Subject: Timorese man to face trial over murder of New Zealand peacekeeper

Timorese man to face trial over murder of New Zealand peacekeeper

JAKARTA, Oct 18 (AFP) - A man accused of murdering a New Zealand peacekeeping soldier in East Timor last year will go on trial in Jakarta on Monday, a report said Thursday.

Yacobus Bere will face trial at Central Jakarta court over the killing of Leonard William Manning, the Sinar Harapan evening daily said.

The newspaper did not say what charge he would face.

A New Zealand embassy spokesman said the Indonesian attorney general's office had told them the charge would be second-degree murder, punishable by up to 15 years' jail.

Manning, 24, was shot when New Zealand troops serving with the UN peacekeeping force were tracking militia fighters in a rugged border area near Suai in East Timor on July 24, 2000,

The newspaper said Bere, along with five other armed men, were in the area when they encountered a vehicle of the UN peacekeeping forces.

It said Manning was shot twice, his ears were cut off and his firearm was stolen.

Bere, an East Timorese, had fled to Indonesian West Timor shortly after the arrival of UN peacekeeping forces in East Timor in September 1999.

He was arrested in West Timor.

Three other men in the group have also been arrested while two others are still on the run, the newspaper said. The three others will be tried separately.

Bere was flown to Jakarta for the trial last month.

One of his lawyers has said the dossier on the case has been shown to the chief prosecutor in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province -- which includes West Timor -- and to legal officials with the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor.

After East Timorese voted overwhelmingly in August 1999 for independence from Indonesia, pro-Jakarta militias backed by the Indonesian military embarked on an orgy of killing and destruction.

Sporadic border clashes between militiamen and UN peacekeepers continued the following year and this year.


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