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ICC Note: With General Oegroseno gone, it’s not good news for the Indonesian Catholics sentenced to death. The new General is in favor of their execution. We need to stand firm and continue to ask for justice to be served.

Jakarta removes police chief, too sympathetic to Tibo and fellow prisoners

by Benteng Reges

8/31/2006 Indonesia (AsiaNews) – The Indonesian government has removed General Oegroseno from his post as Central Sulawesi police chief. In so doing it has silenced one of the most authoritative voices seeking the truth about the 1999-2000 sectarian conflict in Poso. The general has been a strong believer in the need to suspend the execution of the three Catholic men, Fabianus Tibo, Domingus da Silva and Marinus Riwu, sentenced to death for their involvement in the massacre of Muslims that occurred during clashes in 2000.

He will now head the Information and Data Processing Division at the National Police’s headquarters in Jakarta . Former Banten Province Police Chief Senior Superintendent Badrootin Haiti was officially named as his successor.

Human rights activists and the legal team representing the three prisoners have strongly protested at the decision. For the group of lawyers, Oegrosono’s removal was politically motivated; it shows that the government is bent on carrying out the sentence.

For his part, General Oegroseno said in a press conference today that “the enigma of who was responsible for what happened in Poso must be solved. Leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities must have the courage to tell the truth”.

To the journalists he said that there must be a political will to face the issue. In the last few months he explained that his work focused on 16 people, later 10, named by Tibo who should be answerable for the conflict. However, he noted that that kind of work required a great deal of time. People who saw what happened had to be found and interrogated. This is why he was in favour of the August 11stay of execution. The general refused though to speculate as to whether his support for the postponement led to his removal.

In Jakarta the attorneys representing the three men staged a rally in front of the National Police Headquarters to protest against what they consider a “move to silence a good police officer willing to take a critical stance”.

“ Indonesia mourns; the voice of truth has been banned,” read one of the banners they carried.

“After this decision [to remove Oegroseno], we are very worried not only about the three prisoners’ fate but also about what could happen to inter-faith peace and harmony in Central Sulawesi for which he worked so hard during his tenure in office,” said Norbert Bethan, a member of the three prisoners’ legal team.

Asia News