Subject: AFP: Probe into Dutch journalist's murder still open, policeman says

Agence France Presse

July 17, 2002 Wednesday

Probe into Dutch journalist's murder still open, policeman says

JAKARTA, July 17

An investigation into the murder of a Dutch journalist in East Timor in 1999 is still open, a Dutch police officer said Wednesday after giving Indonesian prosecutors fresh evidence in the case.

"There is more than enough (evidence) to arrest at least several TNI (Indonesian armed forces) members as suspects in the hope that they will be questioned as suspects, not just as witnesses," said Superintendent Gerrit Thiry.

He told a press conference he came to Jakarta at the invitation of Indonesian Attorney-General Muhammad Abdurachman, who asked him to bring any new evidence.

Thiry said the new evidence was a videotape.

The tape appears to support witness statements that implicated Indonesian soldiers in the murder of Financial Times correspondent Sander Thoenes.

"I more than welcome the fact that the case isn't closed, in contradiction of the messages in the press," Thiry told reporters.

Indonesian prosecutors last month said they had suspended their investigation into the murder of Thoenes, who was killed just outside the East Timor capital Dili on September 21, 1999.

But Thiry said the attorney general's spokesman had told him the case is not closed.

Thoenes was riding pillion on a motorcycle at the time of his death.

saw approaching troops from Indonesian Battalion 745, Thiry said. The rear tire of the bike went flat and Thoenes fell.

Other witness testimony says soldiers were seen standing over Thoenes' body as a shot was heard and the motorcycle lying on the road was loaded onto an Indonesian army truck, Thiry said.

On the videotape which Thiry said he obtained Tuesday, a black motorcycle is seen being unloaded from a truck at a Dili military base in the presence of soldiers and police wearing bandanas.

Thiry said the tape showed the rear tire of the motorcycle was flat. "At school I learned one and one is two but still of course we have to prove that that motorcycle is the motorcycle. We hope it is."

The video will be shown on Dutch and American television Wednesday, he said.

"It makes clear that statements that the Indonesian soldiers made to the Indonesian prosecutors were not really truthful and I think it gives a boost to the statements of the witnesses I spoke with," Thiry said.

He said Indonesian investigators should conduct follow-up interviews with the soldiers about what is shown on the video.

Asked whether he thought Indonesian authorities were deliberately stalling the case, Thiry said, "I don't know their agenda. Let's say I'm more eager maybe than they are." He expressed hope the case will be brought before an independent judge.

Thoenes died the day after a UN-sanctioned Australian-led peacekeeping force landed in Dili amid widespread looting, murder and destruction of property by Indonesian forces and their local militia allies.

The violence followed an overwhelming vote by East Timorese in August 1999 to separate from Indonesia.

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