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Muladi believes Xanana should be freed

Agence France Presse - May 3, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian Justice Minister Muladi said Monday he believed jailed East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao should be released so he can make a greater contribution to peace efforts in the troubled territory.

"I have not received any instruction ... but I myself, agree [that Gusmao be freed] so that Xanana can be even more active," Muladi told journalists before attending a cabinet meeting on politics and security at the Bina Graha presidential office.

"The remaining problem is whether he can assure his own security outside [the jail] or not," Muladi added.

He said that the release of Gusmao, currently serving a 20-year prison term for plotting against the state and possession of illegal weapons, could be done either under an amnesty or a presidential pardon. "But I think an amnesty would be better," he added.

He also said that the question was not scheduled to be discussed in the cabinet meeting he was going to attend.

Gusmao was moved to house detention in Central Jakarta from the city's Cipinang jail in February following a demand by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.