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Face 20 years for declaring independence from Indonesia

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 19, 2011) – Reports from Indonesia say a senior Papuan leader, Forkorus Yaboisembut, has been charged with treason - two months after his arrest near Jayapura.

According to information released by the NGO, Tapol, he is one of five men charged under Article 106 for proclaiming a state of West Papua last October.

[PIR editor’s note: Charges of treason can be leveled at offenders in the eyes of Indonesia’s government for raising the recognized morning-star flag of West Papua, which has been outlawed for many years. The punishment can be as great as 20 years imprisonment, and a number of protesters at recent independence celebrations in West Papua were arrested for participating in flag-raising.]

If found guilty, the five accused, who include Edison Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Domingus Sarabut and Agus Krat, can be jailed for 20 years.

A lawyer acting for the Papuans has, however, questioned the nature of the charges, saying the minister for legal, political and security affairs had agreed to be a keynote speaker at the Papuan Peace Congress.

The Congress in Abepura called for the people’s right to self-determination, prompting an assault by security forces who arrested scores.

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