Subject: AP: East Timor's Ex-Governor Released from Jail

Associated Press November 6, 2004

East Timor's Ex-Governor Released from Jail

East Timor's former governor has been released from jail, after a court overturned his conviction in connection with violence that left up to 2,000 East Timorese dead following their 1999 vote for independence from Indonesia, officials said.

Abilio Jose Soares was the only Indonesian official to be punished over the bloodshed that accompanied the U.N-sponsored independence referendum in East Timor.

"I wish to convey words of appreciation, as the Supreme Court decision has put the law on its right track," Soares told reporters as he left Jakarta's Cipinang prison late Friday. "Now, I only wish to live with my family as a good citizen."

The acquittal has dismayed rights activists who have urged Jakarta to punish those responsible for Indonesian troops and their militia proxies going on a rampage after their side lost the plebiscite.

Soares, who is ethnic East Timorese, was found guilty in 2002 of failing to prevent the violence and began serving a three-year sentence in July this year.

He filed a judicial review of his case with the Supreme Court, which determined that he had no security role in East Timor.

Indonesia has come under intense pressure to punish those responsible for the violence, and has charged 18 people, most from its police and military, with human rights crimes in a special tribunal.

Twelve defendants were acquitted. Three others have had their sentences overturned on appeal. Appeals in the cases of the two remaining defendants are expected soon.

Support ETAN, make a secure financial contribution at

Back to November menu
World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu