Subject: AFP: Two jailed in counterfeiting case

Agence France Presse September 22, 2000, Friday Two Indonesian ex-servicemen jailed in 2.2 million dollar forgery case

JAKARTA, Sept 22

Two elderly Indonesian ex-servicemen have been jailed for printing 2.2 million dollars worth of fake bills, despite pleading the army chief had ordered them to make the money to pay Timorese militiamen, reports said Friday.

A Jakarta district court judge Thursday jailed Ismail Putra and Eddy Kereh for seven and four years respectively, the Jakarta Post said.

Judge Purwanto (Eds: one name) cited the pair's exemplary military service records as a reason for not imposing a maximum 15-year sentence.

"The defendants are in their 60s. Eddy in particular has devoted his life to the country and earned many medals during his service in the navy," Purwanto said.

Putra, 64, a former member of the army's combat intelligence unit, had argued in his defence that he was acting under the orders of now-Indonesian army chief General Tyasno Sudarto, who in 1999 was chief of miltiary intelligence.

"General Tyasno told me that General Wiranto had picked BIA (the military intelligence agency) to run the counterfeit money operation to fund the (pro-Indonesia) East Timorese militias," he said after the verdict.

"He (Tyasno) told me that the army could not afford to lose East Timor. He said I had to do this for the army," Putra said.

General Wiranto was chief of the Indonesian military until October. He was held "morally responsible" by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission in a probe into the militia violence which erupted in East Timor last year after the people voted in a UN-ballot for independence from Indonesia.

Both Putra, and Eddy, who is already serving an 18-month jail term for another counterfeiting conviction, chose to defend themselves against the charges of churning out 19.2 billion rupiah (2.2 million dollars) in counterfeit notes.

During the drawn out trial both the prosecution and the judge refused to summon Tyasno, despite Putra's allegations, which the general has denied as "lies" and "slander."

Prosecutor Sujitno, speaking to reporters after the guilty verdicts were handed down Thursday, defended his decision not to summon Tyasno.

"It was the job of (police) investigators to involve the military police in this case, and to find out if General Tyasno was involved.

"This case is about counterfeit money. I have evidence that both defendants were involved in its production," he said.

The two ex-servicemen, who were arrested at the printing plant in a house in West Jakarta in February, were given seven days to decide whether or not to appeal the case.

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