For Immediate Release:
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Contact: AIUSA media office
Indonesia’s Premature Release of Militia Leader Eurico Guterres a “Deliberate Miscarriage of Justice,” Charges Amnesty International USA
(Washington, DC)-Max White, Amnesty International USA’s Indonesia country specialist, issued the following statement in response to the premature release of militia leader Eurico Guterres from an Indonesian prison. Guterres, responsible for killings and attacks against East Timorese, was discharged after his sentence was reversed by the Indonesian Supreme Court:
“The release of militia leader Eurico Guterres, who served less than two years of a 10-year sentence for gross human rights violations, is a deliberate miscarriage of justice. Worse, it signals an alarming reversal of progress in the protection of human rights under Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government.”
Considered one of the worst Indonesian militias, Aitarak (“Thorn”) was formed and commanded by Eurico Guterres in close cooperation with the Indonesian military. Guterres’ militia was responsible for an infamous attack that killed the son of a former East Timor governor. Independent investigators confirmed his culpability in the incident.
Following the killings and forced displacement of East Timorese preceding the U.N.-sponsored referendum for independence, Guterres moved to Indonesia. He was the only person convicted for the many crimes committed by the Indonesian military and their militias. His release comes at a time when the Indonesian government is rapidly backtracking on their commitment to human rights.
Despite recent developments to the contrary, President Yudhoyono has insisted that the Indonesian government is exercising more control over its military. He also claimed repeatedly, in testimony to the U.S. Congress and Department of State, that Indonesia is conforming to standards of international law, especially those covenants to which Indonesia is a signatory.
For more information, please contact the AIUSA media office at 202-544-0200 x302 or visit http://www.amnestyusa.org.
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