18 Jul 2006

Jakarta trial of alleged killers of American teachers in Papua opens today

8:48 am on 18 July 2006

The trial opens in Jakarta today of seven men charged with the slaying of two American teachers who worked for the massive Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Mine in Papua province in 2002.

The attack on a convoy of Americans working for Freeport-McMoRan left three people dead and eight others seriously hurt.

The suspects, all alleged Papuan separatists, claim they turned themselves in last January after FBI agents had promised they would be tried in the United States and allowed to promote their independence struggle.

They were instead arrested by Indonesian police and ordered to face trial in Jakarta.

The lawyer for the accused men says they will resist all attempts

to bring them to trial in Indonesia.

Law enforcement agencies from Indonesia and the United States have denied there was any deal with the FBI.