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Australia Presses Indonesia on Papua Killing

September 5, 2012

Australia Presses Indonesia on Papua Killing

August 29, 2012

SYDNEY — Canberra called on Wednesday for an Indonesian inquiry into
the killing of a Papuan independence leader but could not say whether
Australian-trained counter-terrorism police were involved in the

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said senior Australian officials had pressed
Indonesia on the death in June of Mako Tabuni, a leader in Papua’s
fight for independence from Jakarta allegedly killed by Indonesia’s
anti-extremist squad.

Tabuni’s supporters told Australian media he was gunned down by
plain-clothes officers from Detachment 88, a counter-terrorism squad
formed after the 2002 Bali bombings and partly trained and resourced
by Australia.

Carr said Australian police included human rights training in their
work with the Indonesian police but "we don’t run the
counter-terrorism forces" and there was a limit to Canberra’s
responsibility for their activities.

He could not confirm whether Detachment 88 had been involved in
Tabuni’s death but said several top-level representations had been
made to Jakarta calling for a "full and open" investigation into the

"We think the best way of clarifying the situation is for an inquiry,"
Carr told ABC Television.

"We think it would be in the interest of Indonesia in particular and
in the interest of their human rights record in the Papuan provinces."

Carr stressed that the calls came "in the context of us consistently
recognising Indonesian sovereignty over Papua, and at the same time
asserting our right as a friend and a neighbour to raise human rights

"Even when they’re dealing with people who may have used violent
means, who are accused of using violent means, our strong position
with Indonesia is that the legal process should be open and that the
people accused of these offences should be treated with due process,"
he said.

Carr said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Foreign
Minister Marty Natalegawa had been "very responsive".

Australian police said it only provided funding to the Indonesian
forces for specific counter-terrorism initiatives, though it had
"gifted" cars, telecoms and computer equipment worth Aus$314,500
(US$325,810) over two years.

"The Australian Federal Police is not aware, nor been informed, that
Detachment 88 is specifically targeting independence leaders in Papua
and West Papua," it said in a statement.

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