West Papuan lawyer arrested for sending text message

Sabar Iwanggin, a lawyer who defended Papuan students arrested in 2006 after demonstrations against the Indonesian regime, has been arrested and interrogated by Indonesia’s special anti-terrorism police force, Detachment 88. He has now been moved to police headquarters in Jakarta.

Mr Iwanggin appears to have been charged with receiving and passing on a text message, which police say is insulting to Indonesia’s President.

Human rights workers are at a loss to understand why thirty anti-terrorism police were used to arrest one man for forwarding a text message.

Mr Iwanggin works with the respected human rights organisation, Elsham West Papua. Elsham staff have been repeatedly intimidated and have received death threats. Survival remains concerned for the safety of Sabar Iwanggin whilst in police custody, and for the safety of others who stand up for the rights of the tribal peoples of West Papua.