A court in the restive Indonesian province of Papua has sentenced five independence activists to prison for treason.

A court in Papua's capital, Jayapura, on Friday gave each of the five a three-year sentence for their pro-independence statements at October's Papuan People's Congress.

New York-based Human Rights Watch criticized the treason charges as politically motivated and said the Indonesian government should order the men's release.

The group also renewed a call for Indonesia to free all political prisoners and allow human rights groups and foreign journalists to visit Papua.

The former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969. A small separatist group has battled for independence ever since.