Yudhoyono miffed over plan for his ‘arrest’
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Susilo Bambang Yuhoyono: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has responded angrily over a move by pro-Papua independence activists who have offered a bounty for his arrest when he visits the United Kingdom next month.
Presidential spokesperson Julian Aldrin Pasha said that Yudhoyono was angry over what the group referred to as his planned “citizen’s arrest and said that the publicity stunt could harm relations between Indonesia and the United Kingdom.
Julian said that the President, would not file a complaint with the UK government and that it would not affect the trip to London.
“We have spoken with the British Embassy in Jakarta about the issue, because, frankly, the campaign has hurt the relationship between Indonesia and the UK,” Julian said on Wednesday.
Yudhoyono is scheduled visit Britain from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 to attend celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron delivered the invitation for the jubilee personally during a state visit to Jakarta in April.
Julian said Yudhoyono’s visit to London has been planned to enhance ties between the two nations.
“The Indonesia-UK relationship is too precious to be disrupted by such a cheap act. The British government, through its embassy in Jakarta, shared the opinion that we need not respond excessively. We do need clarification to ensure the public understands the situation,” he said.
Julian said that the arrest plan made little sense.
“It is not possible for the President, in his capacity as a head of a state, to be detained or arrested. The President’s security and safety during his visit to the UK has been fully guaranteed by the UK government. The London Metropolitan Police have guaranteed that the plan will not materialize,” Julian added.
The Free West Papua campaign, which is believed to be based in Great Britain, has offered a reward of £50,000 (US$81,325) to “the first person[s] to perform a citizen’s arrest” on Yudhoyono during his state visit to the UK.
The activists have said Yudhoyono must be held accountable for “ordering ongoing genocide in West Papua where over 500,000 innocent people have been killed including women and children.”
The campaign, posted on arrestpresidentsby.wordpress.com, also claims that Yudhoyono was wanted by the International Criminal Court for orchestrating the genocide. The information was posted on Sept. 1 and is the only item on the blog.
The arrest plan itself appears only to be conducted as a publicity stunt.
The website said that anybody could claim the reward if they could “calmly and in a gentle fashion lay a hand on Yudhoyono’s shoulder or elbow, in such a way that he cannot have any cause to complain of being hurt or trapped by you, and announce loudly, ‘Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, this is a citizen’s arrest for genocide and crimes against humanity in West Papua. I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge’.”
The website added, “It is likely that British police officers will be accompanying Yudhoyono, so you should explain the charge to them, and encourage them to support you by arresting him. You are advised not to put yourself at risk of charges of assault or false imprisonment.”
The attempt has also to be “reported in at least one mainstream media outlet”.
According to the website, the action would be “largely symbolic but will have great political resonance”.