11 Jun 2009

Indonesia supreme court frees five Australians held in Papua since September

2:33 pm on 11 June 2009

The Indonesian supreme court has rejected an appeal by the prosecution which now sets free five Australians detained since last September for flying into Papua without visas or flight clearance.

The Australians were sentenced to jail terms but their convictions were overturned on appeal earlier this year, and they were ordered to return to Australia.

But before they could leave, the prosecutors appealed to the Supreme Court, extending their detention by three months.

The Supreme Court has now rejected the prosecutors' appeals, clearing the way once again for the quintet's return.

The Australians, who live in the Torres Strait, flew into Papua to look into tourism opportunities in the region.