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Jakarta Post

'Nonsense' life sentence for separatist

  • Lilian Budianto

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, April 5 2008   /  12:44 am

The life sentence given to a traditional dance coordinator for waving a separatist flag in front of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year sparked criticism Friday, with a rights activist calling it excessive. Asmara Nababan, a former secretary-general of the National Commission on Human Rights, said the panel of judges at the Ambon District Court failed to consider that the actions of Johan Teterisa were non-violent. "The judges should have deemed his action more as a political aspiration than a life-threatening act," Asmara said. "He only waved an RMS flag, and did not carry a weapon." RMS is the South Maluku Republic, a largely Christian separatist group. In addition to finding Johan guilty, the court over the past two months convicted 19 other members of the traditional dance group of treason, sentencing them to between 10 and 20 ye...