West Papuan Activists Allegedly Tortured After Arrest

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14 reportedly arrested after holding peaceful demonstration

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, ) – A pro-independence activist in the Indonesian province of West Papua says 14 people arrested last week have been tortured and are still held by police.

They were commemorating the anniversary of the 2011 Third Papuan People’s Congress on Saturday despite police bans, and were arrested on Biak island, off the Papua north coast.

Alex Perrottet reports.

"The group was commemorating the declaration of independence on October 19th 2011, at the congress where thousands of people voted Fokorus Yaboisembut as their President, prompting his arrest. He remains in prison along with other activists like Victor Yeimo who was arrested in May. In Biak, 14 were arrested last week after holding what Yoab Syatfle says was a peaceful demonstration. Police had banned all demonstration, after Mr. Syatfle and others travelled to Jakarta to present letters to the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Mr. Syatfle says one of the arrested is a vice-governor of the West Papuan people in Saireri, David Korwa, who says they have been interrogated and tortured at the police station in Biak. Mr. Syatfle says he is calling for their unconditional release."

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