Update on Wamena political prisoners

26 Jul 2001

The 22 West Papuans who were tried and convicted to sentences of up to four and a half years earlier this year in connection with the events in Wamena on 6 October 2000 have had their status as prisoners changed from imprisonment to town arrest. The change happened as the result of a decision of the Supreme Court on 20 July 2001 following an application by their lawyers to have their status as prisoners altogether revoked. The Supreme Court took into consideration guarantees made on their behalf by church leaders, community leaders and youth leaders that they would abide by the following conditions:

  • That they would not flee,
  • That they would not damage or get rid of items of evidence,
  • That they would not repeat their deeds,
  • That they would attend whenever necessary and would accept all the legal consequences of any breach of the conditions on the basis of which this decision is taken.

Earlier this month, the lawyers of the 22 filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the verdicts of the district court in Wamena, after an application to the High Court upheld the verdict. It is not known when the Supreme Court will take its decision on their appeal. Almost all of the 21 men and one women were charged and convicted for rebellion under Article 106 of the Criminal Code, as well as various weapons charges.

See also: Criminalising politics in West Papua: The trials of 22 Wamena political prisoners and their abuse by the police and press release, 6 July 2001.