Subject: Portuguese lawyers demand Suharto extradition
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 1998 12:10:05 -0500
From: Charles Scheiner
Portuguese lawyers seek Suharto extradition for Timor genocide
LISBON, Dec 26 (AFP) - Portuguese lawyers said Saturday they would seek the extradition of Indonesia's ex-president Suharto for his alleged role in the genocide of a third of the population of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor which Indonesia seized in 1975.
The Portuguese section of the International Jurists' Commission (CIJ) in Geneva said it would file suit against Suharto, deposed last May, in a bid to seek his extradition to Portugal.
The suit will be filed with Portugal's Attorney-General in January, charging Suharto with responsibility in "crimes of genocide, the deaths of 200,000 civilians, torture and summary executions" committed in East Timor after Jakarta annexed it in December 1975.
"It would be strange, after 10 countries presented (extradition requests) for (former Chilean dictator) Augusto Pinochet for similar reasons, for Portugal not to do the same in connection with Suharto," said Antonio Maria Pereira, a lawyer and president of Law and Justice, the Portuguese section of the CIJ.
A month ago, Portugal's Attorney-General refused to grant an international arrest warrant against Suharto, requested by a right-wing nationalist deputy, arguing that the charges against Suharto did not fall under the jurisdiction of Portuguese law.
However, according to Pereira, Suharto's extradition to Portugal would be easier than Pinochet's to Spain, because the crimes Suharto is accused of were committed on territory still recognised by the United Nations and international law as being Portuguese.