The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and owners, has urged Indonesia to immediately release journalist Philip Jacobson, who works as an editor for the environmental news outlet Mongabay.
Jacobson, a U.S. national, was detained on January 21 on charges of visa violations according to a statement issued by his news outlet. He had been briefly detained in mid-December and had been confined to the city of Palangkaraya before being rearrested yesterday.
"Indonesia should immediately release Philip Jacobson and drop any travel restrictions against him", IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. "The harassment of journalists is unacceptable in Indonesia, which claims to be a democracy that respects press freedom."
After arriving in Indonesia on a business visa, Jacobson had travelled to Palangkaraya to attend a hearing between the Central Kalimantan parliament and the local chapter of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), Indonesia's largest indigenous rights advocacy group. He was taken into custody there on the day he was due to leave, and immigration authorities seized his passport. After interrogating him for four hours, he was ordered to remain the city pending investigation.
Immigration authorities informed him that he faces charges of violating the immigration law and could face a prison sentence of up to five years. Currently he is being held at a prison in Palangkaraya.