Subject: AFP: Ramos-Horta seeking Suharto's arrest
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 10:28:12 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

East Timor rebel leader seeking Suharto's arrest

MADRID, May 21 (AFP) - East Timor rebel leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta is to seek the arrest of former president Suharto for genocide, he announced in an interview published here Friday.

Horta also told the El Pais newspaper that he would seek "the seizure of the immense fortune" amassed by Suharto who was forced out of office exactly a year ago.

His wealth has been estimated by Time magazine at 15 billion dollars.

Ramos-Horta cited as a precedent the case of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet who is being held under house arrest in Britain pending an extradition request by Spain, which is seeking to try him on torture charges.

"We are in the process of collecting proof on crimes against humanity committed by Suharto with a view to calling on Interpol to "arrest the Indonesian dictator Suharto for genocide," and to confiscate his wealth to compensate his victims and restore the stolen riches," Ramos-Horta said.

The plan has the backing of three other Nobel peace prize winners, Oscar Arias, Rigoberta Menchu and Adoldo Perez Esquivel, he added.

According to Ramos-Horta and his fellow activists, Jakarta has ruled unlawfully in East Timor since Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975, annexing it the following year.

That invasion was accompanied by "an ethnic cleansing without precedent," Ramos-Horta, the number two figure in the East Timorese resistance movement, said in the interview.

"East Timor had more than 700,000 habitants in 1975 and more than 200,000 were killed in the first days of the occupation," he said.

Ramos-Horta is ready to travel to Jakarta to attend a reconciliation meeting proposed by the Indonesian authorities for mid-June, his aides said in Lisbon.

But before such a trip he wants assurances that he will be safe and be able to travel to Dili, the East Timor capital. His plans were said to be under discussion.

Ramos-Horta left Portugal for Hawaii Friday after spending a week in the country.

Suharto appeared on Indonesian television Friday -- a year after his downfall -- to insist he had no intention of running away, and blasting as "cruel" lies reports he had amassed a fortune while in office.

"Maybe there is a slander effort, because I have been rumored to have a fortune of nine billion (dollars) and people got to know about this," he said.

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