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Australian Current Affairs

Australia raises Cebongan human rights jail killings with Indonesia


Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith with his Indonesian counterpart Purnomo Yusgiantoro

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith with his Indonesian counterpart Purnomo Yusgiantoro

Defence Minister Stephen Smith has asked to be kept informed of Indonesian investigations into the alleged involvement of Kopassus special forces soldiers in the murder of four remand prisoners.

Mr Smith confirmed today that he had raised the Cebongan jail killings on March 23 with Indonesian counterpart Purnomo Yusgiantoro at their Jakarta meeting.

Mr Smith said it was a longstanding practice of the Australian government to raise with the Indonesian authorities alleged human rights abuses by their military and police.

The strong suggestion a rogue group of Kopassus soldiers carried out the jail attack to avenge the killing of a colleague by the four suspects is sensitive for Australia, which resumed Special Air Service training exercises with the controversial Indonesian special forces in 2005.

The US, which resumed special forces cooperation in 2010, is also understood to have officially raised the Cebongan issue with Jakarta.

“That jail incident was a matter I raised yesterday with Minister Purnomo; he tells me there are three separate investigations under way,” Mr Smith said today.

“I told him I would be interested to see the outcomes of the investigations in due course.”

Mr Smith said Mr Purnomo agreed to keep him informed on the investigations by the police, the TNI military command and human rights authority Komnas HAM.

He expected the matter would be discussed again when Mr Purnomo went to Perth in July for the next bilateral defence ministers’ meeting.

So far police have made no arrests or named any suspects in the Cebongan killings.

However, Mr Smith said, ties between Australia and Indonesia were now so robust that disagreements on individual issues could not “knock the relationship off kilter”.

Source: The Australian – Stephen Smith raises Cebongan jail killings with Indonesia
 
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