Indonesia to free 1500 Aceh rebels

Hundreds of Acehnese rebels will be released from prison to mark Indonesia's independence day.

    The release forms part of a peace accord signed on Monday

    Nearly 1500 Free Aceh Movement rebels will be freed this month as part of an accord signed between the government and separatist rebels in Finland on Monday to end three decades of fighting.

    Another 447 will be released on Wednesday to mark 60 years of Indonesian independence from Dutch and Japanese colonial rule, said Zulhakil Mubin, the chief correctional officer in the province.

    "All but six are in prisons in Aceh," he said. "The others are in Jakarta."
     
    Indonesia regularly shortens jail sentences for well-behaved prisoners on 17 August, but officials said the Justice Ministry had been particularly generous towards Acehnese political prisoners this year because of the peace accord.

    Those convicted of criminal acts will stay in jail.

    Prisons swept away

    The release marks Indonesian
    independence celebrations

    Among those being released on Wednesday were 156 inmates who turned themselves in to authorities after the 26 December tsunami hit coastlines across Asia, killing 131,000 people in Aceh and destroying much of the province's infrastructure.

    Two prisons were swept away, one in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh and the other in the nearby village of Lhokgna, killing hundreds of rebel inmates, said Teuku Darwin, the regional head of Aceh's Justice Ministry.

    It was not clear how many survived the killer waves and escaped, but at least 156 reported their whereabouts to authorities, many after helping other tsunami survivors, Mubin said.

    Political clout

    Imprisoned Aceh rebels have
    been offered amnesty

    Earlier this week, the Indonesian government signed an agreement with separatist fighters to end a civil war that has killed nearly 15,000 people since 1976.

    The accord became possible after the Free Aceh Movement agreed to renounce its demand for full independence and to disarm.

    In return, the government will withdraw thousands of troops from the province, and has offered the rebels the right to political representation and amnesty.

    Justice and Human Rights Minister Hamid Awaluddin predicted that the 1482 other rebel inmates eligible for release would be freed next week.

     

    SOURCE: Unspecified


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

    Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

    Improving eco-efficiency within a capitalist growth-oriented system will not save the environment.