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  • Writer's pictureMerdeka Secretariat

On the Arrest of FRI-WP's Surya Antah Ginting

The Merdeka Network strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest of Front Indonesia Rakyat untuk West Papua (Indonesian People's Front for West Papua) Spokesperson Surya Anta Ginting, and 7 Papuans in Jakarta, namely Carles Kossay, Dano Tabuni, AM Mulsius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Ariana Elopere, Wenebita Wasiangge, and Norince Kogoya.

The arrest of the persons above happened at different times and places between Aug 30 and 31 - all of which were carried out without warrants. There were also reported cases of threats (held at gunpoint) and physical assault on women during these arrests. Surya Anta, who was the latest in this series of arrests, was charged of treason for his support of the West Papua struggle.

These 8 individuals were accused of raising the Bintang Kejora or Morning Star Flag which is punishable under Indonesian law with at least 15 years of prison. Mass actions continue in different cities and district centers of West Papua where the Bintang Kejora or Morning Star Flag has been waved by protestors. In other parts of Indonesia, Papuan and Indonesian activists and organizations, including the FRI-WP, have also been holding rallies in support of the mass actions in West Papua, often in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta itself.

In the same week, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, and notorious war criminal Wiranto has reaffirmed to take 'strong action' against those who raise the Morning Star Flag. National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian and TNI Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto has also announced that they will be holding temporary offices in Jayapura starting Monday, September 2. According to Tito, they will be staying to ensure the security and order in the area and will be adding more troops if needed. The police chief has also threatened to prosecute organisations suspected to be behind the violent protests, particularly targeting local groups with international networks.

These statements are pretexts to more arbitrary arrests, harassment, and rights abuse, not only on activists, but practically all Papuans. As of now, the police and military are conducting sweep operations in West Papua in search of the 'masterminds' behind the protests. The state still resorts to the use of militias to attack and terrorize Papuans. The most recent firing incident in Abepura early on the 1st day of September has led to another death of a Papuan student.

With this, we demand an end to the crackdown, and to stop to all violence and attacks against the Papuan people and their supporters, and the withdrawal of Indonesian troops from West Papua. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the 8 activists, and all those previously arrested on false charges for speaking truth to power and exposing the racist, fascist, and oppressive Indonesian state.

Free Surya Anta Ginting! Free all political prisoners!

Disband militia and paramilitary groups! Pull-out Indonesian troops from West Papua!

Papua Merdeka!


Deewa Dela Cruz

Photo Credit: CNN Indonesia


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