Indonesia: Johan Teterissa must be freed
Teacher Johan Teterissa was jailed for 15 years in Indonesia – for waving a flag banned by the government.
He’s a primary school teacher with a passion for human rights. But right now, Johan Teterissa is serving a 15-year jail sentence for raising a flag banned by the government.
In June 2007, Johan led a group of 22 mainly teachers and farmers in a peaceful protest in front of Indonesia’s president. They performed a traditional war dance, before unfurling a “rainbow” flag, a historical symbol of independence for the people of Maluku province, in eastern Indonesia.
Police immediately removed Johan and the others, punching and beating them. They took the men to several police stations, at one point forcing them to crawl on their stomachs on hot asphalt, whipping them with electric cables and beating their ears with rifle butts until they bled. The torture continued during official questioning.
Following a plainly unfair trial, all the men were convicted of “rebellion”. Johan was sentenced to life, reduced to a 15-year sentence. He is still in a prison, thousands of kilometres from his family and friends.
Sign our petition to the President of the Republic of Indonesia:
I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release prisoner of conscience Johan Teterissa and all of his co-protestors imprisoned solely for their peaceful political expression.
Johan, a teacher from Maluku, has spent nearly 10 years in prison for the simple act of waving a flag. He led a group of men in a “cakalele” dance protest in front of the former President which ended with them raising a flag banned by the government. The men were taken by the police, whipped, beaten and imprisoned following an unfair trial. Johan was sentenced to life, reduced to a 15-year sentence.
Johan and his co-protestors remain imprisoned thousands of kilometres from family and friends. Pending their release they should be immediately transferred to a prison closer to their families.
Please take action today to end this injustice.