18 Jun 2012

Indonesia special forces officer's NZ training shocks rights group

6:56 am on 18 June 2012

The Indonesian Human Rights Committee says it was shocked to discover a member of Indonesia's special forces unit has trained with the New Zealand Defence Force.

Major Edwin Sumanta of the Kopassus special forces recently attended New Zealand's premier military educational institution, Command and Staff College at Trentham.

The committee says the acceptance of the officer onto an elite training programme marks a new low.

Spokesperson Maire Leadbetter says Kopassus has a long and bloody record of violations including the killing of New Zealand cameraman Gary Cunningham in 1975.

She says the Government is sending the wrong message to Indonesian authorities.

A Defence Force spokesperson says the involvement of Major Sumanta in the college's course is too sensitive to comment on.