[JURIST] Indonesia has convicted and jailed at least 18 people for advocating a sovereign government for the province of Papua [Wikipedia profile], according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report [text; press release] released Wednesday. The report states:
Although political space for dissent in Indonesia has increased enormously since the fall of Soeharto, broadly worded laws limiting freedom of expression remain on the books and continue to enable authorities to arbitrarily target individuals. These laws, on their face and in their application, violate the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association, and lead to arbitrary detention.
Article 28 of Indonesia's 1945 Constitution [text] guarantees freedom of expression, but HRW says that subsequent legislation has denied Indonesians this right. HRW criticized Indonesia for making it a crime to "insult" the president or express "feelings of hatred" toward the government, even when such sentiments are part of a peaceful protest.
An Indonesian official denied to the BBC that any prisoners have been jailed for peaceful expression. Earlier this week, several Indonesian lawmakers criticized proposed Criminal Code revisions [Jakarta Post report] as detrimental to freedom of speech, expression, and the press. BBC News has more.