19 Dec 2013

Canadian cyclist nervous about West Papua visit

4:36 pm on 19 December 2013

A Canadian man who cycled around the world to raise awareness of human rights abuses in West Papua has completed his trip by making a visit to the region and visiting political prisioners.

Jeremy Bally completed his 12,000 kilometre cycling trip this month.

Mr Bally says during his brief trip to West Papua he was able to meet a group of political prisoners, including independence activist Filep Karma.

He delivered postcards conveying messages of solidarity.

"I was really nervous about doing it in the first place because of the risks - we were pretty sure I was going to get at least deported or arrested so it was a bit of a hard decision to make but it just felt right like there wasn't really going to be another time to do it when the timing would be so appropriate with me finishing up this campaign."

Jeremy Bally says several Indonesian media outlets distorted his comments about prisoners' conditions, giving the impression that he felt the prisoners were treated well.

But he says West Papuan prisoners are subject to torture and isolation.