World

Indonesia lifts travel ban for foreign journalists to Papua, releases 5 political prisoners

FILE - In this April 21, 2015 file photo, Indonesian President Joko Widodo delivers his remarks during Asian African Business Summit on the sideline of Asian African Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia's president has announced the lifting of a travel ban for foreign journalists to the country's easternmost Papua province and freed five Papuan political prisoners following their appeal for clemency. Widodo announced the lifting of the ban Sunday, May 10, 2015 during his three-day visit to the province. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)

FILE - In this April 21, 2015 file photo, Indonesian President Joko Widodo delivers his remarks during Asian African Business Summit on the sideline of Asian African Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia's president has announced the lifting of a travel ban for foreign journalists to the country's easternmost Papua province and freed five Papuan political prisoners following their appeal for clemency. Widodo announced the lifting of the ban Sunday, May 10, 2015 during his three-day visit to the province. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)  (The Associated Press)

Indonesia's president has announced the lifting of a travel ban for foreign journalists to the country's easternmost Papua province and freed five Papuan political prisoners following their appeal for clemency.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced the lifting of the ban Sunday during his three-day visit to the province. A low-level insurgency for an independent Papua has persisted since the region was transferred from Dutch to Indonesian rule in 1963.

On Saturday, Jokowi released five Papuan political prisoners who were serving jail sentences ranging from 19 years to life for an attack on a military arsenal in 2003 that killed two army soldiers.

For years, Indonesia's government has restricted visits to Papua by human rights workers and journalists, and pro-independence activists have been given prison terms for expressing their views.