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Papuan activist Filep Karma held by airport police, interrogated and called a 'monkey'

KBR - January 3, 2018

Jakarta – Former political prisoner and Papuan pro-independent activist Filep Karma was intercepted by five Air Force officers upon arriving at the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Cengkarang.

The incident occurred at around 9pm on Tuesday January 3 after he had picked up his baggage. Karma had just arrived from the Central Java city of Yogyakarta by Lion Air and was about to exit through Arrival Gate A.

After being intercepted, the Air Force officers took Karma to a room where one of the Air Force officers pointed to a small pin that Karma was wearing on his chest with a picture of the Morning Star independence flag.

"I was asked all kinds of things. 'This is the OPM [Free Papua Movement] flag isn't it?, he asked. I answered, 'No. It's just a symbol. Based on the 1945 Constitution a flag is made from cloth measuring 1x2 metres. It's not a flag'", Karma told KBR by phone on Wednesday January 3.

Feeling that he had done nothing wrong, he then tried to explain himself saying that he was a former political prisoner who had been incarcerated in jail for 12 years.

Karma also quoted the words of former Coordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Legal Affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, who gave him a guarantee when he was released from jail in November 2015.

Karma told them, "I got a guarantee from Luhut Panjaitan, if Filep Karma wants to shout about things he's free to do so. He struggles peacefully, he doesn't carry bombs. But they didn't believe me".

Annoyed because Karma continued to protest and reject the accusations thrown at him, the Air Force officers became angry. One of the officers snapped at Karma hitting the table and abusing him.

"I was called a 'monkey'. Okay I said, 'Thank you Sir for the insult that was just made'", related Karma.

Karma said that he was interrogated by the Air Force officers for almost two hours. After the interrogation, he was taken by police to the Soekarno-Hatta airport police station in Tangerang to fill out a police investigation report (BAP).

In the middle of making out the BAP, an activist from Civil Liberty Defender, Uchok Sigit Prayogi, arrived to assist Karma. Prayogi questioned police about the grounds for making the BAP and in the end the police stopped the process.

"The detective unit chief wasn't able to answer Uchok's questions because he only received the request from the AURI [Air Force]. Eventually I was released and went home", explained Karma, who was released at 12.30am.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Dicegat TNI di Bandara Soekarno-Hatta, Filep Karma Diinterogasi dan Dipanggil 'Monyet'".]

Source: http://kbr.id/berita/nasional/01-2018/dicegat_tni_di_bandara_soekarno_hatta__filep_karma_diinterogasi_dan_dipanggil__monyet_/94285.html.

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