Agus Supriyanto, Jakarta – Eurico Guterres, the former commander of the Pro-Integration Youth (PPI)1, visited the Cipinang Correctional Institution to look in on former East Timorese governor Abilio Soarez, prior to the call to evening prayers on Friday November 5. “I came here as a friend and want to state that I am happy with the Supreme Court’s decision which released Abilio”, said Guterres when stopped by journalists at the gates of Cipinang prison.
Guterres told the journalists, who had been waiting since early morning for Soarez to emerge from the prison, that the Supreme Court’s decision was correct. “Abilio is not the person who is guilty, [he] should even be given a commendation”, he said. Furthermore said Guterres, what has been happening to date has only been to benefit the political interests of the head of the local government and the commander of Korem (military command at a level below the residency) who is at the moment is free from charges of committing gross human rights violations in East Timor prior to the referendum on integration or independence from Indonesia.
When asked by journalists about his opinion on Soarez’s statement which said that the ones who were responsible for the riots in East Timor were the PPI, Guterres answered that if it this is true then it must be proven in court. “We live under the rule of law and must follow the legal process”, explained Guterres who is currently awaiting the verdict on an appeal to the Supreme Court.
1. Guterres was in fact head of the pro-integration militia group Aitarak during the post-referendum violence in East Timor in 1999.
[Translated by James Balowski.]