18 Sep 2002

Seven Indonesians to be court-martialed for Eluay murder

11:07 am on 18 September 2002

There are reports from Indonesia that seven soldiers will soon face a court martial over their suspected involvement in last year's murder of the Papuan independence leader, Theys Eluay.

Major General A.B. Sulaiman, who heads the military police, has told the Kompas daily newspaper that dossiers would be handed to the military prosecutor's office this month to prepare charges linked to the murder in November last year.

The soldiers, who have not been named, face a maximum 15 years in jail if convicted.

General Sulaiman says one lieutenant colonel was now a key witness and not a suspect, and that all seven soldiers had been based in Jayapura and most were from the army elite Kopassus force.

In August, General Sulaiman said that 10 soldiers were on the list of suspects, including at least three officers.

Theys Eluay was found dead in his car last November.

He had been abducted by armed men while driving home from a ceremony at an army base in Jayapura.

One of the officers questioned in the military police probe has been quoted as saying that Chief Eluay had died suddenly, possibly from shock, while being questioned by soldiers.

But an earlier autopsy determined that he had suffocated.