Subject: Lusa: Aitarak Militia Leader Spends First Night in Jakarta Jail

East Timor: Aitarak Militia Leader Spends First Night in Jakarta Jail 31 Oct-13:05

East Timorese anti-independence militia leader Eurico Guterres has spent his first night in prison, following various weeks under police "protection," his lawyer announced Tuesday in the Indonesian capital.

Suhardi Sumomulyono said Eurico Guterres had been transferred Monday night from the residential compound of police headquarters to the Salemba prison in central Jakarta. The transfer was ordered after judges presented in court a report detailing evidence supporting charges against the Aitarak militia leader.

Aitarak, or 'Thorn,' is one of the most notorious East Timorese militia gangs and is widely believed responsible for various atrocities and acts of destruction in East Timor both before and after the territory's Aug. 1999 independence plebiscite.

Many of the militias moved across the border to Indonesian West Timor in the wake of that ballot and the end of Indonesia's 24-year occupation of East Timor.

Eurico Guterres was arrested Oct. 4 in Jakarta and accused of inciting rebellion, a charge bearing a maximum sentence of six years in prison under Indonesian law. On Oct. 23 a court ordered his release, alleging illegal detention, although he nevertheless remained in police custody as a "witness."

The Aitarak leader is also wanted in UN-run East Timor, in connection with massacres perpetrated in April 1999.


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