Wamena, Dec 17 (AFP) A Polish man who faces a 15-year prison sentence if convicted for alleged links to Papuan separatists is scheduled to appear in court Monday for the start of his trial, an Indonesian official said.
Jakub Fabian Skrzypski was detained and charged in August for intending to film an arms deal between rebels in Indonesia’s restive province of Papua, a prosecutor said.
The trial will be held in Wamena where Skrzypski was arrested, the town’s prosecutor Ricarda Arsenius said.
“The indictment will be read out on Monday”, Arsenius told AFP, adding that Skrzypski is in good health.
Police said they had confiscated from Skrzypski and three Indonesians more than 130 rounds of ammunition and documents detailing the struggle of the Free Papua Movement.
Skrzypski’s lawyer Latifah Anum Siregar said the Pole, who was living in Switzerland before his arrest, denied any wrongdoing.
“We’ll see what the prosecutors’ indictment is. We are ready to submit evidence to refute the charges,” Latifah Anum Siregar told AFP.
In a letter sent to the Swiss newspaper Le Temps in September, Skrzypski said he was merely a tourist in Papua.
“They (the investigators) are telling stories about ammunitions, but I’ve never seen or possessed any.
“They are trying to accuse me of an attempted coup, but all I’ve done was meeting some indigenous Papuans, who were not armed,” he said in the letter.
Looking back to history, West Papua became part of Indonesia after the UN brought the agreement to the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
In 1969, The PEPERA (Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat or The Act of Free Choice) Deliberation Council (DPM, or Dewan Musyawarah PEPERA) of 1,026 members became representatives of the Papuan population, which at the time were 815,904 residents. The DPM members consisted of the traditional elements (tribal chiefs) as many as 400 people, 360 people from the local elements, and 266 people from various interest groups.
The PEPERA gave rise to dissatisfaction with a group of people and resulted in the birth of a separatist movement.
Papua is currently taking the most concern from Indonesia. Construction of the Trans-Papua road 6,632 km, 48 airports, 15 seaports, and electricity proliferation of about 72.04% from the total of Papua was carried out to accelerate economic growth but the development was hampered because it continued to be attacked by the Free West Papua Army.
At least 16 employees of a state-owned company, who were building bridges in a major infrastructure push for the impoverished region, were killed by separatist rebels in early December.
The National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB) claimed responsibility for the killings, describing the workers as legitimate targets for participating in what they said was a military-controlled project.
At least four more workers remain missing, while a soldier was also killed by the rebels, authorities said.