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25 to be charged over unrest in West Java town

Agence France Presse - February 21, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian authorities are to charge 25 people, including four accused of subversion, over a December riot in the West Java town of Tasikmalaya in which four people died, a report said yesterday.

Subversion carries a maximum death penalty in Indonesia.

The head of West Java's high attorney's office, Mr Mohamad Adenan, said 14 people would be charged with damaging and setting fire to property and faced life imprisonment. Seven others would be charged with theft and violence and could face seven years' jail, he added.

He said that all the trials would be held in Tasikmalaya but did not give a date, the Antara news agency reported. However, he said one of the subversion files was completed and ready for trial.

Last week, Mr Adenan said the first trial would begin in about one month. The four subversion suspects, aged 24 and 25, have so far been identified only by their initials – AGS, AM, AF, and MH. Press reports identified them as activists of youth and Muslim organisations.

Thousands of Muslims angered by police mistreatment of three teachers of an Islamic school, went on a rampage in Tasikmalaya on Dec 26, torching and damaging more than 100 buildings and vehicles.

Although several police stations were hit, most targets were the properties of ethnic Chinese and non-Muslims.

Four policemen suspected of having beaten the school teachers have since been dismissed from the force and face a court martial, the police have said. – AFP.