Fate Of Indonesian Fugitive Up To PNG Court, PM Says

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Validity of Tjandra’s citizenship before court

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 14, 2013) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says controversial Indonesian fugitive in Papua New Guinea Djoko Tjandra remains a PNG citizen until the court decides on the validity of his citizenship.

O’Neill, asked at a media briefing yesterday about Tjandra, also known as Joe Chan, said he had met with Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono several times but the issue was not brought up.

But he said an extradition treaty would be signed with Yudhoyono during next week’s visit by PNG leaders and changes could be underway.

"Let me put it very clearly. The (Indonesian) president and I have met on many occasions. Not once has the president brought that (Tjandra) matter up," O’Neill said.

"Our officials have been discussing that issue at officials’ level and ministerial level.

"The gentleman concerned (Tjandra) has been granted citizenship of Papua New Guinea.

"Our ministerial committee has sat through the laws we have.

"Parties that are aggrieved by this decision, where a citizenship or a passport has been issued, can make determination to a ministerial committee. Cabinet has established that.

"A report has been presented to Cabinet, and the matter shall be referred back to the attorney-general (Kerenga Kua) to determine this issue in court.

"The ministerial committee decision is final, and Djoko (Tjandra) remains a citizen of Papua New Guinea until the court decides whether that citizenship is valid or not.

"But, of course, if the president and the Indonesian officials brings up this issue, the extradition treaty is now going to be signed between the two countries, and we will process any of the issues including this particular case in accordance with the treaty.

"I do not want to pre-empt the court decision, or any other determination that will be made by our officials, but that is the position in light of the ministerial committee decision."

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