Indonesia police name suspect in West Papua unrest


Indonesian police have named a human rights lawyer and activist a suspect for alleged incitement and spreading fake news online increasing violent protests in the country’s restive West Papua region.

Luki Hermawan, regional police chief in Indonesia’s East Java province, said on Wednesday that Veronica Koman was also wanted for violating the country’s cybercrime law.

Luki added that the charges were based on testimony from at least six witnesses and experts, according to the Indonesian news website, Detik.

Koman has been accused of using social media to spread “hoaxes” to people in Indonesia and overseas after a police raid on indigenous Papuan students in Surabaya, the capital city of East Java province. Indonesians commonly refer to ”fake news” as “hoaxes”.

Indonesian police said, if necessary, they would contact Interpol about Koman, who is reportedly overseas.

Al Jazeera contacted Koman for comment, but she had not responded by the time of publication.

The unrest in Indonesia’s West Papua region is already in its third week.

In a statement on Wednesday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said she was “disturbed” by the “escalating violence”.

“There should be no place for such violence in a democratic and diverse Indonesia,” Bachelet said in a statement.

“I welcome the appeals made by President [Joko] Widodo and other high-level figures against racism and discrimination,” she added.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here