Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Power restored at world's busiest airport

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

‘Mexico will not finance US wall,’ foreign minister says

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

AU: African nations must prepare for potential return of thousands of jihadists

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo former child soldiers awarded $10 million in damages in landmark ruling

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Website roots out 'Rotten Apples'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Putin's press conference; Alabama Senate election; One Planet Summit

Read more

#TECH 24

WorldRemit: Helping migrant workers send money back home

Read more

FOCUS

The challenges awaiting the new leader of South Africa's ANC

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Bangladeshi PM calls violence in Myanmar 'unacceptable'

Read more

Asia-pacific

French reporters land in Paris after release from Indonesia jail

© iTélé Twitter account / Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat at their trial in Jayapura on October 20

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-10-29

Two French journalists who were jailed for illegal reporting in Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua landed at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport early on Tuesday.

Thomas Dandois, 40, and Valentine Bourrat, 29, were detained in August while making a documentary for Franco-German television channel Arte about the separatist movement in eastern Papua.

The pair were tried two months later in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, on charges of breaking immigration laws since they were reporting on tourist, not journalist, visas – a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.

Indonesia is deeply sensitive about journalists covering Papua, where a low-level insurgency against the central government has simmered for decades, and rarely grants visas allowing foreigners to report in the region.

Prosecutors had sought a four-month sentence during the trial, saying the journalists had admitted their mistake and apologised.

However, a panel of judges handed them a sentence of just two months and 15 days, most of which they had already served.

Speaking soon after the verdict last week, the reporters’ lawyer Aristo Pangaribuan had welcomed their imminent release, though adding that "from a legal perspective, this is not very good because it opens the door for the criminalisation of journalistic activities."

Foreign journalists detained in the past for illegally reporting in Papua have been swiftly deported.

Indonesia's Independent Alliance of Journalists has said this is the first time that foreign journalists have been tried for immigration violations in Papua.

Andreas Harsono, a Jakarta-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, urged Indonesia to overhaul the complex system for foreign journalists to apply for visas to report on Papua.

Currently, 18 different government agencies have to approve a foreign journalist visa for Papua, he said.

"Reporters won't use tourist visas if it is fair to apply for journalist ones," he said.
Dandois was detained at a hotel in the city of Wamena with members of separatist group the Free Papua Movement and Bourrat was detained shortly afterwards, according to authorities.

The Free Papua Movement has been at the forefront of the fight against the central government in the resource-rich region, which is poor and ethnically Melanesian

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-10-29

  • INDONESIA

    Indonesia to release French journalists detained in Papua

    Read more

  • INDONESIA

    French journalists on trial in Indonesia for illegal reporting

    Read more

  • INDONESIA

    Two French reporters held in Indonesia for two months

    Read more

COMMENT(S)