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Friday, 22 September, 2000, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Indonesian army linked to scandal
Militiamen
Putra said the money was to fund East Timor militias
Indonesia's army leadership has been implicated in a counterfeiting scandal allegedly intended to fund pro-Jakarta militias in East Timor.

An Indonesian ex-soldier told a court in Jakarta that he was ordered to counterfeit $2.2m in bank notes by General Tyasno Sudarto, then chief of military intelligence and now head of the army.


He told me that the army could not afford to lose East Timor

Ismail Putra
The ex-serviceman, Ismail Putra, and his co-accused Eddy Kereh, both in their 60s, were jailed for seven and four years respectively for forging the Indonesian rupiah.

Both the prosecution and the judge refused to summon General Tyasno to testify at the Jakarta trial saying there was not enough evidence linking him to the case.

Putra said he was told the original order came from General Wiranto who was Indonesia's military chief until last October.

wiranto
General Wiranto: Held morally responsible for the violence
General Wiranto has been widely blamed for the militia violence which erupted in East Timor after the territory voted for independence last year.

Speaking after the verdict Putra said: "General Tyasno told me that General Wiranto had picked BIA [the military intelligence agency] to run the counterfeit money operation to fund the [pro Jakarta] East Timorese militias."

"He told me that the army could not afford to lose East Timor. He said I had to do this for the army," Putra added.

'Slander'

The Indonesian National Human Rights Commission said this year that General Wiranto was "morally responsible" for the militia violence in East Timor which left hundreds dead.

Investigators accused his army command of making no effort to halt the campaign of murder and looting.

General Tyasno has denied Putra's allegations over the counterfeit money as "lies" and "slander".

The judge cited the two ex-servicemen's exemplary military records as grounds for not imposing a maximum 15-year sentence.

"The defendants are in their 60s. Eddy in particular has devoted his life to the country and earned many medals during his service in the navy," Judge Purwanto said.

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See also:

22 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia begins arms crackdown
30 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor marks year of freedom
16 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wiranto quits after Timor grilling
28 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wiranto 'responsible' for Timor violence
17 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Shadowy militias of East Timor
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