Papuans charged with treason over march
Indonesian police have confirmed eight Papuan students have been charged with treason after a demonstration this week marking what many people in the remote region regard as their own day of independence.
Amnesty International on Friday called for the release of the students, who were detained on December 1 after a rally marking the 1963 end of Dutch colonial occupation of the resource-rich and remote Papua region.
Papua and West Papua came under Indonesian rule in 1969 after a controversial United Nations-sanctioned referendum that many Papuans say did not reflect the will of local people.
Discussion of Papuan independence is a sensitive issue for Indonesia's government, which has long insisted the plebiscite was legitimate.
During Wednesday's demonstration, students marched to a government office in Papua's capital Jayapura and at a stadium raised the Morning Star flag, a symbol of independence.
Police said eight people were charged.
"There was an act categorised as an Illegal Act perpetrated by eight suspects," police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said.
Lawyers for the students, ages 18-29, in a statement said there were "discrepancies" in the law used against them.
On Friday, Amnesty International criticised the arrests, among 34 detentions this week of Papuan protesters, as well as 19 injuries sustained at demonstrations elsewhere in Indonesia.
"No one should be detained simply for peacefully expressing their political opinions," said Amnesty's Indonesia director Usman Hamid.
Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Amnesty's statement.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails