Subject: AP: Timorese Militiaman Gets 9 Yrs Jail For Human Rights Crimes

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Associated Press November 26, 2003

Timorese Militiaman Gets 9 Yrs Jail For Human Rights Crimes

DILI, East Timor (AP)--A Timorese militiaman was convicted Wednesday of crimes against humanity and sentenced to nine years in jail for killing three independence supporters and torturing others during the country's bloody break from Indonesia's 24-year occupation.

Miguel Mau, a 55-year-old member of the pro-Indonesian Laksaur militia, is the 40th person to be convicted by Timorese courts for the violence that swept across East Timor in 1999 before and after voters approved a U.N.-sponsored independence referendum.

Mau admitted killing three pro-independence supporters on April 23, 1999 and joining Indonesian troops in attacking the Timorese village of Fatukmetan and torturing villagers, according to the court, called the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in Timor L'este.

He also confessed to the forced disappearance of another Timorese man, according to the court.

"I confess all the sins I committed in the past," Mau, a farmer, said after his trial. "But I think nine years is too much for my crimes. I hope my defense can appeal this decision and get this sentence reduced because I've got seven children to feed."

During the 1999 referendum, Indonesian troops and their proxy militias kidnapped, tortured and murdered hundreds of Timorese fighters and civilians, laying waste to much of the territory.

Trials of those accused of perpetrating the violence have been taking place in both Indonesia and East Timor, which officially became independent in May 2002.

But the Indonesian human rights court has been widely dismissed as a sham. It convicted just six of 18 accused Indonesian military and government officials. All six remain free pending their appeals.

The East Timorese Special Panels, created in 2001 with support of the United Nations, has charged 367 people and convicted 40. However, 280 of those charged remain free in Indonesia, including at least 32 Indonesian commanders and the country's former military chief Gen. Wiranto.

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