Asia Indonesia targets human rights lawyer, claims foreign meddling in Papua violence

Indonesia targets human rights lawyer, claims foreign meddling in Papua violence

East Java police chief Luki Hermawan said Veronica Koman, a human rights lawyer, intentionally spread information about the harsh arrests of 43 Papuan students at a dormitory in East Java’s Surabaya city through her Twitter account, sparking protests in West Papua and Papua provinces

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Indonesian police on Wednesday said a human rights lawyer spread information on Twitter that incited violent protests in the restive Papua region.

The country’s police also said foreign entities – but did not name any – were meddling in the violent protests in Papua.

According to Japan Times, East Java police chief Luki Hermawan said Veronica Koman, a human rights lawyer, intentionally spread information about the harsh arrests of 43 Papuan students at a dormitory in East Java’s Surabaya city through her Twitter account, sparking protests in West Papua and Papua provinces.

“She was very active in spreading provocative news,” Hermawan said.

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The lawyer could face up to six years in jail and a fine of 1 billion rupiah ($70,700) if found guilty under Indonesia’s criminal code and electronic information and transaction law.

Last week, Indonesia’s General Tito said the groups of people in violent protests in Papua “have links to international networks.”

According to him, the parties suspected of stirring up riots in Papua were known.

“The parties suspected of being mobilized have been mapped and are being explored. If for example it is proven (involved), it will be prosecuted legally,” he said.

He also said at present, conditions in Papua and West Papua are under control. “It’s already relatively safe,” said Tito.

Meanwhile, four Australians were deported from Indonesia after allegedly taking part in a pro-independence demonstration in the province of West Papua.

Police accused them of kicking a pole where an Indonesian flag was floating.

Police said three Australians were followed by members of the Indonesian military, police intelligence and immigration agents before they were taken to Sorong police station for questioning on August 27.

The next day, immigration and police intelligence officers arrested the fourth Australian on board their yacht, named Valkyrie, which they used to enter Indonesia, passing through Sorong Port on August 10.

Nearly 6,000 troops from the combined TNI-Polri were deployed to guard eastern Indonesia.

They were spread out at several points, including Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak. In line with the National Police Chief, National Police Public Relations Head General Inspector General Mohammad Iqbal suspected that there were links between local groups and outsiders. -/TISG

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