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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (December 30, 2000 – The Jakarta Post/Kabar-Irian)---After about a month under Irian Jaya police custody, five pro-independence leaders of the Papuan Presidium Council (PDP) were moved from the Jayapura police cell to Abepura Penitentiary on Friday.

They were transported in a car heavily guarded by police officers to the penitentiary, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Jayapura Police Headquarters.

According to Syamsul Alam, the acting head of the Jayapura Prosecutors' Office, Theys Hiyo Eluay, Thaha Al Hamid, Rev. Herman Awom, Don Flassy and Jhon Mambor are now under the charge of the Prosecutors' Office, meaning that the legal process was developing.

Theys, PDP chief, was arrested in November for allegedly provoking people in the province to rally to commemorate Papuan independence.

Thaha Al Hamid, PDP secretary general who is also a Muslim leader, was arrested on similar charges in November.

Rev. Herman Awom, Don Flassy and John Mambor, all members of PDP, were arrested later in December.

They were charged with violations of Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code, which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a minimum sentence of five years in jail.

The suspects' lawyers, Anton Reharoson and Latifa Siregar, said that they wanted to ask the Prosecutors' Office to put their clients under city arrest. "They will not escape, or destroy evidence," Anton assured.

Demands for independence have been mounting in the easternmost province of Irian Jaya, and many have died in the struggle.

President Abdurrahman Wahid said when visiting Jayapura on Christmas Eve that Irian Jaya would remain a part of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia.

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