Indonesian bishop backs priest questioned for treason

Indonesian Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar of Jayapura has expressed support for a priest recently questioned by police on treason charges for leading a prayer service attended by members of an alleged Papuan separatist group.

Father John Djonga appeared at the police station in Wamena on Feb. 26 after consulting with the bishop. Accompanied by a lawyer, he answered 55 questions from two police officers during the four-hour meeting.

The police summoned Father Djonga on Feb. 19, four days after he led a prayer service to inaugurate the office building of the Papuan Customary Council, where a banner of the separatist United Liberation Movement for West Papua was displayed. However, he refused to appear at that time, telling police to contact his superiors at the diocese instead.

“He had nothing to do with political matters,” Bishop Ladjar told Feb. 27.

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