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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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February 25, 2003

Agence France Presse - February 25, 2003

Dili – East Timorese officials blamed anti-independence militias Tuesday for an attack that killed two people, injured four and heightened security fears in the world's newest nation.

A man aged 29 was killed on the spot in Monday's attack in the Maliana district bordering Indonesian West Timor. A 64-year-old man died in hospital Tuesday, his relatives said.

Jakarta Post - February 25, 2003

Yemris Fointuna and Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur – The military commander overseeing the West Timor province promised tighter security along its border with East Timor where one person died on Monday in an attack allegedly staged by pro Jakarta militia who crossed the border to West Timor.

Jakarta Post - February 25, 2003

Jakarta – In what could mark the country's first judicial review under the amended 1945 Constitution, six political parties, each with less than 2 percent of seats at the House of Representatives, plans to request that the Supreme Court review the new elections law, which had been described as "unfair".

Jakarta Post - February 25, 2003

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, Kuala Lumpur – President Megawati Soekarnoputri made her first address on the Iraq crisis when she spoke before the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit which opened on Monday, but she fell short of detailing initiatives to prevent war.

Kompas - February 25, 2003

Jakarta – Hundreds of demonstrators from the People's Democratic Party (PRD) demonstrated on Monday against US plans to attack Iraq.

They began gathering at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout then moved off to the British Embassy where they held speeches for around 10 minutes then moved off to the United Nations offices.

Radio Australia - February 25, 2003

The United Nations Serious Crimes Unit has indicted General Wiranto, the former governor of East Timor, Abilio Soares and six other senior military officers, for murder and persecution in the lead-up to East Timor's independence in 1999. But with the Indonesian Government unlikely to hand any of the men over for trial, will justice ever be done?

Jakarta Post - February 25, 2003

Jakarta – The United Nations on Tuesday indictedthe former armed forces chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto, along with six other senior generals and East Timor's ex-governor for crimes againsthumanity during the territory's bloody independence vote in 1999, AP reported.

February 24, 2003

Detik.com - February 24, 2003

Hestiana Dharmastuti, Jakarta – Threats by the Minister of Labour and Transmigration, Jacob Nuwa Wea, in which he called for demonstrators to end their actions, if not they will face Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) masses, has been greeted by cynicism.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2003

Tiarma Siboro, Jakarta – The government has been preparing a controversial bill giving authority to the Indonesian military commander to deploy military personnel in an emergency without the approval of the president.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2003

Jakarta – A senior member of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) warned student protesters as well as a Jakarta-based newspaper not to criticize his party.

Kompas - February 24, 2003

Jakarta – Although the wave of protests and street actions have raised strategic issues, the government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Vice-President Hamzah Haz has yet to be shaken. This is because the opposition movement is not prepared to work together.

Laksamana.Net - February 24, 2003

The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) released investment figures for the month of January late last week revealing a steep fall in foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals but an upsurge in domestic investment.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2003

Moch. N. Kurniawan, Jakarta – The House of Representatives has finally settled the issue of dismissal, the most controversial issue in the bill on workers' protection, paving the way for its endorsement on Tuesday.

International Herald Tribune - February 24, 2003

Shepard Forman, New York – Even as the United Nations focuses like a laser on Iraq, it must not lose sight of its other commitments.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2003

Kanis Dursin, Jayapura – The decision to split up Papua into three provinces has eroded what little trust the Papuans had developed toward the government since the implementation of the special autonomy law on January 1, 2002.

Agence France Presse - February 24, 2003

Dili – Unidentified gunmen killed one person and seriously injured two pregnant women in an attack Monday on a minibus in East Timor, officials said.

The group fled after the attack at 12:45 pm near the village of Aidabaleten in Maliana district, said Deputy Defence and Security Minister Roque Rodrigues. He gave no further details.

