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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 12:18 GMT
Guterres, pro-Jakarta firebrand
Eurico Guterres in 2000
Guterres denied he was to blame for the killings
Eurico Guterres, now 28, was among the youngest and most flamboyant of the gang leaders cultivated by the Indonesian military in the last year of their rule in East Timor.

He headed the Aitarak (Thorn) militia, which terrorised the capital, Dili, and surrounding areas before during and after East Timor's August 1999 independence vote.


I never have regrets about what I did

Eurico Guterres
Guterres's conviction for crimes against humanity on Wednesday was connected with an incident that was caught on camera on 17 April 1999.

Television footage shows Guterres in front of a large crowd in Dili. According to witnesses, he urged his men to kill East Timorese activists.

The militiamen shout they are ready for operations. The crowd moves off in a convoy of vehicles led by Guterres.

His followers then attacked the home of pro-independence leader Mario Carrascalao - killing 12 people.

Mr Carrascalao's 16-year-old son was among those killed. Several other people were injured.

Defiant

Earlier that month Guterres was also filmed in the town of Liquica, just after the massacre of dozens of refugees who had taken shelter inside a church.

After independence, Guterres fled to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Militiamen
Pro-Jakarta militias went on the rampage in 1999
Guterres has denied any criminal activity and said he has no regret about what he did, saying he was trying to defend the Indonesian nation.

But he told reporters before Wednesday's hearing: "If I had known that trying to prevent Indonesia from breaking apart would cause me to end up in jail, I wouldn't have done that."

Guterres is the eighth of 18 suspects to be tried by a special Indonesian human rights court over the East Timor violence.

A court in East Timor had issued its own arrest warrant for the militia leader.

More than 1,000 people were killed when pro-Jakarta militias went on the rampage in 1999, and 300,000 fled to West Timor.


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27 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
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