Subject: Last E. Timorese prisoners moved to Jakarta pending release

Last East Timorese prisoners moved to Jakarta pending release

JAKARTA, Oct 27 (AFP) - Some of the last East Timorese political prisoners held by Indonesia have been moved from a provincial jail to Jakarta pending their release, their lawyer said Wednesday.

Johnson Panjaitan, a lawyer with the Indonesian human rights and legal aid association, told AFP he had accompanied 18 East Timorese prisoners from Kedungpane jail in the Central Javanese city of Semarang to Jakarta's high-security Cipinang prison on Tuesday.

"I came with them myself yesterday," Panjaitan said, adding that a total of 21 East Timorese were awaiting a letter of amnesty from Indonesia's new government.

Cipinang is where independence leader Xanana Gusmao spent more than six years of his 20-year term for subversion before he was moved to house arrest in February and released last month.

Panjaitan said two more East Timorese were being held in eastern Indonesia and one was free on parole.

Two of the 18 transferred from Semarang were serving long sentences, one life and the other 15 years. Both were arrested after the notorious Santa Cruz massacre of 1991, when Indonesian soldiers opened fire on East Timorese protestors in a cemetery in the territorial capital Dili and killed up to 200, according to independent sources.

The massacre was caught on television cameras and galvanised world opinion over the fate of East Timor, which is now under United Nations administration preparatory to full independence.

The other prisoners were serving sentences of three to 13 years.

On Monday former state secretary Muladi said President Abdurrahman Wahid was set to free at least 80 political prisoners, including East Timorese, but only after obtaining approval from parliament.

Muladi said one of those to be released would be the young leader of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), Budiman Sujatmiko, who is serving a 13-year term for his alleged involvement in a riot here in July 1996.

"The government will grant an amnesty for some 80 political prisoners ... five of them will be PRD's (prisoners), seven (members of the Muslim militant) Jihad command and the rest will be from East Timor," Muladi said.

"However, we still have to wait for the parliament's decision to approve the amnesty."


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