption

Photo: RNZI

Yanto Awerkion was arrested on 23 June last year because of his involvement with a petition calling for independence from Indonesia.

He is due to face charges of treason, and if convicted could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison.

The exiled West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda is calling for Mr Awerkion's "unconditional and immediate release" and for better scrutiny from the international community.

The former New Zealand Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said supporting a petition to talk about a referendum for West Papuans was not treasonous.

"This young man is a symbol of the abuse of power and the state sanctioned colonisation and most people don't even know about it and don't know where it is."

Yanto Awerkion's trial is due to take place in Timika, in Indonesia's Papua Province.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs