Subject: AFP: Special privileges for E Timor violence prisoners

Saturday, June 12, 2004. 8:28pm (AEST)

Special privileges for E Timor violence prisoners

A former East Timor governor sentenced for human rights abuses will be housed in a prison cell with an en suite bathroom because of his service to the Indonesian nation, reports say.

The Koran Tempo reports the attorney-general's director for gross human rights cases, I Ketut Murtika, says a special room is being readied for Abilio Soares at Jakarta's Cipinang prison.

"He shouldn't be put in an unsuitable room. We should not forget his service defending the integration of East Timor," Mr Murtika said.

Soares's detention room measures four-by-six metres and includes its own bathroom.

Neither the spokesman for the attorney-general's office nor the prison director could be reached for confirmation.

Other high-profile Indonesian prisoners have also been detained in special cells.

Terrorism suspect Abu Bakar Bashir is being held in a newly-renovated detention room at Jakarta police headquarters.

Soares has remained free pending a Supreme Court ruling on his case, and completion of the cell.

The Supreme Court in April upheld a guilty verdict and three-year prison term issued by the Jakarta human rights court against Soares in connection with the 1999 violence surrounding East Timor's vote for independence.

He has complained he has been made a scapegoat for the military.

Jakarta's rights court acquitted a total of 12 people and sentenced six during trials that ended last year.

Most of those charged are security force members.

Jakarta established the court in 2001 to deflect pressure for an international tribunal into the violence, which the United Nations says was organised by Indonesian security forces.

At least 1,400 people were killed.

The United States and the European Union dismissed the trials, saying they failed to deliver justice.

The most senior Indonesian officers, including then-armed forces commander Wiranto, were not indicted.

-- AFP


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