Subject: RT: Former East Timor governor says rights trial bogus

Former East Timor governor says rights trial bogus

JAKARTA, July 18 (Reuters) - Indonesia's last governor of East Timor said on Thursday his trial for crimes against humanity during the territory's independence vote in 1999 was bogus and aimed only at deflecting international pressure.

Prosecutors last week called on the Jakarta human rights court to sentence Abilio Soares to 10- years in jail for failing to stop the orgy of violence before and after the ballot in which East Timor overwhelmingly voted to split from Indonesia.

"The trial is formed only to avoid international threats and it ignores the essence of the law," said a sombre-looking Soares as he read from his 38-page defence speech.

"I'm afraid in this court there is a shadowy power that stimulates the twisting of justice and truth," Soares, who is East Timorese, told the court.

Much is at stake for Indonesia over the trials, including the possible restoration of military relations with the United States and threats by several European nations to cut aid if the violence isn't investigated properly.

Soares has denied any wrongdoing over charges that carry the death penalty and has also dismissed a separate indictment of failing to prevent torture.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, become formally independent on May 20 when the United Nations handed over power after running the territory in the wake of the 1999 violence.

U.S. military links were slashed in response to rampages by pro-Jakarta militias who, with backing from the Indonesian military, left much of the territory in ruins after the vote.

The United Nations has estimated more than 1,000 people were killed in the carnage.

But lawyers for Soares said prosecutors had failed to prove there were organised attacks against East Timorese civilians and that the killings had anything to do with their client.

"Systematic attacks means there's a planner and plan but on this matter, the prosecutors can't prove it because no witnesses said anything about it," said lawyer Indriyanto Seno Adji.

The trial was adjourned for a week and the judges are expected to deliver their verdict next month.

However, leading rights groups are sceptical the trials will result in convictions and say other elements of the process are also farcical, including the failure to try General Wiranto, Indonesia's military commander at the time of the violence.

Soares is the first among the 18 suspects on trial over the massacres to make his defence speech.

The top Indonesian field commander at the time of the vote went on trial for his life on Wednesday, while last week the general in overall charge of East Timor was also in the dock, also accused of crimes against humanity.

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