Hopes more Papua prisoners to be freed - Solomon Star News

Hopes more Papua prisoners to be freed

20 November 2015

RNZI: Amnesty International New Zealand says there's no doubt that mounting international pressure played a part in the release of West Papua's most high profile political prisoner after a decade in jail.

Filep Karma was yesterday freed from a prison on the outskirts of Jayapura, the capital of Indonesia's Papua province, to an emotional welcome by hundreds of cheering supporters.

Amnesty New Zealand's activism manager Margaret Taylor says Karma, who was jailed for raising a pro-independence flag at a political ceremony in 2004, should never have been detained in the first place.

She says they are hopeful that increasing international attention on Papua might lead to the release of more prisoners of conscience.

"Filep was quite high profile but there are any other number of prisoners of conscience in Papua and of course president Widodo has made a number of visits to that province and has made a commitment to address human rights abuses there and not least releasing some prisoners of conscience."

Margaret Taylor says Filep Karma could have been released at anytime in the last 10 years if he agreed he had any degree of guilt but declined and is being released on his own terms.