|Subject: Indonesian Regime to Prosecute U.S.
Journalist Allan Nairn
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 15:34:41 -0400
Indonesian Regime to Prosecute U.S. Journalist Allan Nairn Nairn Faces 10-Year Sentence
Contact: Amy Goodman, 212-209-2812
Benny Mateus, the chief justice of Nusa Tenggara Province province intends to prosecute U.S. journalist Allan Nairn for two technical violations of Indonesian immigration law, a local immigration official in Kupang, West Timor has informed Nairn.
Nairn is to be charged with engaging in unauthorized activities and overstaying his two-month visa. Both acts are considered illegal under sections 50 and 52 of the Indonesian immigration laws. If convicted, Nairn could face 10 years in prison.
Nairn, who was arrested in Dili on September 14, was one of the last journalists reporting from East Timor. Indonesian forces transferred him to Kupang in West Timor, a part of Indonesia.
A local immigration official, Mr. Zurya, has been interrogating Nairn at the immigration facility in downtown Kupang for several days.
According to Indonesian officials in Kupang, while Mateus is seeking to charge Nairn, the Minister of Justice, Dr. Muladi, and the Minister of Information, Yunus Yosfiah, are inclined to deport Nairn. But ultimately, they said, General Wiranto will make the final decision.
Subject: MEDIA RELEASE: Detained American Journalist Faces Imprisonment
For Immediate Release Contact: Amy Goodman 212-209-2812 John Miller 718-596-7668
DETAINED AMERICAN JOURNALIST FACES IMPRISONMENT
Journalist Allan Nairn remains in military detention after three days of questioning by Indonesian authorities.
Nairn is being held and interrogated by the local Immigration Chief in Kupang, West Timor, Mr. Zurya. According to Zurya, the Indonesian regime is divided over his fate: Justice Minister Muladi and Information Minister General Yunus Yosfiah, want Nairn deported; while Benny Mateus, the Chief Justice of Nusa Tenggara Timor province wants Nairn prosecuted and jailed. Nairn. The immigration chief said Nairn could face up to 10 years imprisonment.
During his interrogation, Nairn was asked to hand write a statement (full text attached). In the statement, Nairn said:
"I know that the army has put me on the black list. They did this because I watched their soldiers murder more than 271 people at the Santa Cruz cemetery. . . . Because I survived the massacre and denounced the crime to the outside world, the TNI/ABRI and the Suharto government banned me as a "threat to national security." That ban has been reaffirmed by each subsequent TNI/ABRI commander, including General Tanjung and General Wiranto."
Nairn was one of the last journalists to remain in East Timor after the Indonesian military and militias began to sack Dili, forcing nearly all United Nations personnel and independent observers to flee the country. Indonesian soldiers picked him up at a military checkpoint on September 14 5:30am(Dili time). He was then taken to KOREM, central army command headquarters for East Timor. There he was questioned by the Indonesian general in charge of martial law as hundreds of Itarak militia amassed in the back of the army compound.
On September 16, the military expelled Nairn from East Timor, flying him in a military jet to Indonesian West Timor. Also on the plane were militia armed with automatic weapons.
Nairn is a freelance journalist who filed regular reports from East Timor for news organizations, including The Nation magazine and Pacifica Radio. In 1991, while reporting for The New Yorker magazine, Nairn survived the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in which Indonesian soldiers, armed with U.S. supplied M-16s, gunned down more than 250 unarmed Timorese. Soldiers fractured Nairn's skull at the time.
After the massacre Nairn, (together with Amy Goodman of WBAI/Pacifica Radio) was banned from Indonesia and occupied Timor as "a threat to national security." The ban has since been personally reaffirmed by the TNI commander, General Wiranto. Nairn returned to East Timor without the knowledge of the Indonesian armed forces in 1994 and 1998.
Earlier this year, in defiance of the ban, Nairn again entered Indonesia. He has been in occupied East Timor since August.
