A Polish man have recently been detained in the Papua region because of alleged involvement in activities with separatist groups. Jakub Fabian Skrzypzki, 39, was a journalist who was arrested in the capital of the mountainous district of Jayawijaya along with 5 Papuans who had ammunitions.
Head of the Public Relations Division of the Papua Regional Police Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said Skrzypski would be charged with treason that could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
“He committed his crime here, so he will face legal proceedings here.” Kamal told the Associated Press. Kamal also ensured that Skrzypski would be treated the same as other prisoners.
“He will get the same facilities,” he said.
The decision to prosecute rather than deport Skrzypski may reflect an Indonesian government desire to more strongly deter foreign involvement with the Papuan independence movement, which has vocal sympathizers in numerous Pacific island and Western nations including Vanuatu, the U.K., New Zealand and Australia.
In Warsaw, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Polish diplomats in Jakarta had submitted a request with the Indonesian government to be allowed to see detained people who were awaiting a decision.
At first, Jakub Fabian Skrzypski obtained a tourist visa to tour West Papua. However, Skrzypski misused the visa by making contact with separatist groups. When caught, 5 separatist groups were found to have bullet ammunitions.
The Indonesian government is very strict in giving foreign journalists permission to West Papua considering this region is very vulnerable to separatist movements which demand the release of West Papua and endanger the sovereignty of Republic Indonesia.
However, foreign journalists can still apply for permission to West Papua as stated in the media service information at the following link https://www.kemlu.go.id/newdelhi/en/layanan-konsuler/prosedur-dan-peraturan/Pages/Pelayanan-Media.aspx
There is no prohibition for journalist to go to West Papua. In 2012, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) received 11 applications for permission to cover Papua from a number of foreign media. Of the 11 requests, 5 were approved while the other six were rejected. Meanwhile in 2013, requests for permission to cover Papua by foreign media soared to reach 28 requests. At that time, MoFA approved 21 letters of application and rejected the other seven.
Whereas in 2014, of the 27 applications that entered MoFA, 22 of them were approved and the rest were rejected. In 2015, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsjudi admitted that she had granted all applications to create news in Papua from foreign journalists.
ATT.net. (2018, September 1). Police Say Detained Polish Man To Face Trial In Papua. Retrieved from ATT.net: https://start.att.net/news/read/category/world%20news/article/the_associated_press-police_say_detained_polish_man_to_face_trial_in_pa-ap
VOA Indonesia. (2018, August 31). Warga Polandia yang Ditangkap akan Diadili di Papua. Retrieved from VOA Indonesia: https://www.voaindonesia.com/a/warga-polandia-yang-ditangkap-akan-diadili-di-papua/4552090.html
westpapuaindonesia.com. (n.d.). Indonesian Security Officials Arrested Foreign Tourist in West Papua. Retrieved from westpapuaindonesia.com: https://westpapuaindonesia.com/indonesian-security-officials-arrested-foreign-tourist-in-west-papua/