Subject: Indon police clear E. Timorese of spying for Australian sergeant

Agence France Presse April 28, 2000

Indonesian police clear East Timorese of spying for Australian sergeant


The Indonesian police in West Timor said Friday they did not have enough evidence to charge an East Timorese man with spying, the Antara news agency said.

"He has been declared innocent because we have been unable to find enough evidence to indicate espionage," East Nusatenggara police spokesman Captain I Wayan Dana told the news agency.

Paul Tallo Alberto, 25, was arrested on the West Timorese side of the border with East Timor on April 6 on suspicion of spying.

After his arrest, officials said Alberto, a former member of the Besi Merah Putih pro- Indonesia militia in East Timor, had been paid by an Australian sergeant serving with the UN Peacekeeping Force in East Timor (UNPKF) to spy on militia activities in West Timor.

Dana said Alberto has already been handed over to the UN Migration Organization in Atambua, the main town of the West Timorese district of Belu which borders East Timor, on April 24.

He said since there was not enough evidence, "there is no reason for detaining him and we are sending him back to his country in East Timor because he was not proven guilty."

In a highly publicized press conference called by the police on April 11, Alberto told journalists he had been paid 100,000 rupiah (12.5 dollars) by an Australian sergeant for four days' work.

He was asked to report on the activities of Besi Merah Putih militia in West Timor and to try to ascertain whether they were receiving assistance from the Indonesian government.

He was arrested in Haekesak, the site of an East Timorese refugee camp, shortly after he arrived there.

The case sparked a formal protest by Jakarta to Canberra concerning the involvement of the Australian sergeant.

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