Subject: AP: Prosecutors Call For Indonesian Acquittal In E Timor Case

Prosecutors Call For Indonesian Acquittal In E Timor Case

JAKARTA, June 5 (AP)--The highest-ranked Indonesian military officer on trial for sanctioning the bloodshed during East Timor's struggle for independence in 1999 appeared set for acquittal after prosecutors Thursday called for charges against him to be dismissed.

Prosecutors told a human rights court that they had no proof that Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, who was chief of the Indonesian regional command that oversaw East Timor, was responsible for rights violations.

The move was expected to intensify criticism of the trials which rights groups have already dismissed as a sham. So far, just five of the 17 people put on trial have been convicted of crimes against humanity.

"We asked the judges to find the defendant did not commit any human rights violation as stated in the charges," chief prosecutor Sarani Hozie said. "Therefore, we asked the defendant be acquitted."

Damiri, who remains on active duty, smiled. Dozens of soldiers attending the proceedings at Central Jakarta District Court applauded.

The court is expected to rule next month on the unusual prosecution request.

East Timorese overwhelmingly voted for independence in August 1999, ending 24 years of Indonesian rule and triggering violence by the Indonesian military and its proxy militias that left 1,500 dead and the former province in ruins.

Prosecutors in the Timorese capital of Dili have launched their own war crimes trials, indicting more than 260 people including the former chief of the Indonesian military Gen. Wiranto, although it appears unlikely that Indonesia will extradite any suspects for trial.

Thirty defendants - mostly former East Timorese militiamen - have been convicted of crimes ranging from murder to rape.

-Edited by Lena Lee


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