Indonesia claims Polish for treason in Papua after meeting activists

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JAKARTA (Reuters) – An Indonesian court arrested a policeman on Thursday for five years after detecting him guilty of plotting against the state with separatist activists in the easternmost province of Papua, his lawyer said.

Jakub Fabian Skrzypski was arrested on August 26 and detained in the Papua police headquarters, where he was charged under the law governing treason, which involves a maximum sentence of life in prison.

It was the first time that the law of betrayal had been used against a foreigner, his lawyer, Latifah Anum Siregar said.

A jury from the Wamena court found Skrzypski guilty of violating all Indonesian betrayals and sentenced him to five years in prison, Siregar said. The prosecution had requested a sentence of 10 years.

Skrzypski denied doing anything wrong and said he was in the country as a tourist.

According to the accusation, Skrzypski had communicated with Simon Magal, a Papua activist, on social media to spread propaganda on independence in Europe and later met in person.

Magal was imprisoned for four years.

Papua, one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia, has fought a long-standing separatist movement since it was incorporated into Indonesia after a referendum supported by the U.N. in 1969, widely criticized, and remains the most highly militarized region of the country.

Police had previously accused Skrzypski of discussing an arms deal at a meeting with a separatist leader, even though the court found insufficient evidence to pursue it, Siregar said.

Skrzypski would appeal the sentence in a Papua court, his lawyer said.

Although President Joko Widodo has promised to loosen media borders in the eastern province, journalists face difficulties in reporting from the region.

Reporting of Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Written by Ed Davies; Editing by Robert Birsel

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