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Activists imprisoned for waving flags, says Human Rights Watch report

Human Rights Watch

The Indonesian government should immediately release the more than 100 Papuan and Moluccan activists imprisoned for peacefully voicing political views, and change laws and policies to protect freedom of expression, says a new report by Human Rights Watch.

More than 50 interviews were conducted with political prisoners over the last two years for "Prosecuting Political Aspiration: Indonesia's Political Prisoners." The report describes the arrest and prosecution of activists for peacefully raising banned symbols, such as the Papuan Morning Star and the South Moluccan RMS flags. Prisoners have been subjected to torture in detention, denied adequate medical services, and isolated by being transferred to prisons far away from family and community.

One prisoner described beatings by the Anti-Terror Squad: "If they held an iron bar, we got the iron bar. If they held a wooden bat, we got the wooden bat. If they held a wire cable, we got cabled. Shoes. Bare hands. They used everything."

"The European Union should make clear that the world is appalled by these abuses and press Indonesia to free these prisoners and amend the penal code to prevent future human rights violations," said Human Rights Watch.

In a separate letter to the EU, Human Rights Watch also called on the EU to secure specific commitments from the Indonesian government to improve freedom of expression, including the repeal of criminal defamation laws, at the EU-Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue, which took place in Jakarta on 29 June.

Prosecuting Political Aspiration: Indonesia's Political Prisoners
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