Dozens of political prisoners convicted of treason in an Indonesian province plan to reject a proposal to be freed under a presidential pardon.
Twenty six prisoners held at Abepura jail in Jayapura in the restive Papua province signed a letter last week saying they refuse to accept the amnesty proposed by Papuan officials to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The separatists were detained for taking part in independence movements in Papua and are serving sentences ranging from several years in prison to life.
“We reject the government of Indonesia’s plan to give us clemency,” said the statement. “We do not need to be freed from jail, but we need and demand the freedom of the nation of Papua from the colonization of the colonial state of the Republic of Indonesia.”
Although no amnesty has so far been offered, President Yudhoyono is open to considering the proposal, reports AFP.
“President Yudhoyono will put priority on peace and prosperity for the Papuan people,” presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said.
More than 170 people are in prison for peacefully promoting separatism in Indonesia, most of them from Papua or the eastern Maluku islands, according to Human Rights Watch.