TWO BELGIAN HOSTAGES NOT YET FREED IN IRIAN JAYA

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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (July 10, 2001 - The Jakarta Post/Joyo Indonesian News/TAPOL)---There is no sign that the two Belgian hostages held captive by an Irian Jaya separatist group since early June will be released soon, despite the fact that two mediators from the Jayapura diocese have met with the hostages and kidnappers in Ilaga, Puncak Jaya regency.

Theo van de Broek, one of the mediators, disclosed in Jayapura on Monday that the separatist group that had kidnapped Johan van den Endy (47) and M. Phillipe Simon (49) -- had demanded national and international talks on Papuan (Irian Jaya) issues.

Broek, who arrived in Jayapura from Ilaga, together with Benny Glay last Saturday, further said that the abductors, who claimed to be members of the Papua Liberation Army (TPNP), insisted that the hostages would not be released soon.

However, the kidnappers had shown an open attitude by allowing an opportunity for a meeting in Ilaga, although the time had yet to be fixed, said the mediators.

The kidnappers claimed earlier that they had been oppressed for 38 years by the Republic of Indonesia and that their sovereignty had been seized. They said that the only way to end this would be talks with the Indonesian government and foreign parties.

Responding to the claim, Broek promised to discuss their proposal with related parties, including the Belgian ambassador to Indonesia.

"Endy and Simon complained that they were totally isolated from the outside world and the kidnappers kept spying on their movements," said Broek.

Meanwhile, a well-known human rights organization in Irian Jaya, ELSAM (the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy) and TAPOL (a London-based international organization) have asked for the release of 22 (Irianese) political detainees from prison in Wamena, Irian Jaya.

ELSAM director Johanes Bonay said in Jayapura on Monday that the organization also urged that the Indonesian authorities investigate the case thoroughly, and bring to court Indonesian policemen or government officials responsible for the death of detainees and for human rights violations in Wamena.

The 22 are now serving four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for provoking riots in Wamena that claimed four lives. They are awaiting the provincial high court’s response to their appeal, which was submitted on July 12.

The bloody incident in Wamena was sparked off by the lowering of the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag by the police on October 6, 2000.

NOTE FROM TAPOL: There are a number of inaccuracies in the section at the end of this report, which refers to the Wamena prisoners.

For further details, see the ELS-HAM/TAPOL report on the Wamena prisoners at http://www.gn.apc.org/tapol/r010706wp.htm 

Paul Barber TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 01420 80153 Email: plovers@gn.apc.org  Internet: www.gn.apc.org/tapol 

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