Subject: Militia leader claims prosecutor threatens expulsion to East Timor

Militia leader claims prosecutor threatens expulsion to East Timor

JAKARTA, Oct 26 (AFP) - Former East Timorese militia boss Eurico Guterres on Thursday accused Indonesia's attorney general of endangering his life by threatening to expel him to his former homeland.

Guterres, the former leader of the once-feared Aitarak (Thorn) militia in East Timor, told journalists from his detention house here that Attorney General Marzuki Darusman had made the threat recently.

Backed by the military, Aitarak and thousands of other pro-Jakarta militias fled to the Indonesian-ruled West Timor when international troops arrived to halt their orgy of violence after East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence on August 30 last year.

"When I was arrested, Marzuki Darusman told me that I would be sent back to East Timor," Guterres told journalists at his police-provided witness protection house.

Darusman was not immediately available for comment on the charges, but the attorney general said two weeks ago that Jakarta would not allow Guterres to be questioned in Dili by prosecutors from the UN Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) on his alleged role in the post-ballot violence.

Darusman, who had made the statement following a consultation meeting with President Abdurrahman Wahid and security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said the meeting concluded that Guterres would "remain in Jakarta."

Guterres is being held in a police safe house after the South Jakarta district court on Monday ordered police to release him on the grounds that he had been improperly arrested, and his lawyers said he needed police protection.

He had been arrested in a hotel here on October 4 for allegedly ordering his men to snatch back weapons surrendered to police in Atambua, a West Timor border town near East Timor.

In his brief safe house press conference Guterres also accused the United States, Australia and the United Nations of plotting to assassinate him.

"Why do the US, Australia and the UN hold such a vindiction against me? So much that they even want to kill me ... it does not solve the problems in East Timor," he lamented.

He also pleaded to police for his immediate release, saying that he had to return to his villa in the West Timor capital of Kupang where his wife and children live.

The Kupang court will hear an appeal next week in an illegal weapons case in which Guterres was cleared earlier this year.

East Timor-based prosecutors have implicated Guterres in two massacres there in April last year and have formally asked Indonesia to hand over Guterres.

He is already under investigation by Indonesian prosecutors as a suspect in one of the two April 1999 massacres.

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