Indonesian colonel indicted for crimes against humanity

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) today welcomed the removal of Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian from his command in West Papua. Siagian faces two indictments in East Timor for crimes against humanity committed in 1999.

“Col. Siagian’s removal from Papua is a welcome move,” said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. “Indonesia should take the next steps and suspend him from any command and then hand him over for trial for the crimes he committed in East Timor.” Siagian was the target of international campaign urging his removal from Papua and calling for his trial.

As commander in West Papua, he made extremely incendiary remarks about Papuans engaged in peaceful protest. In May 2007, he reportedly threatened to “destroy” anyone who betrays Indonesia. This and other statements were similar to those he made while stationed in East Timor in 1999 during the referendum period. “Unfortunately, the transfer of Col. Siagian has not ended the repression in West Papua. A little over a week ago Opius Tabuni was shot and killed by Indonesian security forces during a celebration World Indigenous People’s Day in Wamena,” said Ed McWilliams of WPAT. “Prisoners of conscience, like Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage, continue to serve outrageously long prison terms for engaging in peaceful protest.”

“The failure of the Indonesian government to extradite Siagian and his continued service in the Indonesian armed forces are signs of the Indonesian government’s lack of commitment to justice and accountability,” said Miller.


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