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(AsiaNews/AFP) – A court in the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon has begun the trial of 17 people charged with treason linked to a week of bloody communal unrest in April, a report said on Wednesday. Prosecutors at the tightly-guarded court accused the group of plotting against the state with the aim of secession, the Jakarta Post newspaper said. The defendants were accused of taking part in a separatist rally in Ambon on April 25. Authorities say the rally caused an outbreak of Muslim-Christian violence in which 38 people were killed. Mostly Christian residents proclaimed the republic in 1950, a year after the Dutch formally granted Indonesia independence. It was quickly suppressed. The Jakarta Post quoted a defence lawyer as saying the defendants will not present defence pleas and would accept the charges. The court resumes next Tuesday. Ambon and some other parts of the Maluku islands were ravaged by three years of Muslim-Christian clashes which claimed more than 5,000 lives before a February 2002 peace pact took effect.