Indonesia court increases jail term for Polish tourist
published : 18 Dec 2019 at 21:43
writer: Associated Press
JAKARTA: Indonesia's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a Polish tourist who was convicted of treason after meeting with Papuan independence supporters and instead increased his prison term, a lawyer said Wednesday.
Jakub Skrzypski was arrested in August last year in Wamena in easternmost Papua province and was accused of plotting against the Indonesian state. Wamena District Court sentenced him in May to five years in prison. He denied any wrongdoing and appealed the verdict.
Papuan student Simon Magal, who met Skrzypski and communicated with him on Facebook and allegedly helped him meet with separatist supporters, was sentenced by the same court in May to four years in prison.
One of Skrzypski's lawyers, Latifah Anum Siregar, said the Supreme Court rejected Skrzypski's appeal this week and increased his sentence to seven years in prison.
She said Skrzypski was transferred Tuesday to a notorious prison in Wamena from a police detention centre in Jayawijaya district where he had been held since his arrest.
The case has highlighted Indonesia's sensitivity about the volatile Papua region, where the indigenous Melanesian people oppose Indonesian rule and an insurgency has simmered for decades.
In a handwritten note sent to The Associated Press before his sentencing in May, Skrzypski, who had travelled to Indonesia previously, said his arrest was a “purely political case, a trial staged for propaganda reasons.”
Police initially accused him of trying to organise an arms deal, but it became clear that Skryzpski, who worked in a factory near Lausanne, did not have the means to do that. The accusation did not become part of the case against him.
The Papuan fighters have never been well armed but have battled Indonesia since it took control of the mineral-rich region from the Dutch in 1962. Papuans, who had declared their independence the year before, see Indonesians as invaders who cemented control with a sham referendum at the end of the 1960s.
Indonesian officials say the territory, which is ethnically and culturally distinct from the rest of the country, is rightfully Indonesia's under international law because it was part of the Dutch East Indies empire that is the basis for Indonesia's modern borders.