West Papuan activist banned from PNG

Benny Wenda
Wenda banned from PNG.
West Papuan activist and campaigner, Benny Wenda, has been banned from entering Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the future.

According to Karabuspalau Kaiku’s Facebook post, Wenda, checked in at the Jackson’s International Airport at 2pm on December 12 for Australia and Europe when immigration officials issued the ban.

Wenda is an international lobbyist and West Papua’s independence leader. He was granted political asylum in 2003 and has been living in the United Kingdom since.

In 2002 Wenda was arrested and taken to trial for “…allegedly leading a procession of people in an independence rally” by the Indonesian government. However, he managed to escape to PNG where he was later smuggled to Europe.

Wenda has since been a thorn in the Indonesian government’s side and in 2011 a red notice was issued by the government to Interpol for his arrest and extradition. The notice was removed after an investigation concluded that the notice was politically motivated and an abuse of the system.

Wenda came to the PNG to participate in the Rising Star flag raising ceremony on December 1 at the National Capital District (NCD) city hall with the support of governor, Powes Parkop. However, according to The UK Guardian, the activist had been threatened with arrest for "engaging in political activities" and breaching visa conditions minutes after arriving.

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