Simon Tuturop (born 1950, on the right in the photograph) is originally from Fak-Fak. He had previously been sentenced to ten years in prison in 1982 under the Suharto regime for raising the Morning Star flag, which he served in Jayapura and Surabaya, a profile by Human Rights Watch explains. After his release he continued as an activist, working for political prisoners in Jakarta and refugees of the war in Aceh.
He was arrested again on 19th July 2008 at a flag raising event outside the Pepera building in Fak-Fak, West Papua province. A report of the incident from Elsham Papua relates how after the flag was flown for two minutes, the police rounded-up 35 people and took them to the police station. There they were threatened, hit with sticks, and some were kicked by jackboots. The men were forced to strip to their underwear. Another eleven people were also arrested and brought to the police station later. Responding to the arrests, Mr Tuturop, together with Tadeus Weripang, another former political prisoner and long-time friend of Mr Tuturop, came to the police station to claim that they were the ones responsible for the flag-raisings.
Eventually most of the 46 people arrested were released, but nine were held in prison awaiting trial. Six of the accused, including Mr Tuturop, faced charges of treason (clauses 106 and 110 of the Indonesian criminal code), and three were charged with the lesser offence of carrying weapons, in the form of traditional knifes or machetes, according to a report posted on the Free West Papua website.
In his trial, Mr. Tuturop was sentenced to two years in prison. However, the prosecution appealed the sentence, considering it too lenient and it was subsequently extended to four years, Human Rights Watch relates.
Mr Tuturop and the other four men still in prison for this case were freed from prison in December 2011, after being imprisoned for three years, five months and three days. Andreas Harsono reported on his blog that a convoy of friends and supporters greeted the men as they were released from prison to accompany them to their homes. Outside the prison, Mr Tuturop made a speech, saying “Having been in prison for years doesn’t mean that I will be quiet, instead prison was a place for study and self-reflection about how to build a struggle together with other brothers and sisters. Unity is the key”
Human Rights Watch, Persecuting Political Aspirations, June 2010, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/indonesia0610webwcover_0.pdf
Laporan Elsham Papua Pos Kontak Fak-Fak, 19th July 2008, http://www.hampapua.org/skp/skp06/var-23i.pdf
Free West Papua, 22nd July 2008, http://www.freewestpapua.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=735&Itemid=29
Andreas Harsono, 23rd December 2011, Tapol Papua dibebaskan di Papua, http://www.andreasharsono.net/2011/12/tapol-papua-dibebaskan-di-fakfak.html