14 Aug 2014

Questions raised over Papuan arrests

4:15 pm on 14 August 2014

Questions are being raised over the arrest of a West Papuan man who is reported to have met the two French journalists detained by Indonesian police in Jayapura.

Areki Wanimbo, who is a teacher and a customary chief was detained at Jayawijaya last week around the same time that the two journalists were arrested.

Police say Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat had entered Indonesia on tourist visas and were working illegally.

Thomas Dandois

Thomas Dandois Photo: AFP

Police spokesmen claim the two were involved with West Papuan separatist groups or criminal elements in Lanny Jaya regency.

However concern is growing for Mr Wanimbo who was taken in by police without clear notice of what crime he is alleged to have committed, and without initial access to a lawyer.

Suara Papua reports a lawyer with the Alliance of Democracy for Papua, Cory Silpa, as identifying irregularities in the arrest of Mr Wanimbo, including the lack of a warrant.

Mr Silpa says local media reports about the arrests have misportrayed Mr Wanimbo and others as criminals or armed groups.