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E. Timor Militia Chief Sentenced

November 28, 2002|From Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — An Indonesian court sentenced a militia leader to 10 years in prison Wednesday for crimes committed during East Timor's bloody move to independence.

Eurico Guterres listened impassively as the judge read the sentence -- the harshest yet in a series of trials of Indonesian officers, officials and militiamen accused of inciting or allowing the violence after East Timor's independence vote Aug. 30, 1999.

"The judges find the defendant guilty of grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity," Judge Herman Hutapea said.

"I'm confused about the ruling," Guterres later told reporters, insisting that the people who should have been convicted were senior security officials.

He said he would appeal, which will enable him to remain free while the Supreme Court in Jakarta considers the case.

Ten years is the minimum punishment Guterres could have received. Death would have been the maximum.

Guterres led one of the militias recruited by the Indonesian army to combat independence.

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