oil on canvas
40" x 30"
Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage are serving long prison sentences for their participation in a peaceful flag-raising ceremony in Abepura, Papua province on 1 December 2004. The two men, along with other Papuans, took part in a peaceful ceremony in which the Morning Star flag, a symbol of Papuan independence, was raised in commemoration of the declaration of Papuan independence in 1962. The commemoration is celebrated annually by some Papuans. Approximately 200 people took part in the ceremony, and hundreds more local people watched from the edge of the fields.
When the flag was raised, police advanced on the crowd, firing warning shots and beating people with batons. Police also beat a human rights monitor from the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM), who was trying to photograph the police attack on the crowd.
Filep Karma was arrested at the site of the ceremony. Police reportedly beat him and stomped on him during transportation to the police station. A group of about 20 people were later arrested at the police station when they went to protest over Filep Karmaís arrest. This group was subsequently released, except for Yusak Pakage, who remained in detention with Filep Karma. The two men were later charged with rebellion for their role in organizing the event.
Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage have staged hunger strikes during their detention, to protest over their ill-treatment, and over the legality of the charges against them. Filep and Yusak are reportedly both Christians who believe in non-violence. Filep studied Social and Political Sciences while Yusak reportedly studied Theology and Law. Upon his arrest, Yusak was pursuing a Masterís Degree at the Theological College, Walter Post, in Jayapura.
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