Filep Karma: 15 years in prison for raising a flag of independence

Filep Karma was jailed for raising a flag of West Papuan independence © Solidarity for Victims of Human Rights Violations in Papua (SKPHP)

Filep Karma is serving 15 years in prison after participating in an annual ceremony in Abepura in 2004, at which a Papuan independence flag was raised. The Morning Star flag is banned by the authorities as a symbol of Papuan independence.

Arrested at the site of the ceremony, he was reportedly beaten as he was taken to the police station. He was later charged and convicted of treason. Amnesty considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, incarcerated for exercising peacefully his freedom of expression.

In detention, Filep Karma has staged hunger strikes, protesting against his ill-treatment and against the charges by which he was convicted. He has been offered a remission on his sentence, but has not accepted this.

He maintains that he should never have been imprisoned solely for expressing his freedom of expression peacefully, and that to accept a pardon would be a compromise of this principle.

2014 will see Presidential elections in Indonesia, and the current president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is standing down, having served two terms. Before he leaves office we would like to see him leaving a strong human rights legacy in Indonesia.

It’s important that we keep up the pressure and demand Filep Karma’s immediate and unconditional release.

Please write to the President of Indonesia and his Presidential Advisor on Law and Human Rights, Albert Hasibuan and urge them to release Filep Karma immediately and unconditionally, as well as all other prisoners of conscience in Indonesia.

Please write to:
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Istana Merkeda
Jakarta 10110
Fax: +62 21 345 2685/ +62 21 52 68726/ +62 21 380 5511
Salutation: Your Excellency
Presidential Advisor on Law and Human Rights
Albert Hasibuan
Presidential Advisory Council Secretariat
JI. Veteran 111
Jakarta Pusat 10110
Fax: +62 21 381 2063
Salutation: Dear Albert Hasibuan

Paul Hainsworth is our Country Co-ordinator for Indonesia and Timor Leste. Find out more about our Country Coordinators 

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