APSN Banner

Dozens released from Wamena prison in Papua

Radio New Zealand - April 3, 2020

Indonesian authorities have released dozens of prisoners from a main prison in West Papua's highlands.

Thirty prisoners were released from Wamena prison, as authorities seek to prevent the spread of covid-19 in Indonesia's overcrowded jails.

However the prison has not released a Polish man, Jakub Skrzypski, serving a seven-year sentence for treason after being arrested in 2018 when he visited Papua province as a tourist.

Meanwhile, the death toll from covid-19 in Indonesia has now passed 170, with the number of confirmed cases across the republic edging towards 2000, including at least a dozen in West Papua.

According to Human Rights Watch, as of late last month, Indonesia's prisons and detention centres held almost 270,000 inmates, more than double the total capacity.

The NGO says authorities should immediately release all those wrongfully held behind bars, including all Papua political prisoners.

This includes six West Papuan activists charged with treason who continue to face regular trial hearings in Jakarta despite Indonesia's government closing schools and offices and urging comprehensive social distancing.

The group of six were caught up in a government crackdown following Papuan protests in August and September last year, and are being held for what the NGO said were acts of free expression.

Human Rights Watch said Indonesia's government should also drop unnecessary trials prosecuting peaceful Papuan activists, like the one in Jakarta.

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/413395/dozens-released-from-wamena-prison-in-papua