• Press Release

Indonesia: Prisoner of conscience denied medical care: Filep Karma

March 27, 2011

Document – Indonesia: Prisoner of conscience denied medical care: Filep Karma

UA: 100/10 Index: ASA 21/004/2010 Indonesia Date: 29 April 2010



Filep Karma is in need of urgent medical care. He has been seriously ill since August 2009. A recent medical report recommended that he undergo further treatment in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. However, the prison authorities have told him they cannot fund his medical treatment

Filep Karma, a 50-year-old prisoner of conscience at Abepura Prison in the Indonesian province of Papua, has been in prison since December 2004. He had suffered from health problems before his arrest but the conditions at the prison and the refusal of the authorities to provide adequate medical care have exacerbated his conditions.

In August 2009, he had complained of intense pain in the lower abdomen, difficulty in urinating and testicular swelling. Further medical tests confirmed that he was suffering from bronchopneumonia, excess fluid in the lungs, urinary tract infection and various other medical problems. In the medical report the doctor recommended that he receive further treatment in Jakarta, but prison authorities have refused to send him due to a lack of funds. If untreated the conditions could be potentially life threatening.

Amnesty International believes the denial of medical care to Filep Karma may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Indonesian or your own language calling on authorities in Indonesia:

  • Expressing concern at reports that Filep Karma is not receiving adequate medical care;

  • Urging the authorities to ensure that Filep Karma receives full and immediate access to adequate medical care;

  • Urging the authorities to cover the cost of such treatment in accordance with the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Principle 24);

  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Filep Karma as his imprisonment is related to his right to peaceful demonstration.


Head of Abepura Prison

Anthonius M. Ayorbaba

Lembaga Pemasyarakatan (Lapas) Abepura

Jl. Kesehatan 11


Papua 99351, Indonesia

Fax: +62 96 758 1705

Salutation: Dear Anthonius M. Ayorbaba

Director General of Prisons

Ministry of Justice and Human Rights

Drs. Untung Sugiyono

Jl. Veteran No. 11

Jakarta Pusat


Fax: +62 21 384 1711

Salutation: Dear Director General

COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Indonesia accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.



ADditional Information

Conditions in Abepura prison are reportedly poor. Bathing for prisoners is restricted to once or twice a week due to a lack of fresh water. Filep Karma did receive temporary medical leave from the prison in 2007 in order to receive hospital treatment.

Former civil servant Filep Karma was among approximately 200 people who took part in a peaceful ceremony in Abepura, Papua Province on 1 December 2004. In commemoration of the declaration of Papuan independence in 1962, the Morning Star Flag was raised. Police then advanced on the crowd, firing warning shots and beating people with batons. Filep Karma was subsequently arrested. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience.

During Filep Karma’s trial, police responded with extreme force to large demonstrations that took place outside the courthouse on 10 May 2005. Many people were injured. A senior police officer was dismissed as a result, but he did not face criminal charges. There has been no formal inquiry into the events. Filep Karma was convicted of treason and sentenced on 26 May 2005. He is serving a sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment, which was confirmed by the Supreme Court on 27 October 2005.

West Papua and Papua provinces occupy the western half of the island of New Guinea. Papua province borders the independent state of Papua New Guinea. The arrests and detention of people in Papua are part of a larger crackdown on political activists in areas where there has been a history of separatist movements including Papua and Maluku. The Indonesian authorities have reacted strongly towards individuals who have called for independence. Amnesty International has documented dozens of arrests in past years of such peaceful political activists. Some were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for raising the prohibited pro independence ‘Morning Star’ flag in Papua.

Amnesty International takes no position whatsoever on the political status of any province of Indonesia, including calls for independence. However the organization believes that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate referendums, independence or other political solutions.

UA: 100/10 Index: ASA 21/004/2010 Issue Date: 29 April 2010