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JAKARTA, Indonesia (November 29, 2001 – The Jakarta Post/TAPOL)---Despite being rejected by local informal leaders, the government has formed a joint team of police and the military to investigate the murder of Irianese pro-independence activist Theys Hiyo Eluay.

Coordinating Minister of Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Wednesday that the team had been formed in response to widespread speculation that the military had been involved in the killing.

"The government is committed to investigating the murder," Susilo said after holding a consultation meeting with officials of the Supreme Advisory Council (DPA).

Susilo said that the team had been established earlier this week.

On Monday, Irianese Christian and Muslim leaders wrote a letter to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), asking for an independent investigation into Theys' death.

They said they would not accept any investigation involving elements of the military or the police because they doubted their objectivity.

Theys' body was found on Nov. 11, 2001 near the Irian Jaya provincial capital, Jayapura. Theys, the Papua Presidium Council chief, was well known for his nonviolent approach to achieve his goals.

His latest controversial stance was his rejection of special autonomy status for Irian Jaya, which will be effective as of January next year.

He was kidnapped by unidentified men after he attended a National Heroes Day ceremony on Nov. 10 at the Army's Special Force (Kopassus) headquarters in Jayapura.

Even though the Kopassus commander Maj. Gen. Amirul Isnaini has denied allegations that his troops were involved, many people speculated that the murder was part of the military's clandestine operations there.

Susilo refused to say what he and DPA chief Achmad Tirtosudiro discussed in the closed-door meeting.

The meeting was somewhat unusual because DPA provides advice to the President, and not other institutions.

Komnas HAM has also announced its plan to conduct its own investigation into the murder of Theys, which has been widely seen as a test case for the Megawati administration to improve its human rights record in restive Irian Jaya.

Susilo said that the joint police-military investigation team would be open to input from any party wishing to help it, including nongovernmental organizations.

From Jayapura, Antara reported on Wednesday that former Irianese political detainees had also pushed their demand for an independent investigation into Theys' death.

The Forum for Reconciliation of Irian Political Detainees urged the provincial Legislative Council and the Papua Presidium Council to hold an extraordinary congress to discuss the affair.

The forum's spokesman, Saul J. Bomay, said that the locals had lost trust in the police and military because their investigation had got nowhere.

The police had no idea as to the whereabouts of Theys's driver Aristoteles

Masoka, 21, who was also abducted, he said.



By Tiarma Siboro The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA, Indonesia (November 29, 2001 – The Jakarta Post/TAPOL)---The National Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) continued to demand on Wednesday that the government be responsible for several policies it has imposed on the troubled Irian Jaya province, in line with its document issued on June 9, 2000.

"Even though Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno said that the government had not followed up on the guidelines contained within the document, called the Matoa Document, it (the statement) contradicts the actual situation," Munir, Kontras' chairman of the supervising council, told a media conference.

He was referring to the many operations taking place there that have taken the lives of civilians.

"Hari's argument that the government had not carried out operations there for financial reasons was unacceptable, as intelligence operations go on. Who funds them anyway?" Munir asked.

As reported earlier, Kontras accused the government of being behind the recent death of Papuan independence leader Theys Hiyo Eluay, saying that the murder was part of a plan to repress rising calls for independence in the province.

The accusation was based on its discovery of a document issued by the Directorate General of National Integrity and Public Protection at the Ministry of Home Affairs on June 9 last year.

Following Kontras' accusation, Hari admitted that several officials, including military officers, held a special coordinating meeting at the ministry. The meeting was led by incumbent National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) chairman Ermaya Suradinata.

In the meeting operational guidelines were established, targeting pro-independence activists and others considered a threat to the central government due to their stance on independence.

However, he asserted, "the document had nothing to do with Theys' death as the government didn't follow it up due to lack of funds."

Responding to Hari's statement, Munir said that the government had been inconsistent in clarifying the issue. He pointed to a statement made by Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who had earlier denied the presence of the document.

The denial, however, was later corrected by Ermaya himself, who admitted that he had signed the document, which "did not specifically reveal any names of groups or individuals considered a threat to central government."

"Which of the statements made by the three state officials is correct?" Munir asked.

Paul Barber TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 01420 80153 Email: m Internet: 

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