21 Sep 2006

Report claims Indonesian police revenge drove trials over March Papua killings

2:42 pm on 21 September 2006

A new report claims that Indonesian police have been driven by revenge and personal interests in a series of trials in Papua over the deaths of four police and an air force sergeant in March riots.

The newspaper, The Australian, reports that the investigation is soon to be made public after months of documentation by a coalition of Papuan and national church and human rights groups.

The coalition alleges that none of 23 men accused over the killings was directly involved in the deaths.

All but two of the accused have been sentenced to up to 15 years' jail at Abepura District Court.

The killings took place during demonstrations at Jayapura's Cendrawasih University over the giant Freeport mine in Timika.

However, as the final two of the 23 accused appeared yesterday in court, lawyers, church groups and supporters as well as the men themselves insisted their confessions were forced after police beatings and torture.

Appeals have been lodged in five of the cases.