Indonesia sentences Pole to five years’ jail for links to Papuan rebels

Polish national Jakub Skrzypski, center, listens to an interpreter as his Indonesian co-defendant Simon Magal looks on during sentencing. (AP Photo)
Updated 02 May 2019

Indonesia sentences Pole to five years’ jail for links to Papuan rebels

  • Jakub Fabian Skrzypski was accused of plotting to overthrow the Indonesian government and making contact with an outlawed separatist group
  • Jakarta is deeply sensitive about Papua, where a low-level insurgency has simmered for years, and routinely blames separatists for violence in the region

WAMENA, Indonesia: A Polish man was sentenced to five years in prison for treason on Thursday after meeting with rebels in the restive Indonesian province of Papua.
Jakub Fabian Skrzypski, 39, was arrested in August and accused of plotting to overthrow the Indonesian government and making contact with an outlawed separatist group.
“The charges of treason have been proven legally and convincingly,” said Wamena district court head judge Yajid, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Skrzypski has denied all wrongdoing and his lawyer Latifah Anum Siregar told AFP he would appeal the verdict, which was lighter than the 10 years’ jail demanded by prosecutors.
Jakarta is deeply sensitive about Papua, where a low-level insurgency against the central government has simmered for years, and routinely blames separatists for violence in the region.
Prosecutors said the Pole had met with leaders of the Free Papua Organization (OPM) and was found with documents and video detailing the Papuan struggle for independence.
Papua shares a border with independent Papua New Guinea (PNG), just north of Australia.
The former Dutch colony declared itself independent in 1961, but neighboring Indonesia took control of the region two years later on the condition it allow a referendum on independence.
About 1,000 handpicked Papuans then unanimously chose to be part of Indonesia in the UN-backed vote, which many consider a sham.
One of Indonesia’s poorest regions, Papua has seen several spasms of violence over the past year, including in December when at least 16 employees of a state-owned company — who were building bridges in a major infrastructure push for the impoverished region — were killed by separatist rebels.
Indonesian security forces have long been accused of rights abuses against Papua’s ethnic Melanesian population including extrajudicial killings of activists and peaceful protesters.


Myanmar troops’ sexual violence against Rohingya shows ‘genocidal intent’ — UN report

Updated 58 min 33 sec ago

Myanmar troops’ sexual violence against Rohingya shows ‘genocidal intent’ — UN report

  • Hundreds of Rohingya women and girls were raped, with 80 percent of the rapes corroborated by the Mission being gang rapes, says report
  • A military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state that began in August 2017 drove more than 730,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh

UNITED NATIONS: Sexual violence committed by Myanmar troops against Rohingya women and girls in 2017 was an indication of the military’s genocidal intent to destroy the mainly Muslim ethnic minority, United Nations investigators concluded in a report released on Thursday.
The panel of independent investigators, set up by the UN Human Rights Council in 2017, accused Myanmar’s government of failing to hold anyone accountable and said it was responsible “under the Genocide Convention for its failure to investigate and punish acts of genocide.”
A military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state that began in August 2017 drove more than 730,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. Myanmar denies widespread wrongdoing and says the military campaign across hundreds of villages in northern Rakhine was in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents.
“Hundreds of Rohingya women and girls were raped, with 80 percent of the rapes corroborated by the Mission being gang rapes. The Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) was responsible for 82 percent of these gang rapes,” the report said.
The Myanmar government has refused entry to the UN investigators. The investigators traveled to refugee camps in Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia, and met with aid groups, think-tanks, academics and intergovernmental organizations.
In an August 2018 report, the investigators laid out five indicators of genocidal intent by the Myanmar military: the use of derogatory language; specific comments by government officials, politicians, religious authorities and military commanders prior, during and after the violence; the existence of discriminatory plans and policies; evidence of an organized plan of destruction; and the extreme brutality of the campaign.
“The Mission now concludes on reasonable grounds that the sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls that began on 25 August 2017 was a sixth factor that indicated the Tatmadaw’s genocidal intent to destroy the Rohingya people,” the new report said.
The conclusion was based on “the widespread and systematic killing of women and girls, the systematic selection of women and girls of reproductive ages for rape, attacks on pregnant women and on babies, the mutilation and other injures to their reproductive organs, the physical branding of their bodies by bite marks on their cheeks, neck, breast and thigh.”
It said that two years later no military commanders had been held accountable for these and other crimes under international law and that the government “notoriously denies responsibility.”
“Myanmar’s top two military officials remain in their positions of power despite the Mission’s call for them to be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,” the report said.
The investigators said they had collected new information about alleged perpetrators and added their names to a confidential list that will be shared with the UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet and another UN inquiry charged with collecting and preserving evidence for possible future trials.