Subject: Jail Sought For Indonesia General In East Timor Case

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Associated Press Monday, April 14, 2003

Jail Sought For Indonesia General In East Timor Case

JAKARTA (AP)--Prosecutors on Monday demanded a 10-year jail sentence for a former Indonesian military commander in East Timor accused of not preventing massacres during the country's bloody struggle for independence in 1999.

General Tono Suratman is one of 18 Indonesian military and government officials charged with crimes against humanity.

The special tribunal in Jakarta has come under fire for acquitting 11 defendants and convicting only five so far.

Prosecutor Gabriel Simangunsong told the court Suratman failed to prevent the deaths of five refugees during an April 1999 attack on a church, and the killing of a dozen others two weeks later when pro-Jakarta militiamen stormed into the Dili home of independence leader Manuel Carrascalao.

"The defendant did nothing to stop attacks that claimed lives and injured people," Simangunsong said. "The defendant also did not protect society from militia attacks in East Timor."

Suratman, the deputy spokesman for the military command in Jakarta, has denied the allegations. He told reporters Monday that he did everything he could to prevent the bloodshed.

Human rights activists have criticized the Indonesian trials as a sham, saying they were convened in order to defuse an international drive to set up a United Nations war crimes trial for East Timor akin to those for ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Prosecutors in the Timorese capital of Dili have launched their own war crimes trials, indicting nearly 250 people including the former chief of the Indonesian military General Wiranto. Thirty - mostly former militiamen - have been convicted of crimes ranging from murder to rape.

-Edited by Karen K. Lane

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