Four arrested for ‘treason’ after prayer session in West Papua

In West Papua four community leaders who attended a church meeting to pray for activists aboard the West Papua Freedom Flotilla are to be charged with treason and could be given long jail terms, it emerged on Friday.

The flotilla is sailing from Australia to draw attention to human rights abuses under Indonesian rule and plans to land in the coming weeks in the West Papua town of Merauke.

The four were told by police that they would be charged with treason but were released on condition that they report to Sorong police station twice a week.

The charge carries a long jail term in Indonesia.

One of the arrested, Yohanes Goram, said the group had been treated well during their 24-hour detention.

“I think they treated us kindly because of international attention,” he said.

The head of police at Sorong, Harry Goldenhard, confirmed the charges to Guardian Australia and said the four had been arrested after the banned Morning Star flag was raised following the church service.

“We asked that this activity be stopped and requested that those responsible go to the police headquarters, where they would be asked to give an explanation,” he said on the phone from Sorong.

“After a 24-hour investigation we determined that the suspects … are subject to articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code on treason.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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