Indonesia police arrest pro-independence activist

12-May-2021 Intellasia | Jurist | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Indonesian police have arrested Victor Yeimo, a pro-independence activist, according to a statement from Iqbal Alqudusy, the Nemangkawi Task Force’s Head Senior Commissioner on Monday.

Yeimo is known as the former spokesperson and current chairperson of the National Committee for West Papua, a group of peaceful protesters advocating for a self-determination referendum. He has been arrested on the charge of makar which local news reported refers to treason, subversion and rebellion. Charges of makar are brought pursuant to the country’s controversial Criminal Code.

The charge refers to Yeimo’s alleged public statements inspiring unrest and allegedly broadcasting falsehoods. It follows his involvement with the anti-racism protests in 2019. The protests attracted thousands, resulted in dozens of fatalities and triggered an internet blackout.

Alqudusy commented that police “arrested a person [Yeimo] on the wanted list in a case of racism and rioting in Papua in 2019.”

Indonesian police also suspect Yeimo of insulting the country “[a]s referred to in the formulation of Article 106 in conjunction with Article 87 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) and or Article 110 of the KUHP and or Article 14 Paragraphs (1) and (2) and Article 15 of Law Number 1/1946 on Criminal Regulations.”

Yeimo has been the subject of police action previously. He has been arrested several times over the course of his activism largely over his involvement with protests.

Similarly, many champions of human rights and activists face sanctions for their work. Arrests are a common method employed by Indonesian authorities to attempt to discourage dissent.

Arrests of peaceful protesters and dissenting voices raise concern about Indonesia’s adherence to international law. Indonesia signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2006. The treaty provides a right to peaceful assembly in Article 21. Article 19 provides individuals’ right to hold opinions without interference and to freedom of expression.


Category: Indonesia

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