8 Jan 2003

Call for Eluay trial to be held in Papua

10:52 am on 8 January 2003

Papuans are demanding that the venue of the murder trial for local separatist leader, Theys Eluay, be moved from Surabaya to their home province.

A spokesman for former Papuan political prisoners, Saul Bomay, says Mr Eluay's murder was perpetrated in Jayapura so local people should be able to directly monitor the trial.

Military court martial hearings began in Surabaya at the end of last week for seven members of the Army's special force, Kopassus, who are accused of the murder.

Three other Kopassus defendants also face the same charges.

Mr Bomay says the court martial is failing to provide a sense of justice for most Papuans because it's being held outside Jayapura.

He also says Papuans want to know who the mastermind was behind the murder of Theys, a popular leader of the separatist papua Presidium Council.

The killing took place after Theys Eluay attended a function at a Kopassus army base.

Under Indonesia's Criminal Code procedures, a crime must be tried in the town where it takes place unless there's a security danger.

Security in Jayapura has never been mentioned as a reason by the military for its decision to try the case in Surabaya.

Mr Bomay is calling for severe punishment for those found guilty and is urging the president to quickly resolve the case.