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Indonesia to Prosecute '84 Killings

November 14, 2002|From Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The commander of Indonesia's elite commando force will be charged with gross human rights violations for his alleged involvement in the massacre of 33 protesters in 1984, the nation's attorney general said Wednesday.

Thousands of Muslim youths were fired on by soldiers while demonstrating peacefully in northern Jakarta, the capital, against the arrest of several anti-government protesters.

Atty. Gen. Mohammed Abdul Rahman said Maj. Gen. Sriyanto, who heads the army's Kopassus special forces unit, was in charge of army operations in the region at the time of the killings.

Rahman told a parliamentary commission that Sriyanto would be charged along with 13 others, including two retired generals, early next year.

There was no immediate comment from the military, and it was not possible to contact Sriyanto, who, like many Indonesians, uses only one name.

In 2000, the National Human Rights Commission recommended that 23 suspects, including Sriyanto, be tried for the killings. After years of debate about the death toll, the commission found that 33 people were killed. The military had put the number at 18, and victims' relatives said it was in the hundreds.

Kopassus members have been linked over the years to numerous human rights abuses. Earlier this year, several members were named as suspects in the killing of Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay in 2001.

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