Indon court upholds jail term for East Timor’s ex-governor

JAKARTA: Indonesia's Supreme Court has upheld a three-year prison term against East Timor's last Jakarta-appointed governor for failing to stop the bloodshed when the territory voted for independence in 1999, a court official said yesterday.  

The verdict against Jose Abilio Osorio Soares – who is ethnically East Timorese – means he will be the first Indonesian official to be punished over the bloodshed. 

Three other officials – all Indonesian military officers – have had their sentences overturned by the high court in recent weeks.  

Rulings against two remaining defendants are expected soon.  

Twelve others have already been acquitted. 

Vengeful Indonesian troops and their militia proxies killed up to 2,000 people and left much of East Timor in ruins after it voted for independence from 24 years of Jakarta's brutal rule. 

Jakarta's attempts to punish those guilty of human rights abuses in East Timor have been criticised as a sham. 

“The verdict against Soares is illogical,” said Agung Yudhawiranata, from local rights group Elsham.  

“It was the Indonesian military, not civilians like Soares, who were responsible for security at the time of the violence.” – AP  

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