One of the eight West Papuan activists who raised the banned Morning Star flag last December has died.
Zode Hilapok's death was confirmed by a relative, Christianus Dogopia, who said that since being detained, Hilapok's health had been deteriorating.
Dogopia said that on December 12, 2021, his relative began experiencing symptoms of illness, feeling fatigued and sleepy. At that time, Hilapok lost weight dramatically.
"At that time he ate only rice, without side dishes, or with vegetables but in small portions. Otherwise, his stomach hurt or he would become nauseated. His bowel movements were bloody," Dogopia said.
Hilapok and seven friends, all aged between 18 and 29, were arrested by police on December 1, 2021, when they marched in front of the Papua Police headquarters carrying Morning Star flags and banners.
The flag was considered a symbol of the West Papua struggle for independence and has been strictly barred by the Indonesian authorities.
The treason case against Zode Hilapok was never tried because he was ill. He died at Yowari Hospital on October 22.
In August, the other seven were found guilty of treason and sentenced to 10 months in prison from the day they were detained. They were released in September.
His death comes as the West Papuan leader Buchtar Tabuni was arrested by Indonesian police.