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Defendants found guilty of flying separatist flag

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, January 9, 2009) – Reports from Indonesia say 11 Papuans have been found guilty of subversion and sentenced to terms of three and three-and-a-half years in prison by the district court in Manokwari.

One of the Papuans, Jack Wanggai was sentenced to three-and-a-half years while the other ten were sentenced to three years.

The men were detained on March the 13th during a demonstration against a 2007 law banning the display of separatist symbols, including the outlawed Morning Star Flag.

According to a Manokwari-based legal aid institute, the panel of judges found that the men had posed a threat to the integrity of the Indonesian state in seeking the separation of West Papua.

The judgment says there has been an increase in separatist activities in the recent past throughout the whole of West Papua which were being organised from abroad.

It was therefore necessary to ensure strict enforcement of the law so as to halt such activities from spreading and to ensure that no more victims would fall.

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