Subject: AN: Guterres gets "Dignity" award


Semarang, C Java, Nov 3 (ANTARA) - Former deputy commander of East Timor's Integration Fighters Legion (PPI), Eurico Guterres, has been conferred the "Dignity of National Patriot" award by a communication forum of political parties in Semarang, capital of Central Java province.

Forum coordinator, Sonny Sendu, disclosed here Friday that the award would be conferred symbolically at Semarang's Gedung Juang 45 building on Saturday (Nov 4).

"The conferring of the award has to be undertaken symbolically by the chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Party - Struggle (PDI-P) of Semarang municipality branch, Ismoyo, to an East Timorese figure living in Semarang because Eurico is being detained in Jakarta's Salemba prison," Sonny said.

Guterres was arrested in Jakarta last month, while fulfilling a summons by the Attorney General's Office for an investigation on human rights violations in the wake of last year's popular ballot in East Timor.

Guterres contested the legality of the police's procedure in arresting him, and filed a pre-trial examination at the South Jakarta district court.

Although the court ruled that the arrest was illegal, and instructed that Guterres be released, police continue to detain the pro-integration fighter on the pretext of a witness protection program.

Police accused Guterres of hampering the recent process of disarming East Timorese militia temporarily living in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province as refugees.

Sonny justified the conferring of the award to Guterres on the ground that the government has neglected the defender of Indonesia's Red-and-White Flag in East Timor.

"Eurico has been fighting for the glory of the country and nation, Indonesia. Yet, his struggle has been slighted for the benefit of the country's foreign relations, thus throwing him into gaol," he pointed out.

Sonny agreed that Guterres should be taken to justice if he had committed a criminal act.

"However, his struggle to defend the interest of the Indonesian nation should also be taken into account," he observed.

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