Agence France Presse - February 24, 2003

Dili – Anti-independence militias have launched a "terrorist strategy" to undermine Timor Leste's government before the planned United Nations withdrawal from the country next year, a top UN peacekeeper said.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2003

Jakarta – The military on Monday denied accusations by the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) that troops had raided a rebel base in violation of a peace pact signed in December, AFP reported.

Radio Australia - February 24, 2003

The separatist Free Aceh Movement in Indonesia's restive province of Aceh has accused government forces of several serious violations of the peace pact signed in December.

A Free Aceh Movement or GAM representative in the Joint Security Committee said that dozens of soldiers raided a base in Central Aceh district on Wednesday, killing one rebel and injuring five others.

Straits Times - February 24, 2003

Robert Go, Jakarta – As war clouds loom nearer and the prospects for more mass demonstrations against a United States-led invasion against Iraq grow in Indonesia, at least one man is ready to capitalise on a money-making opportunity.

Agence France Presse - February 24, 2003

Jakarta – Lawyers for the Indonesian armed forces said Monday they have agreed to settle their dispute with the Washington Post over a report that implicated senior officers in plans for an attack in Papua province.

February 22, 2003

Straits Times - February 22, 2003

Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Gang Macan (Tiger Lane), a densely populated alleyway in North Jakarta, was notorious for its tiny brothels and deadly fights between vicious gangs. A fire in 1995 took care of all that.

These days the neighbourhood provides a service high in demand in Indonesia today – mob rental.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2003

On Thursday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu met hundreds of active and retired top army officers, where he reiterated that the role of the country's army is different from the expected "professional" army role elsewhere, as he claimed there were unique problems in this country such as disintegration.

Laksamana.Net - February 22, 2003

The election bill passed by the parliament last week, with its demand for a 2% electoral threshold, predictably created dissatisfaction and disappointment among small political parties.

Even the promising Islamic-based Justice Party (PK), which won seven seats in the 1999 general election, branded the bill as unfair.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2003

Kurniawan Hari, Jakarta – The State Intelligence Agency (BIN) demanded on Friday that it be given extra powers that would enable it to carry out crucial tasks to prevent terrorist attacks throughout the country.

Australian Financial Review - February 22, 2003

Tim Dodd, Jakarta – With Indonesia facing a new round of instability if war goes ahead in Iraq, the country's top political and military leaders say the army will not "return to barracks" but will retain its domestic security role.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2003

Yuliansyah, Banjarmasin – Fearing the legal consequences, some South Kalimantan legislative councillors say they are planning to return a "reward" given to them by the local government for approving the 2003 provincial budget.

Agence France Presse - February 22, 2003

Banda Aceh – Twelve days have passed since the crucial "demilitarisation" phase of the Aceh agreement but separatist rebels have not started placing weapons in arms dumps and Indonesian troops have not begun withdrawing to defensive positions.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2003

The police have blamed easily obtained police and military uniforms and badges and a lack of regulation governing the trade on the emergence of bogus police officers extorting people around the city.

Asia Times - February 22, 2003

Jakarta – PT Sony Electronics Indonesia (SEI) is preparing to lay off 884 employees after the closure of its Indonesian branch next month. "The plan to close the factory is clear and all employees will be laid off," Suleswati Pujiasti, senior manager of Sony Electronics Indonesia, said on Thursday.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2003

Bukittinggi – Scores of students from the West Sumatra branch of the Indonesian Muslim Students Action Front (KAMMI) rallied here on Friday to protest the privatization of state enterprises and the presence of some economics ministers.

Straits Times - February 22, 2003

Robert Go, Jakarta – The turf battle between Indonesia's police and the military (TNI) over who should be in charge of Indonesia's domestic security showed signs of flaring again this week.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2003

Jakarta – Villagers demanding road improvementshave ended a blockade of an oil field owned by US company PT Caltex in Riau after police mediated in the dispute, AP reported. The villagers began their blockade of the Pinang field on Monday, Caltex spokesman Harry Bustaman said on Friday.

