Monday, December 3, 2012

Papua: Ukrainian Tourist, 36, Arrested for Shouting "Free Papua," Expired Visa

According to AFP, on Saturday (December 1), Artem Shapirenko, 36, a Ukrainian national, was detained by Indonesian police in the town of Manokwari in western Papua where roughly 50 people took part in a prayer session to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the region's effort to achieve independence.

Unfortunately, for Shapirenko, his tourist visa in his passport had expired some four months ago, qualifying him to be deported if authorities if authorities so chose to do so.

From all indications, the Ukrainian was fully cooperative with police. 

COMMENT: What Mr. Shapirenko may or may not have known is that Indonesian authorities have imprisoned roughly 170 persons in recent years for promoting separatism for Papua, according to Human Rights Watch.

Although Papua was declared independent from the Dutch on December 1, 1961, Indonesia forcibly took control of the region in 1963. It officially annexed Papua in 1969, with a UN-backed vote, that is still criticized to this day. 

Jakarta keeps a tight grip on Papua and foreign journalists are generally banned from reporting in the region, thus an explanation as to why Shapirenko was detained.

Although it appears very obvious, you'd be surprised the number of foreigners who get into trouble, which can include being detained, arrested or jailed, for appearing to support opposition political groups in countries abroad, particularly those that differ dramatically from the sentiments of central governments. 
This report will be updated as new information becomes available.