Subscribe to the Koteka Prisoner Support email list by sending your email address to email@example.com
It will come as no surprise to anyone that Indonesia has imprisoned large amounts of Papuans during its occupation of West Papua. Kept in terrible conditions, prisoners are often tortured and many ‘disappear’ or are poisoned.
These prisoners need support, and our support can make a difference in the way they are treated. One Papuan prisoner, who people in the UK phoned the prison about, reports: “I was being kept in the pitch black in an overflowing toilet. I was cuffed at my hands and feet. After two weeks the guards pulled me out and asked me why all these people were phoning and enquiring about me. They looked scared and I told them that now the world is watching them. I was returned to my cell but they now cleaned it, put a light in and removed the cuffs… It made me feel strong to hear people outside were supporting me.”
There will also occasionally be co-ordinated efforts to get people to phone for specific prisoners on certain days, especially in response to emergency situations where there is fear of torture - to receive "Urgent Action" emails please send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org and see the latest news.
Sending letters and cards to long term prisoners is one of the best ways to support them. Almost all get to the prisoners and many people have received replies. Prisoners who were recently released and received letters and cards from the outside told us how it made them feel strong inside. Why not get some cards signed at a meeting or event and send them to the prisoners. See the prisoner lists for people to write to. If you cannot write Indonesian, do not worry just send a colourful card and include some of these phrases:
Kami harap anda baik baik - we hope you are well
We cannot speak to the prisoners themselves but can call the guards and by letting them know we are ringing from overseas and who we are calling for we can help the prisoners and the message often gets through to them. This is easy to do and can really change the attitude of the prison guards to the prisoners concerned. Phone on important days when people are recently arrested or choose a couple of prisoners to telephone regularly. See the prisoner lists for people to phone.
You can phone Indonesia from UK for 15p per minute by first dialling 0905 306 0197, then the international number. West Papua is 9 hours ahead of the GMT. However the phone will often be answered 24 hours so just ring when you can.
The most important thing is just to say the prisoners names a lot, even if they don’t understand English, and make it clear you are phoning from abroad.
Some Indonesian phrases you can use (pronunciation guide in brackets):
Moeny is needed by prisoners who sometimes have to buy their own food and water. Even if they are being fed the diet is very bad and needs suplementing. Also many prisoners fear their food may be poisoned. Money is also needed for family members to visit prisoners. If you wish to make a donation which will be sent directly to the prisoners please send a cheque or postal order made payable to KSAS and send it to:
DeMMaK, c/o SDEF, Prior House, 6 Tilbury Place, Brighton, BN2 2GY, UK
or you can make a bank transfer to:
A/C Name: KSAS, Sort Code: 070093, A/C No: 33333334, Ref No: 0346 / 703
Please send a note detailing that the payment is for supporting prisoners.