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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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August 17, 2002

Sydney Morning Herald - August 17, 2002

Matthew Moore – The man who ran the United Nations mission that oversaw East Timor's referendum has branded the trials of alleged Indonesian war criminals a complete failure and said it was time for the UN to set up its own tribunal to investigate atrocities before and after the 1999 vote.

Melbourne Age - August 17, 2002

Jill Jolliffe, Dili – Almost the entire population of East Timor's main jail broke out yesterday in protest against the long delays in processing their cases.

One prisoner was shot in the shoulder and two guards were injured when about 300 prisoners escaped during visiting hours at Becora prison on the outskirts of Dili. By last night, about 200 had been recaptured.

Agence France Presse - August 17, 2002

About 60 human rights activists have demonstrated in the East Timorese capital Dili demanding an international tribunal into the 1999 violence that devastated the former Indonesian province.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 17, 2002

Matthew Moore, Jakarta – As he stood in the courtroom and hugged his wife on hearing his not guilty verdict, a hand reached out to Brigadier General Timbul Silaen.

August 16, 2002

Reuters - August 16, 2002

Achmad Sukarsono, Jakarta – East Timor's president, who has asked Indonesia's human rights court not to single out scapegoats for killings during the territory's 1999 independence vote, is neither upset nor angry with the court verdicts so far.

Jakarta Post - August 16, 2002

Fitri Wulandari and Lela E. Madjiah, Jakarta – Indonesia is mobs burning alive criminals, would-be criminals and even the innocent – and taking great delight in doing so.

Indonesia is a country that frees tycoons charged with embezzling trillions of rupiah belonging to the state and the people.

Straits Times - August 16, 2002

Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – A major shake-up of courts in Jakarta and other big cities is in the offing. Judges and prosecutors will be reshuffled as public pressure builds up to wipe out corruption in the legal system.

Jakarta Post - August 16, 2002

Muhammad Nafik, Jakarta – Poor service at public health centers in West Kalimantan has been blamed for the province's high mortality rate among babies and their mothers.

A survey conducted by the provincial health office shows that as many as 6,000 new-born babies die every year. The survey said there were 46 deaths for every 1,000 newborn babies.

Straits Times - August 16, 2002

Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Jafaar Umar Thalib, who heads one of Indonesia's top militant groups that is allegedly involved in bloody sectarian clashes in the Malukus and Sulawesi, went on trial yesterday.

Dressed in white robes, Jafaar was trailed by over 150 supporters who demonstrated outside the south Jakarta courtroom, chanting "God is great".

Radio Australia - August 16, 2002

[The Indonesian Government is refusing to act on requests from Singapore, Malaysia and the US for one of its leading Islamic clerics to be arrrested because of his alleged links to the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Straits Times - August 16, 2002

Jakarta – The top United States military officer in the Pacific yesterday urged Indonesia to avoid bloodshed in Aceh, where there are increasing signs that the government is preparing to launch a major offensive against separatist rebels.

Reuters - August 16, 2002

Jakarta – The International Monetary Fund praised Indonesia's 2003 draft budget on Friday, describing it as "sound" and saying it made big headway in reducing the country's hefty debt burden.

Jakarta Post - August 16, 2002

Jakarta – More than 700 Achenese demanded independence from Indonesia during a demonstration in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh on Thursday, just two days before the anniversary of Indonesia's independence.

Melbourne Age - August 16, 2002

Jill Jolliffe, Dili – The sentencing of their former governor, Abilio Soares, to three years in prison for failing to stop the 1999 violence drew a mixed response from the people of East Timor yesterday.

East Timor's Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta expressed fears that only East Timorese, such as Soares, would be punished for the violence.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 16, 2002

Matthew Moore, Jakarta – Indonesia's human rights court yesterday acquitted four mid-ranking soldiers and two policemen, including the former East Timor police chief, of charges they were involved in war crimes that resulted in about 1000 East Timorese being massacred before and after the vote on independence three years ago.

Radio Australia - August 16, 2002

The United States has called on the Indonesian government to redouble efforts to prosecute human rights abuses by its security forces in East Timor.

