Tue, 25 Jan 2000

Police told to free students

MAKASSAR, South Sulawesi: A group of students claiming to represent 50 organizations rallied at the local police headquarters on Monday to demand the release of fellow students arrested following a riot here last Tuesday.

It was the second rally after hundreds of student activists marched through the streets to air their demand on Friday.

The group spokesman, Iswary al Farisy, said the protesters demanded the release of 26 students after hearing reports that they were beaten during questioning.

Chief of detectives Capt. Mahendra Jaya insisted that the students would remain in police custody until the legal process was completed. He added that home arrest could be imposed on students released on the recognizance of their universities.

The students were arrested for alleged involvement in illegal identity checks on streets to identify non-Muslims. The operation was reportedly conducted to seek revenge for Muslims in Maluku who have been killed in communal clashes. Several motorbikes and cars were set on fire during the identity check. (27)