20 Sep 2018

Polish man arrested in Papua denies conspiracy allegations

4:16 pm on 20 September 2018

A Polish man arrested in Papua province by Indonesian police has denied that he conspired to overthrow the government.

Jakub Skrzypski, a 39-year Polish citizen visiting Papua as a tourist, was arrested in Wamena in late August on suspicion of being a journalist.

Jakub Skrzypski Photo: Facebook

Jakub Skrzypski was arrested in Wamena last month on suspicion of arranging an arms deal with the West Papua Liberation Army.

A West Papuan man, Simon Magal, was arrested in Timika in connection to the Polish national.

Skrzypski's lawyer, Latifah Anum Siregar, told BenarNews that he has rejected all the accusations, and the conspiracy charges.

Latifah said her client had "never campaigned for the Papuan separatists nor did he support Papuan independence".

She said he had never been involved in any military training and was not an arms dealer.

This comes as police extended the Polish man's detention for 40 days for further investigation.

Police say Skrzypski could be charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government.

If found guilty, he could face life or 20 years in prison.

Latifah described the accusations as "reckless" and after meeting Skrzypski in recent days described her client as "depressed."

"We are still delving into the case," national police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said, adding that the Pole would eventually be tried in Papua.

Dedi said Skrzypski was not a journalist and had only posted stories about Papua on Facebook and other social media networks.

"He's just an ordinary tourist, but he communicated with the Violent Criminal Group and offered to supply weapons and ammunition, but that has not happened and chances of that happening are slim," Dedi said, using the law enforcement term for the rebel group.

"He also told stories about Papua to his compatriots back in Poland in the hope that they would go viral," he said.

Skrzypski had received consular assistance from the Polish embassy in Jakarta. The embassy did not respond to an email sent by BenarNews.

Last week, a police spokesman told reporters that police seized hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a mobile phone and documents, which included information about the types of weapons and ammunition needed by the Liberation Army.

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