The call follows the acquittal of a police chief and five others on such charges.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 16, 2002

Dennis Schulz and Fernando de Freitas report – Opposite the clerk in the Government's Office of Foreign Affairs, Maria Gutierrez stares blankly at the official application, mouth agape. It is written in Portuguese. Like most young East Timorese, she is a speaker of Bahasa Indonesia. "What is this?" she asks in her native tongue.

Agence France Presse - August 16, 2002

Victor Tjahjadi, Jakarta – A conspiracy between the military and the Indonesian government was likely behind the acquittal of six military and police officers for gross human rights violations in East Timor, analysts said Friday.

Lusa - August 16, 2002

East Timor is preparing a "joint position" on the verdicts of the Jakarta court, currently trying those deemed responsible for the violence in Timor in 1999, and Dili will examine all options to rectify shortcomings in Indonesia's judicial system, Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said Friday.

August 15, 2002

New York Times - August 15, 2002

Jane Perlez, Unukan – Bent with the strain of balancing 12 years' of belongings, Zainal, a migrant worker who had just been expelled from Malaysia, struggled to board a navy boat that would take him back to his village. His long run of work abroad had abruptly come to an end. Two of his three children tottered along with him, clutching at his arms, their faces tight with fear.

Radio Australia - August 15, 2002

[Pro-independence activists from Indonesia's Papua province, formerly known as Irian Jaya, are still agitating for a task force to investigate human rights abuses. Indonesia says human rights is improving in Papua, because of a special autonomy law. But Papuan human rights groups don't share the government's optimism.

Jakarta Post - August 15, 2002

Yemris Fointuna, Kupang – Hundreds of hoodlums, gambling bosses and prostitutes grouped under the The Poor People's Union (SKM) went on strike on Wednesday in Kupang, capital of East Nusa Tenggara province, demanding the city administration and legislative council legalize gambling and prostitution.

Jakarta Post - August 15, 2002

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, Jakarta – The government refuted on Wednesday a report which detailed the Indonesian Military's (TNI) involvement in establishing terrorist groups in the country, and branded it as baseless.

Jakarta Post - August 15, 2002

Jakarta/Palu – Armed assailants involved in attacks in the Central Sulawesi town of Poso remain a mystery, but the authorities' failure to capture them or uncover their identities and whereabouts has sparked speculation that security forces may have played a role in a recent spate of attacks there.

Agence France Presse - August 15, 2002

Joaquim Fonseca's anger is clear as he recalls the massacre at a police station in the East Timor town of Maliana and the cold-blooded shooting of a young man by police in the capital, Dili.

Melbourne Age - August 15, 2002

Jill Jolliffe, Dili – The Dutch Government has promised to continue pressing Jakarta to prosecute the alleged killer of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes, despite Indonesian authorities saying there is insufficient evidence.

New York Times - August 15, 2002

Jane Perlez, Jakarta – An Indonesian human rights court today acquitted six military and police officials of crimes against humanity in East Timor after a pro-independence vote three years ago, a verdict that did not please the Bush administration as it seeks to rebuild military ties here.

South China Morning Post - August 15, 2002

The suffering East Timorese endured under Indonesian rule will define relations between the two countries for generations. Apologies and half-hearted trials of alleged perpetrators will not erase the 24 years of massacres, rapes and destruction of property.

Press Release - August 15, 2002 (abridged)

In a joint statement issued today, Amnesty International and the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) expressed their grave disappointment in the trials of the first East Timor cases in Indonesia.

South China Morning Post - August 15, 2002

Peter Kammerer – Reconciliation between East Timor and Indonesia has become a tussle of diplomacy versus justice – and it seems clear the latter will lose.

South China Morning Post - August 15, 2002

Chris McCall – Abilio Soares' light sentence finally proves that Indonesia's human rights trials related to East Timor are just a ploy to satisfy the international community, a top Indonesian rights activist said yesterday.

Voice of America - August 15, 2002

Stephanie Mann, Washington – The United States is moving toward restoring full military relations with Indonesia after a three-year hiatus.

Reuters - August 15, 2002

Jerry Norton, Jakarta – Indonesia's military must stay the course on reforms toward civilian control and respect for human rights if it wants normal ties with the United States, the top American commander in the Pacific said on Thursday.

