Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to express my concern about Ferry Kombo, Alexander Gobai, Agus Kossay, Stevanus Itlay, Hengki Hilapok, Buchtar Tabuni and Irwanus Uropmabin who were arrested last year for their participation in a peaceful anti-racism protest in Jayapura in August 2019.
Charged under article 106 of the Criminal Code, the Balikpapan District Court sentenced them to between ten and 11 months of imprisonment. I find it alarming to learn that the Indonesian authorities have consistently used the overly vague offence of treason (makar) to prosecute dozens of peaceful pro-independence political activists over the last decade.
The seven Papuan activists are considered prisoners of conscience, as they have been detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. During this COVID-19 pandemic, their health and lives are at risk since the prison is full and access to health treatment is limited. They should not stay even a single night behind bars.
Therefore, I urge you to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Ferry Kombo, Alexander Gobai, Agus Kossay, Stevanus Itlay, Hengki Hilapok, Buchtar Tabuni and Irwanus Uropmabin,
- Pending their release, ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment and have regular access to their family members, access of medical care, and lawyers of their choice. They must be assisted by their lawyers in all stages of the legal process, in line with the right to a fair trial.
- Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience who should not have been detained, charged with treason and imprisoned for solely peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.