Subject: AFP: Timor court jails former pro-Jakarta militiaman for murder

06 February 2004 1310 hrs

Timor court jails former pro-Jakarta militiaman for murder

DILI: An East Timor court has jailed a former pro-Jakarta militiaman for seven years for murdering an independence supporter during the territory's bloody breakaway from Indonesia in 1999.

Joanico Gusmao, a former member of the Laksaur militia, had admitted the murder in Suai in September of that year, according to a statement from prosecutors in the Serious Crimes Unit.

It said judges took his guilty plea into account in fixing the sentence.

The Special Panels for Serious Crimes, which hears cases linked to the bloodshed, has since 2001 convicted 47 people. They include East Timorese who formerly served with the Indonesian army, militia members and an East Timorese pro-independence guerrilla.

Indonesian army troops and their local militia proxies waged a savage but futile intimidation campaign before East Timorese voted overwhelmingly in August 1999 to split from Indonesia, and a revenge campaign afterwards.

An estimated 1,000 people were killed before and after the ballot and whole towns were burnt to the ground.

United Nations-funded prosecutors have indicted 369 people including former Indonesian armed forces chief and presidental aspirant General Wiranto. But 281 of them are in Indonesia, which refuses to hand anyone over for trial.


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