Papua political prisoner finally given surgery

Papua political prisoner finally given surgery

, 31 July 2010


A high-profile prisoner sentenced to 15 years' jail for raising a banned flag in Indonesia's Papua province returned to prison Saturday after surgery for a potentially life-threatening prostate ailment that had been denied for nearly a year.
Felip Karma, 51, told The Associated Press that many other Papuan separatists held in the easternmost province also urgently need medical care. He reiterated allegations that many had been abused in prisons.

"Many prisoners in Papua have been brutally tortured," said Karma, who returned to the Abepura prison in the city of Jayapura on Saturday.

Candran Listiyono, spokesman for the Directorate General of Prisons in Jakarta, told AP last month he was not aware of any mistreatment of inmates and promised to investigate.

Abepura prison chief Liberti Sintinjak said no inmates have been tortured since he took over in May.

Karma's case - and those of several other high-profile prisoners of conscience in far-flung separatist-torn regions - was highlighted in a 40-page report released last month by New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Karma had been denied medical treatment for the prostate ailment for almost a year. He was granted permission to go to a hospital in the capital, Jakarta, arrived two weeks ago and underwent laser surgery.