11 Mar 2009

Australians in Papua return home today

12:21 pm on 11 March 2009

Five Australians jailed for illegally entering West Papua are relieved their ordeal has finally come to an end, after winning an appeal against their convictions.

William Scott-Bloxam his wife Vera and their three friends Karen Burke, Hubert Hofer and Keith Mortimer are preparing to return home today after spending six months in an Indonesian prison.

The Merauke District Court announced yesterday the decision by the Jayapura High Court delivered last week to overturn their convictions.

Mr Scott-Bloxam, the pilot of the light plane that entered Indonesian airspace without permission and landed in Merauke, West Papua, on September last year, said the group was ready to fly back home as soon as they got clearance from Indonesian authorities.

He told AAP that they are are looking forward to getting home and trying to get their lives back together.

The group's lawyer, Mohammad Rifan from Austrindo Law Office, told AAP that the District Court in Merauke has confirmed the decision from the High Court, to cancel all of the penalties and the fines and to release the five from any charges under Indonesian law.