Tue, 18 Mar 2003

Police detain Manuputty

JAKARTA: Police detained convicted leader of the Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM) Alexander Manuputty upon his arrival on Monday from Ambon, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Paskalis Pieter said that the Jakarta High Court issued an arrest warrant for his 55-year-old client as the court was due to hear his appeal.

"He is being detained at National Police headquarters," said Paskalis.

Manuputty was sentenced to three years in jail by the North Jakarta District Court in January for plotting a rebellion in the Maluku Islands. He did not attend his trial and remained free in his homeland.

He was arrested in Ambon on April 17 last year after inciting his supporters to raise separatist flags, which were banned by the central government.

The group wanted Jakarta to allow a referendum on self- determination akin to the 1999 UN-organized ballot in East Timor. -- JP