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Bishop blames military for man’s death

3/18/11 Indonesia (UCAN) - An Indonesian bishop has called for the Indonesian National Military (TNI) to take responsibility for the torture of Catholic youths, leading to the death of one of them in Atambua, East Nusa Tenggara.

Bishop Dominikus Saku of Atambua said the death of Charles Mali on Sunday, March 13, is ‘inhumane and serious violation of human rights.’

Mali, 24, died while he and other youths were detained in a military station in Tobir, Belu district, for mugging a passing member of the military while they were drunk.

Charles and his brother Hery Mali were taken to the station on Sunday morning by their mother Modesta Dau for disciplinary training. Later the same day, he was found dead.

Modesta was shocked upon knowing that her son died of torture by military members. She was taken to local hospital and on March 15 she died.

“Charles died in the military station, where a command system is valid. He died because of an inhuman act, and this can be categorized as a serious human rights violation,” Bishop Saku told reporters yesterday.

In a well-organized system, a commander can prevent such inhumane act of violence from happening, he said.

“I cannot blame it only on the members at fault. The organization must also take responsibility (for the case),” he maintained, adding that such torture has worried local people.

Referring to local Church’s stance since 2000, the prelate said, “We do not want the military to station its members in this area. Instead, they should be based in the border areas,” he continued.

Bishop Saku also called for local Catholics to stay calm in responding to the case.

Reports say the military members allegedly tortured Charles to death has gone through an intensive investigation.

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