Tag Archives: Australia

Indonesia/Australia: Australia refuses to rule out handing over Sydney lawyer who advocates for West Papuans to Indonesia

September 17, 2019

West Papuan activist Victor Yeimo and Indonesian lawyer Veronica Koman

The Australian government has refused to rule out handing over a Sydney-based lawyer who advocates for West Papuans to Indonesian authorities.

Veronica Koman, an Indonesian human rights lawyer who currently lives in Australia, is being pursued by Indonesian police for disseminating evidence of police- and military-backed violence in West Papua.

Koman has been a credible source of eyewitness accounts, photos and footage of protests that have swept across West Papua and other Indonesian provinces in recent weeks.

Several people have reportedly died and dozens of others injured in violent clashes with Indonesian police, military and military-backed militia, which were sparked by the racist abuse of Papuan students in Java but have morphed into a demand for a referendum on West Papuan independence.

Koman faces charges under the country’s controversial electronic information and transactions law, and faces up to six years in jail if found guilty.

East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told the Guardian that if Koman did not report to Indonesian authorities by 18 September, a red notice would be issued through Interpol for her arrest. “After that we will work with the international police,” he said.







UN experts urge Indonesia to protect human rights defender Veronica Koman


https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20190917135734-134-431227/ahli-pbb-desak-ri-cabut-sangkaan-terhadap-veronica-koman (INDONESIAN)

Indonesia/Australia: Indonesia: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman | Joint Letter

September 13, 2019

LRWC and L4L sent a joint letter calling on Indonesian authorities to withdraw criminal charges against human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, charged for disseminating information about police violence against Papuan students peacefully protesting for Papuan self-determination. The letter was sent to the Ministers of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, of Law and Human Rights and of Immigration along with the President and the Police Chief for the East Java region.

The President of the Republic of Indonesia
His Excellency Mr. Ir. Joko Widodo
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat

Amsterdam, 12 September 2019

Subject: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman

Your Excellency,

Lawyers for Lawyers (“L4L”) is an independent and non-political Dutch foundation that seeks to promote the proper functioning of the rule of law by pursuing freedom and independence of the legal profession. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) is a committee of lawyers and others who promote international human rights through advocacy, legal research and education.

L4L and LRWC write to express their concern about the police charges against Ms. Veronica Koman.

Veronica Koman is a prominent, independent human rights lawyer who previously worked as a public interest lawyer at the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) in Jakarta. LBH provides legal aid to the poor and marginalized people in Indonesia. Specifically, Veronica Koman has specialized in defending the rights of international refugees, women & LGBTIQs and West Papuans.

In previous years, Veronica Koman received multiple (death and rape) threats for defending the rights of accused persons in high-profile political cases, among which three legal cases involving Papuan indigenous people who were accused of separatism.

Indonesia: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman | Joint Letter

Letter on behalf of Veronica Koman








https://regional.kompas.com/read/2019/09/15/13392941/fakta-baru-kasus-veronica-koman-polisi-temukan-6-rekening-hingga-bantah?page=all (INDONESIAN)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190914105624-20-430447/lsm-asing-surati-jokowi-setop-kasus-veronica-koman (INDONESIAN)

Indonesia/Australia: Outcry as Indonesia seeks to arrest renowned West Papua rights lawyer

September 5, 2019

Veronica Koman faces charges after being accused of spreading ‘fake news’ and inciting unrest

Indonesian police have named human rights lawyer and well-known West Papua advocate Veronica Koman as a suspect in the spreading of “fake news”, accusing her of provoking widespread unrest in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces.

In a move slammed by Amnesty International Indonesia, the human rights lawyer faces charges under the country’s controversial electronic information and transactions law, and faces up to six years in jail if found guilty.

Police specifically mentioned Koman’s posts about an incident in Surabaya in mid-August where military and nationalist militia were captured on video calling Papuan students “monkeys” and “dogs”.

East Java police said the lawyer had provoked and inflamed anti-racist riots that have swept across West Papua in recent weeks, and accused of her spreading fake news and provocative material.

Indonesian police say they have also contacted Interpol to seek assistance in locating the Indonesian lawyer, who they believe is abroad.

Indonesia’s National Commission of Human Rights slammed the move, saying Koman had attempted only to provide “necessary information from a different point of view”.