Associated Press - August 15, 2002

Steven Gutkin, Jakarta – Women in miniskirts gyrate in all-night discotheques, where designer drugs circulate as freely as alcohol. Friday, the Islamic sabbath, is a regular work day. Pork is widely available in restaurants and supermarkets.

Reuters - August 15, 2002

Jakarta – Indonesian prosecutors on Thursday accused the head of the best-known Muslim militant group of inciting hatred when he delivered a speech earlier this year in the strife-torn Moluccas islands.

Reuters - August 15, 2002

Kuala Lumpur – Choking haze from forest fires in Indonesia has blanketed parts of Peninsular Malaysia, reducing visibility to as low as 1.5 km near the capital Kuala Lumpur, government officials said on Thursday.

Straits Times - August 15, 2002

Robert Go, Jakarta – The Indonesian government will impose a quota on sand supply to Singapore from next month as part of efforts to block illegal sand mining, and at the same time, to increase revenues from the commodity.

Agence France Presse - August 15, 2002

The youngest son of former strongman Suharto was transferred to an Indonesian prison island where he will serve his 15-year sentence alongside his father's golfing buddy.

Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra Suharto was flown Thursday by helicopter to the Nusakambangan prison island off the west coast of Java, an airport official named Bambang in the town of Cilacap told AFP.

August 14, 2002

Green Left Weekly - August 14, 2002

Bob Burton – The Australian government has defended its embassy officials in Jakarta who lobbied Indonesian security forces and officials to deal with "illegal miners" at an Australian-owned mine. In three separate incidents after the lobbying commenced, two people were killed and another five injured.

Straits Times - August 14, 2002

Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso yesterday refused to share the stage with other political hopefuls, including a becak or pedicab driver, by not turning up at a much-awaited public debate over who would earn the right to be the capital's next governor.

Jakarta Post - August 14, 2002

Jakarta – Hundreds of students demonstrated outside the South Kalimantan provincial legislative assembly on Tuesday, demanding Governor HM Sjachriel Darham resign for his alleged involvement in corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN), Antara state news agency reported.

Jakarta Post - August 14, 2002

Rendi A. Witular, Jakarta – The number of unemployed people increased by 400,000 to around 8.4 million during the first half of this year, the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) said in its latest quarterly survey.

However, independent experts say the figure does not reflect the true picture of the pressing unemployment problem in Indonesia.

United Press International - August 14, 2002

William M. Reilly, United Nations – The United Nations expressed dismay over the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal in Indonesia following the verdict Wednesday against former East Timor Governor Abilio Soares with both Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Human Rights High Commissioner Mary Robinson questioning the tribunal's practices.

Radio Australia - August 14, 2002

[The former governor of East Timor, Abilio Soares, has become the first Indonesian official to be sentenced to jail for gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999. A special human rights court presided by Judge Emi Marni Mustafa sentenced Soares to three years' in jail, well short of the 10-and-a-half years sought by prosecutors.

Associated Press - August 14, 2002

Steven Gutkin, Jakarta – In the first verdict in a series of trials of former Indonesian officials charged with crimes against humanity, the ex-governor of East Timor was convicted Wednesday of allowing massacres and sentenced to three years in prison.

Joint Press Statement - August 14, 2002

East Timorese demands for justice will not be satisfied by the conviction of former East Timor governor Abilio Soares for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor in 1999 say CAFOD, CIIR and TAPOL.

Lusa - August 14, 2002

An American NGO campaigning for human rights in East Timor called Wednesday for the setting up of an international tribunal to punish crimes against humanity committed throughout the 24-year Indonesian occupation of the territory, as opposed to the two months currently being focused on by an Indonesian court.

August 13, 2002

Associated Press - August 13, 2002

Kuala Lumpur – East Timor took control of its legal system from United Nations administrators too soon and weakness of the judiciary is hurting investor confidence, Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - August 13, 2002

Jakarta – Air pollution has cost Indonesia billions of US dollars in economic losses, deputy minister for Technical Infrastructure of Environment Management of the State Ministry for Environment Masnel Yarti Hilman says.

Straits Times - August 13, 2002

Robert Go, Jakarta – The latest review team of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) left Jakarta on Sunday with some praises for Indonesia's economic reform progress.

But it warned that investor confidence remained fragile and the recovery process could be derailed by future government mistakes.