Indonesia releases 2 Papuan political prisoners

“Human Rights Watch welcomed their release”

Indonesian authorities have released two political prisoners jailed for pushing for independence in the vast archipelago’s easternmost province of Papua.

Yusak Pakage and Chosmos Yual were freed Wednesday from Doyo Baru prison in Jayapura, Papua’s provincial capital, said Nazarudin Bunas, head of the local Law and Human Rights Ministry.

Indonesia is highly sensitive to the separatist struggles in Papua, a former Dutch colony taken over in 1963.

Though Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua was formalized in 1969, a small and poorly armed separatist movement has battled for independence ever since.

Pakage was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2005 by a district court, which found him guilty of treason for raising the province’s pro-independence Morning Star flag in December 2004.

He was freed after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono granted him clemency.

Yual, who was sentenced to six years in jail for his role in a violent pro-independence rally in Jayapura in 2006, was released on parole.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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