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Swiss journalist arrested in Indonesia

A journalist working for the Zurich-based Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) newspaper has been arrested in the trouble-stricken province of Irian Jaya, during a weekend of separatist violence.

The NZZ said on Monday that Oswald Iten had been "carrying out his normal journalistic duties", when he was arrested on Sunday.

Iten was arrested after Indonesian security forces occupied the headquarters of the West Papua independence movement, a separatist group fighting for sovereignty from Jakarta.

Indonesian police said Iten had violated the terms of his tourist visa by taking photographs of the incident.

The NZZ confirmed that the Swiss embassy in Jakarta had been informed and said it was seeking an explanation from the Indonesian authorities.

Iten was arrested in the province's capital, Jayapura, during a weekend of separatist violence, in which at least 10 people were killed.

They were marking the 39th anniversary of West Papua's unilateral declaration of independence in 1961.

Irian Jaya occupies the western half of Papua island, north of Australia. Indonesia occupied the region in 1963 and renamed it Irian Jaya.

swissinfo with agencies

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