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Indonesian court jails Timorese over Christmas eve violence

Agence France Presse - June 11, 1997

Jakarta – An Indonesian court in troubled East Timor has jailed a youth to six months and 15 days for involvement in violence in the main town of Dili on Christmas eve, a report said Wednesday.

The Dili court Tuesday found Luis Alfonso, 18, guilty of attacking two undercover security members during the violence that erupted in Dili on December 24 that left one soldier dead and scores of people injured, the official Antara news agency said.

The violence broke out when tens of thousands of East Timorese gathered to greet East Timor's returning Nobel prize laureate Bishop Carlos Ximenes Filipe Belo.

The defendant was among a group of men who hit and pelted security officers Tukiran and Abdul Kadir in Dili on December 24, the judge said, adding that group also injured Dili Police Chief Lieutenant Colonel Beno Kilapong who had tried to intervene and protect the officers.

The prosecution earlier requested a 12-month sentence for the defendant.

Both the defendant and the prosecution are still deciding whether or not to appeal.

The same court has sentenced five other East Timorese to similar jail terms for violence during the Christmas eve unrest.

Ten others are to be tried in Dili for various acts of violence during the unrest.

Belo shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Price with exiled East Timorese pro-independence activist Jose Ramos Horta.

Indonesia annexed the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1976 in a move that remains unrecognized by the United Nations and most countries.