Members of the House of Representatives Write Indonesia President to Call for
Release of Papuan Prisoner Filep Karma
The letter is an initiative of Freedom Now, who represent Karma
pro-bono.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
Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515
August 19, 2011
Dr. H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of the Republic of Indonesia
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's trial violated international
standards of due process of law.... 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.
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. U.S. policy towards Indonesia supports the
advancement of universal human rights and the fair and nondiscriminatory
treatment of all people, which includes the peoples of Papua and West Papua. As
a strategic partner, we remain concerned that your government meet its
fundamental obligations to protect the rights of its people, as respect for
human rights strengthens democracy.
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. Karma.
Joseph R. Pitts
James P. Moran
Frank R. Wolf
Henry A. Waxman
Carolyn B. Maloney
Michael M. Honda
Janice D. Schakowsky
Steven R. Rothman
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Edward J. Markey
Maurice D. Hinchey
Eni F.H. Faleomavaega
Freedom Now Welcomes Call of 26 Members of U.S. House for Release of
Renowned Human Rights Advocate Filep Karma (PDF)