East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
Call Congress concerning Papuan prisoner Filep Karma
Joe Pitts and Jim Moran are circulating
a letter to
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia concerning the case
of political prisoner Filep Karma, a prominent Papuan advocate of
self-determination. Karma has been serving a 15-year sentence for
raising the Papuan Morning Star flag at a peaceful political rally in
2004. Karma is designated a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty
International for his nonviolent advocacy.
This bi-partisan initiative is currently circulating in the House of
Representative. Please call your Representative this week and urge
him or her to sign the letter. The draft
text is below.
Call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121.
Ask for your congressperson's foreign policy aide. Ask that your
representative sign on to Representative Joseph Pitt's
and Jim Moran's letter to
Indonesia's President concerning the case of prisoner of conscience
Filep Karma. Urge them to support human rights and the rule of law
in Indonesia. Offer to e-mail them a copy of the letter. Tell them
that if your Representative wishes to sign, she or he should contact
Carson Middleton 52411 in the office of Rep Pitts. The deadline is
Friday, August 12, so call this week.
If necessary leave a detailed message. If you have trouble
getting through by phone send an e-mail to the office, but be sure
to follow up with a call.
Thank you for your support.
To find out who your representative is go to
The letter is an initiative of Freedom Now, who represent Karma
pro-bono. Please let us know the results of your call.
Background on Filep Karma and his case can be found
here from Freedom Now and
here from Amnesty International.
Background on Indonesia's political prisoners,
Prosecuting Political Aspiration Indonesia’s Political Prisoners,
can be found
The Honorable Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Dear Mr. President:
As Members of the House of Representatives of the United States
Congress, we write asking your government to release Filep Samuel Karma,
a Papuan political activist and former civil servant, who has been
unlawfully and arbitrarily detained since 2004. Mr. Karma is a prominent
non-violent Papuan political activist. He is currently serving a 15-year
prison sentence following his raising of the Papuan Morning Star flag at
a 2004 political rally celebrating the 1961 Papuan declaration of
independence from Dutch rule.
Mr. Karma's trial violated international
standards of due process of law. For example, the judge made several
plain statements indicating a bias against Mr. Karma. Additionally, Mr.
Karma's appeal was rejected on unfounded
procedural grounds. And during his incarceration, he has suffered
degrading and inhumane treatment, including the denial of necessary
medical treatment. Recently, Mr. Karma has been placed in an isolation
cell that is causing respiratory problems and has been denied adequate
food and water. Additionally, Indonesian authorities have repeatedly
threatened to move Mr. Karma to Nusa Kambangan Prison, which reputedly
has the worst prison conditions in Papua.
Mr. Karma's case represents an unfortunate
echo of Indonesia's pre-democratic era, when
Indonesia regularly imprisoned political activists on unlawful grounds.
Indeed, Mr. Karma's case was cited in the
United States State Department 2009 Human Rights Report as an example of
Indonesia's detention of political prisoners.
Accordingly, Mr. Karma's release would be a
welcome indication of the Government of Indonesia's
otherwise robust commitment to democracy and human rights.
We urge your government uphold its commitments to international law and
to its own domestic law and immediately and unconditionally release Mr.