UK Papua Activists Post Reward for SBY's Arrest
The UK-based Free West Papua Campaign offered the reward to anyone who approaches Yudhoyono and holds him accountable for ordering what that they call "an ongoing genocide in West Papua where over 500,000 innocent people have been killed including women and children."
"We believe he should face justice as thousands of people are being killed in West Papua," spokesman Alex Regent told the Indonesian newspaper Harian Detik. "We hope that many UK supporters will attempt to arrest the president during his upcoming trip, to help bring into focus what Indonesia is doing in West Papua."
The president plans to visit Britain from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 to attend the ongoing celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee. It will be his second visit after the first one in March 2009 for a G-20 summit.
The Papua independence organization, founded by activist-in-exile Benny Wenda, posted the reward after receiving a large donation, the organizations told Harian Detik.
A website lists the rules to claim the reward. An interested party has to approach Yudhoyono and inform him that he is under citizen's arrest "for genocide and crimes against humanity in West Papua."
The scene has to be reported by a major news outlet to receive the 50,000 pound reward, the website claims.
The organization has no authority to issue a warrant for Yudhoyono's arrest.
"It is not possible for a head of state to be detained or arrested," Julian Pasha, spokesman of Yudhoyono, said on Wednesday. "The president's security and safety during his visit to Britain has been fully guaranteed by the British kingdom. We were also guaranteed by the British police that such things would not happen."
Julian added that Yudhoyono was invited to visit the UK by the British government as part of efforts to improve ties between the two countries.
"The British government sees the progress [Indonesia has made] on human rights and democracy," he said.
In October 2010, a South Maluku pro-independence organization urged the Netherlands to arrest Yudhoyono for human rights offenses. The Dutch courts agreed to rule on the evidence in a hearing scheduled for the same day as Yudhoyono's planned arrival.
He responded by canceling his trip.
Britain Promises to Protect Yudhoyono From 'Citizen's Arrest'
"We've got an assurance from the police in Great Britain that they won't let such a thing happen, and that [the president's security] will be fully guaranteed by the British authorities," presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said on Wednesday in Jakarta.
Julian was speaking in response to an announcement made by the UK-based West Papua pro-independence group Free West Papua Campaign, which offered a 50,000 British pound ($81,000) reward to anyone who places Yudhoyono under "citizen's arrest" during his visit to Britain, scheduled for Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.
The group accuses Yudhoyono of human rights offenses in his handling of the restive Papua provinces.
Julian said the reward offer had caused "discomfort," as Yudhoyono planned his visit at the invitation of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.
"The British government and especially the British queen have invited the president [to come] because he is known to be a figure who has played a significant role in advancing democracy in Indonesia," Julian said.
"To be honest, this is uncomfortable for us. … The reward offer to arrest the president is considered an insult to a state symbol, especially because it is made by a group of people who probably have certain political interests," he added.
Julian said, however, that the Indonesian government had yet to decide whether it would take any action against the group in response to the reward offer.
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