While Yudhoyono finds the time to produce an album of extremely dubious merit, the American and Australian funded and equipped Detachment 88 have, predictably, been diverted from their mission to root out murderous Indonesian terrorists and are now targeting lawyers for "insulting the president".

Lawyer held over ‘insulting’ SMS
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Fabio Scarpello in Denpasar


A human rights lawyer in the Indonesian province of Papua has been arrested for allegedly sending text messages that authorities said were offensive to President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono.

Sources present at the time of the arrest confirmed that Sabar Iwanggin was seized in Jayapura, Papua’s capital, on October 18.

They said that officers from Indonesia’s Detachment 88 anti-terror unit were involved, with some 30 police officers present.
Iwanggin, a lawyer with the Human Rights organisation Elsham Papua, was moved to Jakarta on October 26 where he is now under interrogation.

His legal representative, Alo Renwarin, who followed his client to the capital, said he had been charged under the criminal code.
“Based on what the police told us, Iwanggin was arrested because he violated law number 160 about ‘agitation’ and number 134 about ‘insulting the president’.

He faces six years in prison if proven guilty,” he said.

No one at Jakarta police headquarters was available to confirm the indictment against Iwanggin. In Jayapura, the local police denied the involvement of Detachment 88.

Mr Renwarin said that the arrest was related to an SMS which was received then forwarded by his client.

He said the SMS claimed Dr Susilo had an “agenda of wiping out Papuans”.

The message went on to allege that Papuans were being fed
poisoned food, and were also being killed by army members disguised as “doctors, restaurant workers, and
motorcycle taxi drivers”.

Mr Renwarin questioned the legality of the arrest, claiming Iwanggin did not compose the message and only forwarded it to friends.

Human Rights workers in Jayapura say the same SMS message has
been forwarded across Papua since July, and that thousands of people in Papua have received it.

“I also received the message and I am now being investigated,” Mr Renwarin said.

Activists voiced concern that the arrest was politically motivated and could herald another crackdown on pro-independence activists.

Matthew Jamieson, representing the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights, said the arrest looked like an attempt to disrupt the legitimate work of rights organisations.

“Human rights workers are very concerned that the Indonesian
police have another agenda, and that they will ignore Iwanggin’s basic rights.

Sabar Iwanggin’s arrest, detention and now transportation to Jakarta police headquarters clearly has a trivial legal basis.

His legal and human rights are at risk while he remains
in Indonesian police custody, charged on this basis,” he said.

In a report published last February entitled “Protest and Punishment”, Human Rights Watch highlighted the long history of suppression of peaceful activism in Papua, a region annexed by Indonesia in 1969.
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