Palace denies Widodo given list of political prisoners during Canberra visit

CNN Indonesia – February 10, 2020
Human rights lawyer and activist Veronica Koman – Undated (RMOL)

Jakarta – Special Presidential Staff member for legal affairs, Dini Shanti Purwono, has denied a statement by human rights lawyer Veronica Koman who claimed that she handed over a document containing the names of Papuan political prisoners to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

The document was said to have been handed over to Widodo during his visit to Canberra, Australia. “That news is not correct”, said Purwono when sought for confirmation on Monday February 10.

Purwono stated that the Palace has never received any kind of document related to Papuan political prisoners or people who have been killed [due to military operations in Papua].

Purwono confirmed that the information conveyed by Koman is wrong. “What is certain is that this information is not correct”, she said.

In a press release earlier Koman stated that she had handed over a document containing the names and locations of scores of Papuan political prisoners to Widodo through a team of activists in Canberra.

Widodo has been in Australia since Friday February 7 and is scheduled to return to Indonesia on Monday February 10.

Koman noted that Widodo once released five Papuan political prisoners in the early part of his leadership in 2015.

But in the start of his second term in office, there are 57 people who have been charged with makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) who are currently awaiting trial. This will only worsen the conflict in Papua according to Koman. (psp/gil)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Istana Bantah Terima Dokumen Tapol Papua dari Veronica Koman”.]