On December 1, 2004, my father and some friends gathered peacefully to commemorate the promised of independence for Papua, and the Morning Star was raised again. The police responded by beating and shooting the people who came. Approximately four people were injured, including my father. For this case, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of "treason."
My father’s case received widespread attention from Indonesian and international human rights organizations. He is considered a prisoner of conscience because of his human rights activism on behalf of Papuans, who continue to experience discrimination, racism and persecution.
In September 2011, a UN delegation, the “Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,” investigated my father’s case and declared that he did not get a fair trial and that my father is a political prisoner. They urged the Indonesian government to immediately and unconditionally release my father. However, the government denied the existence of political prisoners in Indonesia until to date. My father’s case was further discussed in the Universal Periodic Review session of the United Nations in Geneva, in May 2012. Dozens of countries recommended release of political prisoners in Indonesia. Once again, the Indonesian government rejected the recommendation of the UN and denied the existence of political prisoners.During his years in the Abepura prison in Jayapura West Papua, my father has several times suffered severe health problems, ranging from his weight dropping from 60 kilograms to 49 kilograms (132 pounds to108 pounds) due to poor sanitation and malnutrition in the prisons. He had severe prostate pain and chronic inflammation of the colon. We did not have much money for his medical expenses. The Indonesian government was not even willing to cover the cost of travel to a hospital and of the needed treatment. Nevertheless, many individuals and international organizations who sympathize with my father gave support to cover the costs if the Indonesian authorities allowed travel and treatment.
As the daughter of Filep Karma, I am saddened and disappointed at the government for the severe punishment imposed on my father. Our family suffers psychological pain caused by his imprisonment. To date there are more than 70 political prisoners in Papua. Like my father, they voice their political aspirations peacefully, without violence. As an Indonesian citizen, who is legally free to voice opinions, I implore President SBY to instruct the government to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners in Papua.
The original Bahasa Indonesia version of the petition is here
Additional BackgroundFor information about Filep Karma and other West Papuan political prisoners see Papuans Behind Bars
TAPOL/ETAN/WPAT et al: Urgent Appeal: freedom of expression in Papua (May 23, 2013)
ETAN writes on health care for Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma (April 22, 2012)Read the monthly West Papua Report
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN),
Human Rights & Justice page