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Indonesia: Victor Yeimo cleared of treason charges

Victor Yeimo, a pro-independence activist from Papua, was unfairly arrested for his role in peaceful protests against racial discrimination in Indonesia. On May 5, 2023, he was cleared of treason charges by the court. However, he was convicted for a public act of displaying writings and images that were deemed to show disrespect towards the Indonesian Government, under Article 155(1) of the Criminal Code. Yeimo received an eight-month prison sentence, which he did not contest. He was released from prison on September 23, 2023.


Cleared of Treason, Yet Convicted

Victor Yeimo, a pro-independence activist from Papua, was sentenced to eight months in prison on May 5, 2023, by the Jayapura District Court. His sentence accounted for time already spent in detention and followed his recovery from serious health issues. While acquitted of treason, Yeimo was convicted for publicly displaying materials deemed offensive to the Indonesian Government under Article 155(1) of the Criminal Code. He was released on September 23, 2023, and has since returned to his political work.

In October 2023, Yeimo expressed his gratitude to Amnesty International Indonesia for their support. Known for his leadership in the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) until 2018, he currently serves as an international spokesperson for KNPB and the Papuan People’s Petition (PRP), opposing the extension of Special Autonomy in West Papua.

Yeimo was arrested on May 9, 2021, by the special police unit Satgas Nemangkawi in Jayapura, charged with treason related to his statements during 2019 anti-racism protests advocating for an independence referendum. His detention led to significant health issues, prompting medical treatment after calls for his care.

Over the past decade, Indonesian authorities have prosecuted numerous peaceful pro-independence activists in Papua and Maluku under criminal code provisions. While Amnesty International remains neutral on the political status of regions, it advocates for the protection of peaceful expression, including self-determination advocacy.