Subject: The Press: Indonesian prosecutors appeal Bere sentence

The Press (Christchurch)

March 15, 2002, Friday

Indonesian prosecutors appeal Bere sentence

WELLINGTON -- Prosecutors in Indonesia have appealed against the six-year jail term given to the man who killed New Zealand soldier Leonard Manning in East Timor.

Yacobus Bere, 37, was found guilty in Jakarta last week of the second degree murder of Private Manning, 24.

Indonesian authorities had seven days in which to lodge an appeal. Yesterday's appeal was made as a written submission, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Phil Goff said.

He had no word on whether the defence would appeal, he said.

The prosecution had asked for 12 years on the second degree murder charge. The maximum sentence possible was 15 years.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said last week the six-year sentence was too light.

Bere shot Private Manning during an attack in jungle close to the border between East Timor and West Timor, on July 24, 2000.

Prosecutors said Bere made sure the victim was dead by cutting his throat with a machete and then slashing his ears off.

Bere said he would appeal the decision.

Three other Indonesian militiamen are also being tried over the slaying. The court is expected to deliver its verdict on them this month.

Two other men alleged to have been involved are still at large. --NZPA


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