Amnesty International USA
July 8, 2010
AI Welcomes Release of Indonesian Prisoner of Conscience Jailed for Raising Flag
Yusak Pakage © ELSHAM
Amnesty International has welcomed the release of an Indonesian prisoner of conscience jailed for his role in a peaceful flag-raising protest.
Yusak Pakage, 31, was released on Wednesday morning from the Doyo Baru prison in Sentani, Papua province. He had been serving a ten-year sentence for his role in a peaceful demonstration in December 2004 during which the Morning Star flag, symbolizing Papuan independence, was raised.
According to local sources, Yusak Pakage was released because he was granted a presidential pardon last month, following the Indonesian Justice and Human Rights Minister’s visit with political prisoners in May 2010. Yusak Pakage has served half of his 10-year sentence. On his release, he thanked Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for campaigning on his behalf.
In June, when President Obama travels back to Indonesia – where he spent four years of his childhood – he can help shine a light on the shameful imprisonment of more than 100 prisoners of conscience detained in the country as of last year.
Two men are locked up in Indonesia for the simple act of raising a flag. Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage are two of the prisoners of conscience serving sentences in Indonesia today. They were found guilty of “rebellion” for flying the outlawed symbol of Papuan independence as a sign of peaceful protest of Indonesian government policy. Their peaceful act resulted in 15 and 10-year prison sentences, respectively.
Not too long ago, Amnesty International USA received a letter from Filep and Yusak. In it, they expressed their sincerest thanks for all the work AI done on their behalf since their arrest. Despite the hardships they’ve faced in prison, Filep and Yusak remain hopeful. Continue reading
Group 48 member and also AIUSA Country Specialist for Indonesia and Timor-Lesté, Max White recently spent one week in Washington DC visiting Congressional offices. Below is a summary of his visit.
On December 3rd through 5th, we visited 12 US Representatives, one Senator, and two State Department Desk Officers.
- Edmund McWilliams, Coordinator of West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT)
- Dr. Eben Kirksey, East Timor and Indonesian Action Network (ETAN) and WPAT
- Max White, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA)
and in certain meetings:
- T. Kumar, AIUSA
- Carl Ross, Save America’s Forests
Each of us had particular issues to discuss, but in common we focused on three issues:
- Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage, AI Prisoners of Conscience (and similar cases),
- US ties to, and funds for the Indonesian military (TNI),
- Illegal logging in Papua, Indonesia and confluence with the first two issues above.
Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island has sponsored a Congressional Letter addressed to the President of Indonesia regarding Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage, Amnesty International’s Prisoners of Conscience.
PLEASE call your Representative and ask him or her to sign on to the letter – your rep can do so by contacting Daniel Murphy in Representative Kennedy’s office (5-4911). You can locate your representative’s phone number from this website. There is not much time to get signatures on the letter.