Solihull Amnesty campaigners celebrate protester's prison release - The Solihull Observer

Solihull Amnesty campaigners celebrate protester's prison release

Solihull Editorial 29th Jan, 2019   0

AMNESTY International campaigners from Solihull are celebrating after a teacher imprisoned for organising a peaceful protest was freed amid a well-backed campaign.

Johan Teterissa, a primary school teacher in Indonesia, was serving a 15-year prison sentence for leading a demonstration in front of the country’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2007.

Human rights charity Amnesty says that, during a ceremony, Johan led 22 other activists – most of whom were teachers and farmers – onto the field and performed a traditional war dance in front of the president.

At the end of the dance the activists unfurled a banned regional flag – a symbol of South Maluku independence.

In response, the protesters were punched and beaten by police and presidential guards and detained.

The torture continued during imprisonment and interrogation, the charity says.

It adds they were beaten, forced to crawl on their stomachs over hot asphalt, whipped with electric cables and had billiard balls forced into their mouths.

But on Christmas Day, after years of starvation and isolation, he was released from prison – four years earlier than expected.

Group member and Solihull resident Celia Rimington said: “When Johan Teterissa was recognised to be a prisoner of conscience, the Solihull Amnesty Group was one of the local groups who took on the case.

“Over a period of six years group members wrote weekly letters to government ministers and prison authorities campaigning for Johan’s release. They also sent the prisoner regular messages of support.

“Unfortunately this case is not a one off.

“In a recent message to Amnesty International members around the world, Johan sent his thanks and urged everyone to keep putting pressure on the Indonesian authorities so that all political prisoners are released.”

The Indonesian government has received thousands of letters from activists internationally.

The Solihull Amnesty Group has more than 60 followers on Facebook.

For more information go to or message [email protected].


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