Prison support works!
Following an attack last year on an armoury in the highlands there was
brutal retaliation by the Indonesian military: many people were arrested
and tortured and one killed in custody. Immediately many supporters from
around the world were on the telephones direct to the prisons and police
and army chiefs alerting them to the fact that the world is watching. We
have had numerous reports that this sort of action is effective in
preventing torture and mistreatment of prisoners. Soon after, most of the
prisoners were released and we heard of no more torture.
You can help! In addition to cash support for prisoners, you can send
letters and cards to them and join in urgent alerts. Subscribe to the SSP email list for updates. For
information on West Papuan prisoners and how to support them see their
Pages or contact Koteka Prisoner
Benny Wenda, the Chair of DeMMaK, was arrested in
West Papua in 2002. Fearing he would be disappeared or tortured many
phone calls were made directly to the prison and local police offices,
money was sent via his friends and a small protest was held outside the
Indonesian embassy in London. Later, after multiple attempts on his
life, Benny was able to escape and has now been granted asylum in the
On arrival in the UK, Benny told supporters how he had heard of our
actions via prison guards and how as a result he felt safe and his
conditions were improved from being manacled in an overflowing toilet
without food or light to a normal cell. His friends were able to buy
drinking water (which he was not being provided with) and safe food with
the money that was sent.
Raul Zapata was freed on 19th Sept 2003 when his
case was turned over in a Supreme Court review! Raul was serving a life
sentence for killing the mayor and injuring his bodyguard in an act of
self-defence. Raul was a Philippine Department of Environment and
Natural Resources Strike Force worker and as part of his job he had
regularly detained illegal logging trucks belonging to the mayor.
Frustrated by this the mayor attacked Raul who shot back, killing him.
During his time in prison we sent him letters and money so that his
family could travel over hundreds of miles to visit him. SSP activists visited Raul in jail
as part of their 2003 visit to the Philippines and we also wrote letters
to the Supreme Court in support of his case being reviewed. After his
release we received this letter of thanks from Raul's wife:
"We are very thankful to all of you who have endeavoured to help
Raul. It is our victory and a VICTORY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND MOTHER
EARTH. To all of you thank you very much."