Jayapura – In his remarks welcoming Papua activist Victor Yeimo's release from prison on Saturday September 23, United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Secretary Markus Haluk expressed his appreciation and gratitude to all parties in the Land of Papua.
In particular he thanked Yeimo's team of lawyers from the Papua Law Enforcement and Human Rights Coalition (KPHHP), the Papuan Council of Churches, students and the ordinary Papuan people, who supported Yeimo so that in the end he could be free today.
"Welcome from the small prison to the big prison", said Haluk during a thanksgiving organised by the Papuan people at the Waena Expo in Jayapura City, Papua province.
Haluk called on the Papuan people to struggle in their different ways and in accordance with the talents that God has given them.
"The youth generation is not just fighting politically, but also through writing and academic studies. Let us struggle with the megaphone, with the pen, with diplomacy and other means to achieve our mutual goal, namely Papua independence", he said.
Yeimo had earlier been indicted on charges of makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) because he was alleged to have been the masterminded behind the demonstrations in Jayapura city on August 19 and 29, 2019.
The demonstrations were protesting racist slurs directed against Papuan students in the East Java city of Surabaya on August 16, 2019.
On May 5 this year, the panel of judges at the Jayapura District Court declared that Yeimo was not guilty of committing makar. The judges however said that Yeimo had been proven guilty of violating Article 155 Paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code (KUHP).
These articles cover stipulations on the crime of broadcasting, exhibiting or posting writing or images in public that contain statements expressing feelings of hostility or hatred towards or insulting the Indonesian government. The judges sentenced Yeimo to eight months in prison.
The sentence attracted controversy because Article 155 Paragraph (1) of the KUHP, which was used in the indictment against Yeimo and for sentencing him to eight months in prison, was struck down by the Constructional Court in 2007.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Markus Haluk Apresiasi Konsistensi Dukungan Rakyat Papua untuk Pembebasan Victor Yeimo".]