APSN Banner

15 Timorese to be tried over killing

Reuters - April 22, 1997

Jakarta – Fifteen East Timorese will face trial in the territory this week for their alleged involvement in the killing of a soldier on Christmas eve, Indonesia's official Antara news agency reported on Tuesday.

Antara quoted officials at the prosecutor's office in East Timor capital of Dili as saying on Monday that dossiers on the suspects had been submitted to the local district court and that the hearing would begin on Saturday.

It gave no details of the charges, but said nine prosecutors had been assigned to handle the case.

A group of youths beat to death Corporal Alfredo Dos Santos near Dili's cathedral on December 24. The military said the soldier, who was in civilian clothes, was off-duty and visiting the cathedral as a worshipper on his own accord.

On the same day, several other police and soldiers were attacked by members of the crowd welcoming home Nobel Peace laureate Bishop Carlos Belo from an overseas trip.

Belo has publicly apologised for the death of the soldier, a native of East Timor and father of seven.

Indonesia invaded East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, in December 1975 and made it the country's 27th province the following year in a move not recognised by the United Nations, which regards Lisbon as the territory's administering power.

Police said last month they had charged 24 East Timorese for showing hatred against the Indonesian government after they staged a protest during a visit by U.N. envoy for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker.

The detainees have been accused of damaging property, possessing sharp weapons and resisting arrest. No date has been set for the trial.