Subject: AP: Minimum jail sentence sought for Eurico Guterres
Prosecutors Demand 10 Yrs Jail For E Timor Militia Leader
JAKARTA, Oct. 31 (AP)--Prosecutors demanded on Thursday a 10-year prison sentence for Eurico Guterres, a pro-Indonesian militia leader accused of crimes against humanity during East Timor's break with Indonesia.
Prosecutor Muhammad Yusuf said Guterres had caused dozens of deaths by allowing a paramilitary gang under his command to go on a rampage after East Timor's people voted overwhelmingly for independence in a U.N.-sponsored plebiscite in August 1999.
"The defendant does not feel guilty and does not regret his actions," Yusuf told the judges as he summed up the prosecution's case.
If convicted, Guterres would be the second civilian to be sentenced for crimes against humanity in East Timor. Former governor Abilio Soares was jailed for three years on similar charges. Prosecutors had demanded ten years and six months jail sentence for Soares.
Indonesia convened the trials earlier this year, following intense international pressure for those responsible for the violence to be brought to justice.
However, several top military and police officials have been cleared of all charges - sparking intense criticism both at home and abroad.
Brig. Gen. Timbul Silaen and Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman, Indonesia's last police and military chiefs in East Timor, were acquitted. Later, another court cleared a group of two active colonels and two majors in the army and police force, along with a retired army colonel.
East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, first proclaimed independence in November 1975, after the collapse of the colonial administration.
Indonesia invaded that year, and at least 100,000 people, mainly civilians, were killed during the struggle that followed. In 1999, after 80% of the territory's voters opted for independence, the retreating Indonesian army and its militia proxies devastated the region and killed hundreds of civilians.
The territory gained full independence in May, after a period of transitional rule by the United Nations.
Minimum jail sentence sought for militia leader
The Jakarta Post 1 November 2002 Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak
Jakarta. State prosecutors demanded on Thursday a minimum ten-year jail sentence for Eurico Guterres, the former commander of a notorious East Timorese prointegration militia group, for gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999.
Prosecutor Muhamad Yusuf told the court the defendant was guilty of provoking his subordinates to attack the home of East Timorese pro-independence leader Manual V. Carrascalao in Dili.
"The defendant had the command responsibility. Unfortunately, he failed to perform his duty to prevent subordinates from committing crimes. He also provoked the attack ...," Yusuf told the court.
On April 17, 1999, the pro-Indonesia militia led by Guterres, attacked Carrascalao's home where dozens of pro-independence supporters had taken refuge. Twelve people were killed, including Carrascalao's son Manuelito.
Guterres was then the commander of the Aitarak prointegration group and deputy commander of the Integration Fighters Legion (PPI).
The East Timorese is facing charges of crimes against humanity under the 1999 law on rights tribunals, a sentence which carries a minimum penalty of ten years jail and a maximum penalty of death.
During its sentence demand, the prosecution said a remorseless Guterres ignored information to avoid or to stop the attack that left a number of dead.
In mitigation, Eurico, now a leading member of the youth wing of President Megawati's ruling PDI-Perjuangan political party, had cooperated with investigators, was still young, and he had also, during that delicate time, promoted many efforts to restore peace, Yusuf said.
"The defendant has also been punished by being exiled from East Timor."
Presiding Judge Herman Heller Hutapea adjourned the hearing for one week to hear the defense plea.
"The whole thing is just a conspiracy," Guterres was quoted by AFP as saying after the trial.
Last week Eurico said he had no regret for his actions in East Timor.
"The charges are baseless because the parties responsible for security in East Timor were the military and police, not me," he said.
Eurico is the first militia leader to stand trial in the Ad Hoc Human Rights court. A total of 18 people have been or will be tried for alleged gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999.
Many human rights campaigners, however, have criticized the trial which they say has failed to incriminate top military leaders.
In addition, the court found former East Timor police chief Gen. Timbul Silaen, former Suai regent Col. Herman Sedyono along with two of the district's military officers and police chief not guilty. The prosecutors had demanded sentences of more than ten years in jail for each of the accused.
Only former governor Abilio Soares has been convicted. He was jailed for three years.
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