The Jakarta Post, January 18, 2003
Separatists told to leave Ambon to attend trial
Aziz Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Ambon, Maluku
The North Jakarta Prosecutor's Office has ordered Maluku separatist leaders Alex
Manuputty and Semmy Waeleruny to leave Ambon and return to Jakarta within 10
days to attend further hearings in their subversion trials, officials said on Friday.
The order was issued as Maluku security authorities warned that the presence of Alex
and Semmy in Ambon could spark renewed violence in the troubled province, where
the latest bomb blast on Monday tested a peace deal to end four years of sectarian
"They should not have returned home first to Ambon because it is feared to bring a
negative impact to the security situation in Ambon and other areas of Maluku and this
could create anxiety among local people," said acting Maluku Governor Sinyo Harry
Sarundajang, who is also chief of the province's civil emergency authorities.
Alex and Semmy, leaders of the separatist Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM), returned
home to Ambon on Jan. 11, a few days after they were released from detention at the
National Police Headquarters.
Head of the Maluku Prosecutor's Office Badrani Rasyid said the return of the two
suspects, charged with treason, to Ambon was without the knowledge of prosecutors
in North Jakarta, who were handling their separatist case.
He said their return to Ambon had also affected their trial in the North Jakarta District
Court as the two defendants had skipped another round of a hearing on Jan. 13.
For that reason, the North Jakarta Prosecutor's Office issued an order for Manuputty
and Semmy to leave Ambon and attend their further trials in Jakarta.
"We give Alex Manuputty and Semmy Waeleruny 10 days (from Friday) to leave
Ambon and report to the North Jakarta Prosecutor's Office, so that they can attend
their upcoming court hearing on Jan. 27," Badrani told The Jakarta Post.
He said he had extended the instruction to the defendants, but could not say how
they would respond.
"We have sent the facsimile to Alex Manuputty and Semmy Walerunny for signing,
after which the letter was sent back to the North Jakarta Prosecutor's Office," Badrani
Meanwhile, Maluku Police chief Brig. Gen. Bambang Sutrisno declined to comment
on Friday about the return of the two defendants to Ambon.
"It is beyond my jurisdiction to explain the whereabouts of Alex and Semmy because
they are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. So,
their current return to Ambon is under the ministry's supervision as the two defendants
are on trial," he said.
Even though Alex and Semmy have reportedly returned to Ambon, they could not be
found at their homes.
Bambang, however, said an unnamed policeman was arrested for picking up Alex at
Ambon airport on Jan. 11, where he had arrived from Jakarta.
The policeman in question, who was identified as Alex's son-in law, is being detained
because he picked up the separatist leader while wearing his police uniform.
Alex was arrested following his plan to hoist a separatist flag on April 25, 2002, which
coincided with the 52nd anniversary celebration of the South Maluku Republic (RMS)
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