June 13, 2017

Dr. Yasonna Laoly
Minister of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR. Rasuna Said Kav 6-7
Jakarta 12940

Telephone: +62 21 5252975
Faximile: +62 21 5252975

Dear Minister Laoly:

We’re writing to ask your good office for assistance regarding two specific categories of Indonesian prisoners currently behind bars on makar (treason) and related charges.

The first category is prisoners currently imprisoned for or awaiting trial on such charges in the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Specifically, we would be grateful if you could tell us the names of those prisoners, what specifically they are charged with, their date of arrest, and their scheduled date of release. Our understanding is that as of June 2016, there was a total of 38 Papuans behind bars on such charges. There are unconfirmed reports that that number has declined over the past year.

The second category of prisoners is Moluccans imprisoned in Nusa Kambangan and Porong prisons for makar or related charges. We request that for humanitarian reasons your office facilitate the transfer of nine such Moluccan prisoners from Nusa Kambangan and Porong prisons to Ambon prison, near their home island of Haruku. This transfer would enable their families, who live in Ambon and Haruku, roughly 3,000 kilometers away from Nusa Kambangan and Porong prisons, to more frequently visit their imprisoned relatives. Currently, the combination of the significant financial costs and the lengthy time required for the journey between Ambon and those two prisons means that those nine prisoners have only seen their relatives once since their transfer to Nusa Kambangan and Porong prisons in 2009.

All nine prisoners told Human Rights Watch during a 2016 prison visit that the lack of contact with their families is inflicting serious emotional and psychological distress and are eager to relocate to Ambon prison. These nine prisoners are political activists who were arrested, prosecuted and convicted for their involvement in a peaceful protest dance in Ambon in 2007. They received prison sentences of between five and 20 years for makar and other offenses. These are the last remaining Moluccan prisoners out of a total 78 people arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned on makar charges in 2007.

In April 2016, when you met with me and other Human Rights Watch representatives, including our visiting board of directors, we were all very grateful for your stated commitment to facilitate the transfer of those Moluccan prisoners to Ambon. We would be grateful if your office could take the necessary steps to facilitate their transfer to Ambon on humanitarian grounds at your earliest convenience.

For your convenience, I have pasted below the relevant details of those nine Moluccan prisoners: the names, locations, and sentences of the nine Moluccan prisoners.

Please note that I am in Jakarta this week June 12-June 16 and would be delighted to meet with you to discuss this matter if that might be helpful in any way.

Many thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely,
 

Phelim Kine
Deputy Director