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Indonesia detains Polish man in conflict-prone Papua region

August 29, 2018

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian security forces have detained a Polish man in the troubled Papua region on suspicion of links to separatists.

A police report seen Wednesday by The Associated Press describes Jakub Fabian Skrzypski as a journalist who was in contact with Papuan separatists. A military report also seen by AP said he was detained several days ago in Papua province following the arrests of five Papuans who had a quantity of ammunition.

Prominent human rights lawyer Gustaf Kawer said Skrzypski insisted he is a tourist and doesn’t know the people that police say he is linked to.

Kawer said the 39-year-old is being held in an inadequately ventilated cell, given poor food and hasn’t been able to contact family or change his clothes. Kawer, who visited Skrzypski on behalf of the Association of Human Rights Lawyers for Papua, said he doesn’t have formal legal representation.

Indonesia restricts foreign journalists from entering its two easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua, where a pro-independence insurgency has simmered for decades.

Earlier this month, an Australian graduate student whose travel plans in Indonesia included a cultural festival in Papua was denied entry on arrival in Bali and deported because Indonesia’s military had blacklisted her as a “covert journalist.”

A decade earlier she had worked as an editor for English-language newspapers in Jakarta and had also produced podcasts for Australia’s state broadcaster.

A Polish Embassy official, Igor Kaczmarczyk, said the mission has received “nonofficial information” about a Polish citizen’s arrest.

“Immediate appropriate steps have been taken in this regard,” he said, but referred further questions to Poland’s Foreign Ministry.

In Warsaw, the Foreign Ministry said Polish diplomats in Jakarta have filed a request with the Indonesian government to be allowed to see the detained Polish citizen and are waiting for a decision.

The police report said Skrzypski, who usually lives in Switzerland, had visited a separatist headquarters. It said he had a travel permit for Papua and a tourist visa but had violated immigration law by misusing them.

Amnesty International said in July that Indonesia’s police and military are responsible for at least 95 unlawful killings in Papua since 2010.

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Associated Press writer Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed to this report.

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