|Subject: JP: Desmond Tutu urges immediate release of
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 17:32:45 EDT
Jakarta Post Saturday, August 21, 1999
Desmond Tutu urges release of Gusmao
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged Indonesia on Thursday to free East Timor independence leader Jose Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmao and withdraw its troops from the territory ahead of the direct ballot.
"I call for the immediate release of Xanana Gusmao, currently under house arrest in Jakarta; the withdrawal of the Indonesian military from East Timor; their replacement by a UN peacekeeping force and an end to terror and violence in the region," Reuters quoted Tutu as saying in a statement released by his office at Emory University in Atlanta where he teaches theology.
Indonesia has said it will release Gusmao, who has been in jail since 1992 for leading a rebel movement, only after the Aug. 30 vote.
Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and former head of the Anglican Church in South Africa, also called for an end to violence by progovernment militias ahead of the ballot.
"The whole process is being subverted by violence and intimidation perpetrated by groups linked to the Indonesian military," he said.
Tutu said Indonesia's recent embrace of democracy "had a positive spin- off for East Timor, which has suffered so grievously under Indonesian repression".