UK Papua Activists Post Reward for SBY’s Arrest
A West Papua pro-independence group has offered a 50,000 pound reward to anyone who places President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono under “citizen’s arrest” during his visit to the United Kingdom for human rights offenses committed in the restive Indonesian province.
The UK-based Free West Papua Campaign offered the reward to anyone who approaches Yudhoyono and holds him accountable for ordering what that they call “an ongoing genocide in West Papua where over 500,000 innocent people have been killed including women and children.”
“We believe he should face justice as thousands of people are being killed in West Papua,” spokesman Alex Regent told the Indonesian newspaper Harian Detik. “We hope that many UK supporters will attempt to arrest the president during his upcoming trip, to help bring into focus what Indonesia is doing in West Papua.”
The president plans to visit Britain from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 to attend the ongoing celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee. It will be his second visit after the first one in March 2009 for a G-20 summit.
The Papua independence organization, founded by activist-in-exile Benny Wenda, posted the reward after receiving a large donation, the organizations told Harian Detik.
A website lists the rules to claim the reward. An interested party has to approach Yudhoyono and inform him that he is under citizen’s arrest “for genocide and crimes against humanity in West Papua.”
The scene has to be reported by a major news outlet to receive the 50,000 pound reward, the website claims.
The organization has no authority to issue a warrant for Yudhoyono’s arrest.
“It is not possible for a head of state to be detained or arrested,” Julian Pasha, spokesman of Yudhoyono, said on Wednesday. “The president’s security and safety during his visit to Britain has been fully guaranteed by the British kingdom. We were also guaranteed by the British police that such things would not happen.”
Julian added that Yudhoyono was invited to visit the UK by the British government as part of efforts to improve ties between the two countries.
“The British government sees the progress [Indonesia has made] on human rights and democracy,” he said.
In October 2010, a South Maluku pro-independence organization urged the Netherlands to arrest Yudhoyono for human rights offenses. The Dutch courts agreed to rule on the evidence in a hearing scheduled for the same day as Yudhoyono’s planned arrival.
He responded by canceling his trip.