Message to Obama before Indonesian trip

March 15, 2010

Supporters rally for Yusak and Filep in front of the White House. © AIUSA
Supporters rally for Yusak and Filep in front of the White House. © AIUSA

Just this week, our Individuals at Risk team received a special message from Yusak Pakage and Filep Karma – two prisoners of conscience in jail for peacefully raising a flag – from their prison cells in Indonesia. Here’s what they wrote:

Since our being sentenced to prison, Amnesty International has opposed our being imprisoned for legitimately exercising our right to freedom of expression. We wish to express our appreciation for Amnesty’s advocacy.  

We will continue fighting for Filep and Yusak until they are freed and their rights restored.

President Obama is taking a trip to Indonesia in less than a week, and we want him to carry a message of freedom and hope to Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage. That’s why this past weekend, scores of Amnesty activists and supporters braved torrential rain to rally in front of the White House with flags, banners, and posters asking President Obama not to forget human rights and these two Prisoners of Conscience when he meets with Indonesian President Yudhoyono. Speakers from East Timorese Action Network (ETAN) joined us in calling for their immediate and unconditional release. It was indeed a powerful show of solidarity and our determination to secure the release of both Filep and Yusak!

President Obama spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia and this trip marks a special opportunity to forge an understanding between the two countries based on human rights. But this can only happen if President Obama commits to speaking up for those who were punished for speaking out.

If you weren’t at the rally, it’s not too late to help Filep and Yusak. Call on President Obama to pressure the Indonesian government to release Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage. 

Or if you have the time, call the White House comment line: 1-202-456-1111 (TTY/TDD 202-456-6213). Or if you have trouble getting through, call the White House switchboard: 1-202-456-1414 and ask to be connected to the comment line.