Samuel Yaru who was born in 1957, is a pro-independence activist. In 1998, he had already been arrested as a student for raising the Morning Star flag, symbol of Papuan independence.

On 16 November 2009, according to the Jakarta Globe (2009), Samuel Yaru was arrested for organising a peaceful demonstration and raising the Morning Star flag in front of the office of the Papuan People’s Consultative Assembly in Jayapura, Papua. He allegedly said on that occasion that Papua’s Special Autonomy had failed to improve the quality of people’s lives, and that “Papuans are still poor in their own land.”

According to West Papua Media (2010), he was charged with treason (article 106 of the Indonesian Penal Code), conspiracy (article 110), and public incitement to commit a punishable act (article 160). During his trial in Jayapura Court, Mr. Yaru reportedly said “I have been confronted for years with the issue of Makar (treason) and I am ready for whatever happens.” He also said that he was not guilty: “everything I have done is in accordance with the principles of democracy.”

On 12 August 2010, according to Bintang Papua, Mr. Yaru was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment as the judges rejected the charge of treason. Mr. Yaru was found guilty of incitement.


Photograph: “Sem Yaru dan Luther Wrait,”

Bintang Papua, “Sem Yaru not afraid of being punished,” 12 August 2010, available in English translation at West Papua Media Alerts,

Bintang Papua, 12 August 2010, available in English translation at Pacific Scoop,

Human Rights Watch, “Human Rights Watch testimony to the US Congress on West Papua,” 22 September 2010,[email protected]/read/message.html?sort=d&mid=813890230&start=0

Jakarta Globe, “Morning Star flag erected in Indonesia’s restive Papua province,” 16 November 2009,

Jakarta Post, “Irianese hoist West Papua flag,” 2 July 1999,