Melbourne Age - February 22 2003

Marian Wilkinson, Washington – The police chief who led the Bali bombing investigation has pleaded for training assistance from the US for a controversial Indonesian police unit accused of human rights abuses in Aceh and other Indonesian trouble spots.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2003

Bandung – Chairman of the fatwa (legal advice) commission of the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) said here on Friday that the erotic stage act of dangdut singer Inul Andarista could be categorized as haram (banned by Islamic teaching) because of her suggestive moves.

Associated Press - February 22, 2003

Kuala Lumpur – Saying the US government deserves more credit for its Iraq policy, East Timor's Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta on Saturday criticized what he called "illogical anti-Americanism" fueled by fears of a US-led attack on Baghdad.

February 21, 2003

BBC - February 21, 2003

The United States ambassador to Jakarta has said that Indonesia must make better progress in holding its military to account for human rights abuses before the US fully normalises relations.

Sydney Morning Herald - February 21, 2003

Deborah Snow – Charges are understood to have been laid against a former senior soldier in the Special Air Service after a long investigation into allegations of serious misconduct by members of the elite unit in East Timor.

Evening Standard (New Zealand) - February 21, 2003

East Timor's foreign minister Jose Ramos Horta, in New Zealand this week on a private visit, once had 10 brothers and sisters. Now he has six. Four died in the violent and suppressive regime which ruled East Timor for 25 years. Ian Stuart of NZPA reports.

February 20, 2003

Jakarta Post - February 20, 2003

Bambang Nurbianto, Jakarta – Urban activists criticized the city administration's plan to evict Angke river squatters in North and West Jakarta, warning that it could spark social unrest.

Jakarta Post - February 20, 2003

Damar Harsanto, Jakarta – In an apparent attempt to elude unwanted public interest in the February 3 bomb blast in the National Police's Wisma Bhayangkari building, the police issued on Wednesday a statement that negated a previous one.

Reuters - February 20, 2003

Jakarta – Indonesia has won universal praise for the nimble footwork its police have shown in investigating the Bali bombings and arresting nearly 30 suspects. But the job is only half-done.

Radio Australia - February 20, 2003

Women's groups in Indonesia have welcomed a new law that paves the way for more women to enter parliament.

Straits Times - February 20, 2003

Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Top leaders of Indonesia's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) yesterday called on one of their own ministers to resign after he charged that the party was the most corrupt in the country.

Agence France Presse - February 20, 2003

Jakarta – A lawyer for the jailed youngest son of former Indonesian president Suharto will soon face charges of bribing a witness at his trial, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Jakarta Post - February 20, 2003

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, Jakarta – Trying to ease the mounting controversy over its decision to split Papua into three provinces, the government is said to be seeking a formula to ensure fair revenues from exploitation of natural resources in Papua.

Elsham News for Cendrawasih Post - February 20, 2003

Port Vila – On Tuesday, 18 February, approximately 1300 non-Papuans traveled in convoy from Abepura to Jayapura in support of the recent presidential decree ordering the partition of Papua. Before leaving, the group gathered in front of the District Office in Abepura and, seeing an anti-partition crowd of about 100 Papuans, they began to heckle and abuse them.

Radio Australia - February 20, 2003

Linda Mottram: A West Papuan human rights campaigner says that ongoing unrest in the Indonesian province is being caused by the violently radical Islamic group, Laskar Jihad, which was thought to have been disbanded.

Asia Times - February 20, 2003

Richel Dursin, Bekasi – "We're Indonesians. Why do we have to get a citizenship certificate proving that we're Indonesians?" asked Tjiong Tjoei Liong, 70.

ASAP media release - February 20, 2003

Over the past week in Aceh, Indonesia has repeatedly violated the December 10 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA), arresting civil movement activists and carrying out military offensives.

According to Pip Hinman, national coordinator of Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific (ASAP), this is because Indonesia is not serious about peace in Aceh.