TRIAL OF PAPUAN PRO-INDEPENDENCE LEADER TO BEGIN ON MAY 14

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (May 6, 2001 – Radio Australia)---The trial of West Papuan separatist leader Theys Eluay will begin on May 14 in the Irian Jaya provincial capital of Jayapura.

The 63-year-old leader of the Papuan Presidium Council is charged with treason for advocating independence from Indonesia.

It is unclear if he will be tried alone, or if he will stand trial along with four other independence figures who were also arrested on charges of treason at the end of last year.

Papua Presidium Council secretary general Thaha al-Hamid was arrested with Chief Eluay in November for encouraging people to rally for independence for West Papua. Subsequently, three other pro-independence figures were arrested following activities held to commemorate an unrecognized 1961 declaration of Papuan independence.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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