Michael Bachelard – A senior Indonesian legislator has hit out at Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr for having "double standards" after he called for an inquiry into the police killing of a West Papuan independence leader.
Mr Carr called for the inquiry after allegations that officers of the Australian-trained Indonesian anti-terror unit, Detachment 88, were involved in the killing of leader Mako Tabuni in June. Mr Tabuni, the deputy chairman of the independence group the National Committee for West Papua, was gunned down in the street by police who were trying to arrest him.
In an interview with The Age, the head of Indonesia's parliamentary commission for security, Mahfudz Siddiq, seemed to confirm that Detachment 88 was present in West Papua, partly because, he alleged, Mr Tabuni was "one of the actors behind a series of violent actions" there.
"That makes the presence of Detachment 88 and its involvement in some cases in West Papua as being very much about doing their job. Several cases in West Papua at that time were already seen as terror," Mr Mahfudz said.
Independence activists have denied that Mr Tabuni was involved in a series of killings in the lead-up to his death.
Mr Mahfudz also chided Mr Carr because he said he had never heard Australian politicians complaining about Detachment 88 killing Muslim terror suspects.
"In my opinion, it is too far for Bob Carr to mention human rights training to Detachment 88. Did Australia give any comment when Islamic activists got killed or injured by Detachment 88 while the anti-terror squad was raiding a house?" Mr Mahfudz said.
"I think Australia must be careful about these statements because they could be seen as having double standards."
Mr Mahfudz is a member of the PKS party, which is strongly Islamic, and part of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's governing coalition.
Detachment 88 has been trained by Australia and other countries for counterterrorism operations, but its use in the long-running independence struggle in West Papua is highly controversial.
While some rebel groups in West Papua are armed, activists say Mr Tabuni's group used purely political means to agitate for independence.