Free West Papua Political Prisoners

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Attorney General Sanitiar Burhanuddin (, Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly (

Free West Papua Political PrisionersIn January 2022, Indonesian authorities arrested Victor Yeimo, spokesperson for the pro-independence West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB). In February, he was charged with treason. At his arrest, he was serving as the spokesperson of the Papuan People’s Petition, which opposed Jakarta's unilateral extension of Special Autonomy. In recent months, Indonesian security forces have attacked protests opposing special autonomy, human rights violations and the racist treatment of West Papuans.

In June 2020, Indonesian prosecutors demanded sentences of five to 17 years for seven high-profile West Papuan political prisoners detained in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan (Borneo). These activists were arrested during a wave of protest triggered by recorded incidents of racist police violence last year. Tens of thousands joined an uprising against racism and for self-determination for West Papua.

While prosecutors asked for jail terms of 5-17 years, the judges showed some leniency. The activists were sentenced from 10 to 11 months in prison.for their acts of protest. Tapol wrote: "During their trials, prosecutors and judges focused on putting the political beliefs of the Seven on trial, rather than the riots which they were alleged to have masterminded."

The seven include political and student leaders and activists. They are Buchtar Tabuni: (facing 17 years/ received 11 months); Agus Kossay (15 years/received 11 months); Stevanus Itlay (15 years/received 11 months); Ferry Gombo (10 years/received 10 months) Alexander Gobai: (10 years/received 10 months/received 10 months));  Hengky Hilapok (5 years/received 10 months); and Irwanus Uropmabin (5 years/received 10 months).

In response to the Uprising, the Indonesian government implemented an extreme crackdown, illegally blocking internet access, and deploying more than 10,000 security personnel to West Papua. Human rights groups have found that at least 61 residents, demonstrators and police were killed. In addition, more than 100 indigenous West Papuans were arbitrarily arrested.

56 people were arbitrarily detained on treason charges. Ten of them have since been released after serving their full sentences, ranging from eight to nine months jail.




For more information see:

ETAN: West Papua Update

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ETAN Condemns Violence and Racism Against West Papuans: Calls for freeing Papuan Political Prisoners

Urgent Appeals Filed with UN by 63 Political Prisoners in Indonesia Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

HRW:  List of Known Indonesia Political Prisoners

Watch TAPOL/ETAN webinar on exploring the consequences of a racist justice system for political activists in West Papua. Please see the invitation attached for details about how to join!

TAPOL regrets Court sentencing of 'Balikpapan Seven' political prisoners

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To: President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Attorney General Sanitiar Burhanuddin (, Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly (
From: [Your Name]

Papuan Lives Matter!

We call for the unconditional release of Victor Yeimo and other political prisoners. Drop the charges against any arrested for peaceful protest and for exercising their rights to free speech and assembly.

End racist policing and prosecutions and cease all arrests for peaceful political protest.

In January 2019, your government agreed to allow a visit by the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights chief, It is time to allow the long-delayed fact-finding mission to take place.