14 Jan 2005

Papua pair face death penalty for raising rebel flag - report

7:38 am on 14 January 2005

Reports from Indonesia say two men may face the death penalty for treason over the raising of an illegal separatist flag in the province of Papua.

The Jakarta Post newspaper reports that a court in the provincial capital of Jayapura heard that Yusak Pakage, who is 26, led a flag-raising ceremony there on the first of December.

The ceremony was meant to mark the 42nd anniversary of Papua's so-called declaration of independence.

About 200 people attended but Indonesian police broke up the gathering by firing warning shots and then clashing with activists.

A hearing for the second defendant, Filep Karma, 45, was adjourned after he refused to hear his indictment without legal representation.

On the first of December 1962, separatists proclaimed the state of West Papua but Indonesia took control of the territory from Dutch colonisers the following year.