Australia refuses to exclude the delivery of the Sydney lawyer who supports Indonesia in Western Papuans World news


The Australian government has refused to exclude the delivery of a Sydney-based lawyer who appeals to the Indonesian authorities for Western Papuans.

Veronica Koman, an Indonesian human rights lawyer who currently lives in Australia, is being prosecuted by Indonesian police to spread evidence of police and military violence in West Papua.

Koman has been a credible source of eyewitness reports, photos and footage of protests that have swept through West Papua and other Indonesian provinces in recent weeks.

Reportedly, several people have died and dozens of other people have been injured in violent clashes with the Indonesian police, the militia supported by the military and the military, unleashed by the racist abuse of Papuan students in Java, but they have turned in a request for a referendum on the independence of West Papua.

Koman is charged under the controversial electronic information and transaction law of the country and faces up to six years imprisonment if found guilty.

East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told the Guardian that if Koman did not report to the Indonesian authorities by September 18, Interpol would issue a red warning for his arrest. "Later we will work with the international police," he said.

Asked if the Australian federal police would act in a red notice of the Interpol arrest of Koman, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated that it was a matter of competence of the AFP. A spokesman for the AFP said: "Any questions relating to this question should be addressed to the Indonesian authorities."

Koman said in a statement that there was a "surprisingly broad [Indonesian] government campaign to silence me", including intimidation of his family's police in Jakarta and threats of revocation of his Indonesian passport and blockade of his bank accounts.

"For years, the Indonesian government has devoted more time and energy to waging a propaganda war than it did to investigate and end human rights violations in West Papua," he said. "We are now seeing a clear example of" shooting the messenger "in the state's effort to persecute those, including myself, who draw attention to the abuses that they are not willing or unable to deal with".

The "red alert" system of the Interpol – apparently used to "search for the location and arrest of wanted persons sought in court or to serve a sentence" – is regularly abused by authoritarian governments to prosecute dissidents or political opponents who have left the country's territory.

Globally, there are around 58,000 valid red notices, of which only about 7,000 are public.

Article 3 of the Interpol Constitution prohibits Interpol from undertaking "any political, military, religious or racial activity or activity."

Indonesia issued a red warning to the leader of the independence of West Papua Benny Wenda in 2011, but was forced to revoke it in 2012 after he was found politically motivated and without a real criminal base.

Australia has arrested at least one person based on a defective red alert.

The Egypt issued a red warning for its national Sayed Abdellatif, who arrived in Australia by boat as an asylum seeker in 2012.

A Guardian investigation revealed that several charges listed against his name had never been brought against him during his trial in absentia and that other convictions were based on evidence obtained "under severe torture". The Australian government had known for 18 months that the red notice was invalid but had not acted to release it.

Abdellatif's family members received visas and were released into the community. But he remains in maximum security in the Villawood detention center in Sydney after more than seven years, despite the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council to be released and compensated for his "deprivation … of clearly disproportionate freedom … ".

Fair Trials resumed Abdellatif's case, campaigning to withdraw the red alert and was finally removed in 2018.

On Monday, a group of UN human rights experts issued a statement calling on Indonesia to protect the rights of Koman and others who denounce the protests of West Papua.

"We demand immediate measures to guarantee the protection of freedom of expression and we face harassment, intimidation, interference, undue restrictions and threats against those who denounce the protests," the experts said.