Indonesian police target Veronica Koman for West Papua ‘incitement’

https://www.tribunnews.com/regional/2019/09/05/berita-terkini-papua-blokir-internet-dicabut-hingga-sosok-veronica-koman-yang-jadi-tersangka (INDONESIAN)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190904161048-12-427500/safenet-polisi-tak-tepat-tetapkan-veronica-koman-tersangka (INDONESIAN)

https://news.solopos.com/read/20190905/496/1016638/amnesty-international-usut-pelaku-rasisme-bukan-twitter-veronica-koman (INDONESIAN)

https://www.suara.com/news/2019/09/05/073000/veronica-koman-jadi-tersangka-amnesty-international-minta-kasusnya-dicabut (INDONESIAN)

Indonesia/Australia: Jakarta sets Interpol after Australia-based human rights lawyer

September 5, 2019

Papua lawyer Veronica Koman. Picture: Supplied

Indonesian police have asked ­Interpol to help track down an ­Indonesian human rights lawyer — understood to be living in Australia — who is facing charges of having “incited” recent violent protests across West Papua.


East Java police on Wednesday booked VK, believed to be lawyer Veronica Koman, as a suspect for incitement following riots in East Java, Papua and West Papua since August 18.

Police say they have sufficient evidence taken from her Twitter account and statements from people in Papua confirming that she was very active in relaying ­information related to Papua. “We first called VK in as a ­suspect but she didn’t show up. We believe she is abroad so we will work with the national intelligence agency and Interpol to ­appre­hend her,” East Java police chief Luki Hermawan said in ­Surabaya.

Ms Koman was not physically in Papua during the riots but “proactively provoked the public” through her Twitter account, a police spokesman said.

Police referred to her August 18 tweet calling out “monkeys to fill the streets of Jayapura” after an incident the day before saw Papuan students in Surabaya verbally abused by civilians.

Ms Koman would be the third suspect booked for inciting violence after police questioned two others for allegedly hurling racial abuse and intimidating a group of Papuan students at a dormitory in Surabaya, East Java.

The Legal Aid Institute in Jakarta has strongly “condemned” this latest move by the police.







https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4693989/deretan-fakta-veronica-koman-yang-jadi-tersangka-provokasi-papua (INDONESIAN)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190904161048-12-427500/safenet-polisi-tak-tepat-tetapkan-veronica-koman-tersangka (INDONESIAN)

https://www.suara.com/news/2019/09/05/071000/penetapan-tersangka-veronica-koman-dan-4-berita-kerusuhan-papua-lainnya (INDONESIAN)

https://halloindo.com/antara-news/2019/09/04/amnesty-akar-masalah-tindakan-rasial-aparat-bukan-veronica-koman (INDONESIAN)

Australia/Timor Leste: Jose Ramos-Horta urges Australia to drop Witness K, whistleblower charges

August 30, 2019

Timor-Leste had moved on since the spying scandal and so should Australia by dropping charges against the whistleblowers who exposed it, says Jose Ramos Horta.

Lawyer Bernard Collaery addresses the media outside the Supreme Court in Canberra earlier this month.

Timor-Leste’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning former Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta says Australia “should get over it” and drop charges against two whistleblowers who revealed covert spying.

The criminal charges relate to whistleblowers lawyer Bernard Collaery and former spy Witness K revealing in 2013 that Australia had bugged government offices during negotiations over the sea boundary.

It was seen around the world as a rich nation stealing from an impoverished one.

Mr Ramos-Horta, who will on Friday attend Timor-Leste’s 20th-anniversary celebrations of its vote for independence, compared the Australian government’s pursuit of the pair to the novel Les Miserables and Inspector Javert’s obsessive pursuit of the convict Jean Valjean.

“I would never as leader of a country prosecute someone if we spied on some country and they came to us or the media and said I have just been asked to do something that is completely unethical and has nothing to do with the national interest,” he said.

“I would apologise to the nation if I were leader, apologise to the gentleman, the spy.”

Mr Ramos-Horta was shot at his home in Dili in an assassination attempt in 2008.

