Activists seek justice for death of Dutch journo
The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 10/28/2009 1:30 PM | World
Activists in London demanded Monday that Indonesian authorities bring to
justice those responsible for killing Dutch Financial Times correspondent
Sander Thoenes in then East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesia
after a 1999 referendum.
A press release sent to The Jakarta Post by the International Press
Institute (IPI) said Thoenes went to East Timor (now Timor Leste) in
September 1999 to report on the aftermath of the referendum vote for
independence from Indonesia and the landing of Indonesian troops on the
island. UN and Indonesian investigators found that he was shot at
point-blank range by Indonesian troops after falling off his motorcycle.
“Both UN and Indonesian investigations into the murder of Sander Thoenes
have identified members of the Indonesian military as being responsible for
the crime. The fact that these individuals have not been prosecuted shows a
disturbing lack of will by Indonesia to end the impunity connected with the
killing of Sander Thoenes and other journalists,” said IPI press freedom
manager Anthony Mills, who attended a commemoration event for Thoenes at the
Frontline Club in London.
Sander’s brother, Peter, read out a protest at the event, saying: “The
Indonesian government has consistently delayed, obstructed and ridiculed any
prosecutions of these criminals on their payroll. In doing so, that
government has made it clear to the international community that it happily
condones all kind of atrocities committed by its military up to this day.”
Thoenes, who was 30 years old at the time of his death, had been working as
the Financial Times Indonesia correspondent since September 1997, after the
Asian financial crisis had started to spread in the region.
On the day Thoenes was murdered, the Financial Times had published an
article by him titled “Military’s power undimmed by humiliations,” in which
Thoenes analyzed the Indonesian military’s grip on power in spite of the
humiliation of having been ousted from East Timor and political reforms that
challenged their role in politics.