15 January 2013

Major General Lere's threat to arrest Indonesian citizen sparks outrage in Indonesia

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ETLJB 15 Jnauary 2013 - Recent comments by the East Timor Defence Forces Chief, Major-General Lere Anan Timor about the recent visit to East Timor by an Indonesian citizen have sparked outrage in Indonesia.

The Major General was reported by the Timor Post on 8 January 2013 as saying that he would arrest the Indonesian citizen, known as Hercules, if he ever stepped foot in East Timor again. Hercules, whose real name is Rosalia Marshal, was born in Ainaro in East Timor and was part of the Soehart regime's violent repression of the East Timorese independence movement. He retained his Indonesian citizenship after East Timor broke away from Indonesia in 1999.

Indonesian news portal plasamsnberita reported on 14 January 2013 that the  Central Board of the Indonesian New People's Movement (GRIB) which is chaired by Hercules, deplored the threats made by the Timor-Leste Defence Chief, General Lere Anan Timur against GRIB Chairman Rosalio Marsal aka Hercules. The report continues:

"An army leader in a democratic society should not make such a statement that openly that harms organizations or agencies in other countries. GRIB strongly rejects the statement of Chief of Army Major-General of Timor-Leste Lere Anan Timur, accusing GRIB Chairman of wanting to intervene in Timor-Leste," said GRIB Vice Chairman Ghazaly Ama La following the release of these details on Sunday (01/13/2013).

Ghazaly also rejected Lere’s accusations that Hercules was carrying weapons when he entered Timor-Leste territory. He said that these allegations against GRIB, which is an organization that is part of the National Body Politic of the State of the Republic of Indonesia, were baseless.

"For us, the statements by General Lere, are highly tendentious because most of the people of Timor-Leste and the majority of the citizens of Timor-Leste, formerly a part of Indonesia, are proud of him," he said.

Lere failed to exercise good judgment in accusing Hercules of attempting to intervene in Timor-Leste domestic politics, because it is also an accusation against Indonesian sovereignty.

“We reiterate, Hercules has always abided by the law of the country when entering it.  He cleared immigration and had clear legal status from immigration, which proves that Hercules arrived in Timor-Leste without the agenda that Lere has blamed on him,” Ghazaly said.

GRIB asked General Lere Anan Timur to apologize to Hercules for the remarks he made. "We also strongly object, GRIB being equated with the separatist group," he stated.

Since it is considered to be damaging to the relations between the two countries, the Government of Timor-Leste were also asked to apologise specifically to the Government of Indonesia for these statements."

In addition to the response from Hercules' own organisation, Indonesian news portal Inilah.com also reported on 13 January 2013, observations by the Vice Chairman of Commission I of the Indonesian People's Representative Assemby (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat), TB Hasanuddin made in Jakarta on Saturday (12/01/2013) criticising the comments by Major General Lere. Mr Hasanuddin was the military secretary during the administration of the government headed by Megawati Sukarnoputri.

An english translation of the report on Inilah.com noted that Mr. Hasanuddin said that "You can not arbitrarily arrest citizens of other countries, including Timor-Leste soldiers trying to arrest Hercules. Of course we find this regretful." He further noted that there are rules and regulations for arresting anyone.

"There should be a political decision between the two countries. Anyway, why has the East Timorese Military Commander spoken like this?"


Source: Timor Post 08/01/2013, East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin 15/01/2013plasamsnberita, Inilah.com Edited by Warren L. Wright

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