The scandal began in 2004 when the Australian Secret Intelligence Service planted covert listening devices in the Timor-Leste cabinet office to gain an upper hand in negotiations over the rich Greater Sunrise oil and gas fields.















https://mapdow.com/des-milliers-celebrer-le-20e-anniversaire-du-timor-oriental-mais-les-cicatrices-restent/ (FRANCAIS)

http://www.dailyviewsonline.com/cultura/Australiano-spia-di-carica-con-intercettazioni-perdita-negato-il-patrocinio-h20452.html (ITALIANO)

Australia/Timor Leste: Xanana Gusmao offers to give evidence that could embarrass Australia in Witness K trial

August 26, 2019

Seven protesters stand with signs urging for the "real criminals" to be charged for people to "tell the truth".

The former prime minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao, says he wants to travel to Canberra to give evidence in court on behalf of former spy Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery if their prosecution continues.

Mr Gusmao has told Four Corners his evidence is likely to embarrass previous Australian governments in relation to the 2004 intelligence operation in which the Dili offices of the prime minister Mari Alkatiri were bugged by Australian foreign agents during treaty negotiations over oil and gas in the Timor Sea.

“I already promised to them, if it was not a secret trial, I will go to be their witness,” Mr Gusmao told Four Corners.

When asked what he would reveal in court, Mr Gusmao said, “All the information that I know.”

Witness K is a former intelligence agent who was involved in the Dili bugging operation in 2004. Mr Collaery is his former lawyer.

The pair are facing potential jail sentences after being prosecuted for allegedly conspiring to share secret information with the government of Timor Leste over the spying operation.

Mr Collaery faces four further charges over speaking to ABC journalists about the matter following an ASIO and AFP raid on his home and office.

Senior lawyers and crossbench politicians have expressed concerns about the prosecution and the secrecy surrounding the trials against the two men which are being run under the National Security Information (NSI) Act.




Collaery battles on, but who cares?



What Four Corners left out of the Witness K story





The Witness K debacle can still end poorly for the government

Click to access national_security_legal_professional_privilege_and_the_bar_rules_print.pdf

The Prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K: International and Regional Implications – Greg Barns



https://secure.avaaz.org/en/community_petitions/Australian_AttorneyGeneral_Drop_the_charges_against_truthtellers_re_Australian_spying_on_Timor/ (SIGN THE PETITION!)

https://www.change.org/p/pm-morrison-drop-the-charges-against-bernard-collaery-and-witness-k (SIGN THE PETITION!)


https://internasional.republika.co.id/berita/pwtuj1/xanan-gusmao-bersedia-berikan-kesaksian-soal-kasus-penyadapan-timor-leste-di-australia (INDONESIAN)

Australia/Timor Leste: East Timor bugging lawyer returns to court

August 22, 2019

Bernard Collaery will face court over leaking information about the bugging of East Timor's cabinet.

A lawyer at the centre of a diplomatically sensitive bugging scandal involving Australia and East Timor has returned to court.

Bernard Collaery appeared before the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday for the last in a series of preliminary hearings.

Collaery will next face a “national security” hearing at court on December 11 to determine what documents are kept secret in his matter.

It is understood he will only then be able to explain the case to his own lawyers.

Outside the Canberra courthouse, his counsel would not elaborate on the proceedings, simply saying they were “getting somewhere”.

Collaery, who is accused of revealing information about the bugging of East Timor’s cabinet rooms in 2004, is fighting the charge.

However his former intelligence officer client known only as Witness K will plead guilty over his alleged role in the affair.

The pair’s cases are now being dealt with separately, with Witness K expected to be sentenced at a later date.





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https://www.jornaltornado.pt/processos-judiciais-contra-o-sr-bernard-collaery/ (PORTUGUES)







Hong Kong: After prison, academic’s university hearing a ‘test case’

August 16, 2019


The release on bail from jail of a prominent pro-democracy scholar in Hong Kong this week could be a test case for dwindling academic freedom in Hong Kong as university disciplinary hearings loom, academics have said.

Benny Tai, a law professor at Hong Kong University or HKU, who was the co-founder of Occupy Central – the pro-democracy movement, also widely known as the Umbrella Movement, that brought Hong Kong to a standstill in 2014 – was released from jail on Thursday 15 August with bail conditions that include not being able to travel outside Hong Kong.

Tai was sentenced to 16 months in April this year, one of nine pro-democracy activists from the 2014 movement to be jailed. He has been freed pending an appeal hearing which is scheduled for February 2020.