Nairn has covered military and human rights issues since 1980. His reporting from Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Indonesia, East Timor and other places, has won the George Polk Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, The DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, as well as awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Radio/Television News Directors Association.
This is point l8 of the interrogation report on Allan Nairn. This is the part where the Immigration chief asks him to handwrite his position.
I know that the army has put me on the black list. They did this because I watched their soldiers murder more than 271 people at the Santa Cruz cemetery. This crime was the responsibility of the Indonesian army commander, General Try Sutrisno and the Minister of Defense, General Benny Murdani.
The murders were committed with American M-16 rifles. The American government also bears some of the responsibility because they have armed, trained and given money to the TNI/ABRI, even though they knew the TNI/ABRI is led by murderers and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Timorese, Acehnese, West Papuan and Indonesian civilians.
Because I survived the massacre and denounced the crime to the outside world, the TNI/ABRI and the Suharto government banned me as a "threat to national security." That ban has been reaffirmed by each subsequent TNI/ABRI commander, including General Tanjung and General Wiranto.
I do not think that I am a threat to the Indonesian or Timorese people, but I hope that I am a threat to General Wiranto and General Tanjung, and the other present and former leaders of the TNI/ABRI. I believe that they feel threatened by anyone who would expose their crimes. General Wiranto and Generals Bambang, Zacky, Syafei, Kiki, and many others, for example, are responsible for the current militia terror in occupied East Timor and for the increase in repression against the people of Aceh. This is no secret to the people of Timor or to the people of Indonesia or Aceh. They have suffered for decades under the repression and corruption of TNI/ABRI.vMany brave Indonesians, Timorese, Acehnese, and West Papuans have been killed, arrested, tortured or raped because they dared to criticize the army and demand their right to freedom.
As a foreigner and a journalist, particularly an American journalist, I know that I enjoy a certain de facto political leeway that enables me to say things that local people would be killed for saying. I have tried to use that privilege to tell the truth about TNI/ABRI. If, because of this, the army feels they must arrest or jail me, then I know that there is nothing I can do to stop them. But they know that they cannot arrest or kill all the people of Indonesia. That is why they are now so fearful, and that is why I believe they will lose their desperate struggle to retain their hold on power and their police state.
During my most recent detention, I have been interrogated by officials from army Intel, police Intel, Kopassus Group 5, and many other units. They have asked me many questions about my political motives and opinions. I would summarize my opinions this way:
I am pro human rights, pro democracy, and anti TNI/ABRI. I am a supporter of the people of East Timor, Aceh, West Papua, and Indonesia, and an opponent of the officials who have repressed and exploited them.
As an American citizen who is visiting Indonesia and occupied East Timor, I also want to be clear that I believe in even-handedness. The same political, moral and legal standards that are applied to TNI/ABRI officers should also be applied to the officers and political leaders of the United States. So while I support the UN Secretary-General's call for war crimes and crimes against humanity prosecution on East Timor, I think that the prosecution should not be limited to Indonesian officials. Foreign officials who were accomplices to atrocities in East Timor, and provided both murder weapons and the logistics of repression should also be charged, prosecuted and if convicted, jailed.
Pragmatically, it is hard to imagine General Wiranto sitting in jail. It is even harder to imagine President Clinton as his cellmate. But justice should be impartial.
It is time for the genocide to end. Untold thousands of Timorese lie slaughtered. Their families are bereft. The victims of Santa Cruz, Liquica, and Suai can no longer speak. Those of us who can should insist that the killing stop right now. And we should also insist that the killers face justice, regardless of who they are.
These same principles apply of course to atrocities everywhere. I think that this is a simple idea and that most people would agree.
If General Wiranto or any other officials have further questions about my views, I would be glad to answer them personally at a time and place of their choosing. I would also be glad to give details on the crimes referred to above, and on the complicity in them of General Wiranto and other officials. END
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