His release comes amid escalating protests in Hong Kong, which began 10 weeks ago over a proposed bill to extradite criminals to mainland China.

Many are closely watching how Tai’s case will be now handled by the administration at HKU.

Terence Halliday, research professor at the American Bar Foundation – an interdisciplinary institute of advanced studies in Chicago – and an honorary professor at Australian National University, said Tai’s release was a “small window of hope in an increasingly dark situation”.



Hong Kong Police: Not Aware of Any Military Plans by China



https://hk.news.appledaily.com/local/daily/article/20190817/20750771 (CANTONESE)

Australia/Timor Leste: Witness K and the ‘outrageous’ spy scandal that failed to shame Australia

August 9, 2019

Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery helped correct what they saw as a gross injustice. They now face jail time

Peter Galbraith was playing a high-stakes game.

It was 2004 and, in the Dili heat, the distinguished US diplomat sat opposite Australian officials, bartering over a nation’s future.

Timor-Leste’s government, with Galbraith as its chief negotiator, was desperate to get a fair deal from the bountiful underwater oil and gas reserves that lay between it and Australia, a trusted ally and regional powerhouse.

Success would give it a significant share of fields worth $40bn-$50bn, helping lift the fledgling nation out of poverty. Failure would blow the tyres of an economy heavily reliant on natural resources.

The game, though, was rigged.

Unbeknownst to Galbraith, Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Asis) agents had been instructed to bug key offices of the Timor-Leste government. The listening devices would reveal Timor-Leste’s bottom line, its negotiating tactics and the competing views of cabinet members.

Australia’s actions would have been buried in perpetuity, had it not been for one Asis operative, known only as Witness K. The senior intelligence officer felt deeply uncomfortable about the operation, which was mounted during a heightened regional terror threat due to the 2002 Bali bombings. He eventually approached the intelligence watchdog, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS).

The spy obtained permission to talk to an approved lawyer, Bernard Collaery, a barrister and one-time attorney general for the ACT.

Collaery helped the Timor-Leste government build a case against Australia at The Hague, alleging the bugging had rendered the treaty void.

The revelations were splashed across mainstream media, first through the Australian, then the ABC.

In Timor-Leste, the pair were seen as heroes.

“Witness K, as the secret agent became known, and Collaery, are brave Australians,” former Timor-Leste president José Ramos-Horta wrote last month while calling for the pair to be awarded his nation’s highest honour. “Individuals with a conscience and courage, representing the very best of Australians as I know them – instinctively sympathetic to the underdog, the weak and vulnerable.”









http://mietspiegelnews.com/wirtschaft/Australian-Spion-schuldig-in-Ost-Timor-nervt-Fall-h29344.html (DEUTSCH)

http://www.dailyviewsonline.com/cultura/Australiano-spia-per-dichiararsi-colpevole-in-Timor-Est-intercettazioni-caso-h18174.html (ITALIANO)

https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/ex-espiao-australiano-que-denunciou-espionagem-a-timor-leste-vai-declarar-se-culpado_n1164907 (PORTUGUES)

Australia/Timor Leste: Former ACT Attorney-General facing trial over national security charges

August 5, 2019

Former ACT Attorney-General, deputy chief minister and barrister Bernard Collaery will face the ACT courts this week, where he will be charged with conspiracy for his role in advising an Australian secret agent and for speaking to the media about the matter.

“Essentially, I will be in my own dock,” he told Region Media. 

Mr Collaery is the lawyer for Witness K, who blew the whistle in 2012 over Australian intelligence services bugging the Timor-Leste cabinet room during 2004 discussions over the Timor gas treaty. He is believed to have been part of a team of ASIS operatives who carried out the operation. In 2013, ASIO raided Witness K and Mr Collaery’s chambers, seizing the client brief.

Although nobody has seen Witness K’s statement, it’s believed to relate to the agent’s concerns that Australia acted unethically during good faith negotiations with East Timor, and his concerns over the subsequent appointment of former foreign minister Alexander Downer and former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dr Ashton Calvert, to roles with Woodside Petroleum, a joint venture partner in the Sunrise natural gas field development.

Former ACT Attorney-General facing trial over national security charges












Australian democracy has finally, painfully, reached its nadir

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