08/22/2005, 00.00
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Jakarta declares an amnesty for 2,000 rebels of Aceh

The measure was one clause of the peace agreement signed on 15 August by the government and GAM rebels. Those detained in Java will go back to Aceh.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Indonesian government will announce an amnesty for 2,000 detainees belong to GAM (movement for a free Aceh). Remitting their sentence is one of the clauses of a peace agreement signed on 15 August between the government and rebel leaders. The signing put an end to a conflict which has lasted for more than 29 years.

Hamid Awaluddin, Indonesian Minister for Justice and Human Rights, who signed the agreement, said: "The number of those who will receive the amnesty is around 2,000: 1,500 in Aceh and Bengkulu and 500 in Java." The minister specified that the official number will be announced after a consultative meeting with parliament which should be held on Wednesday 24 in the capital. He said all detainees imprisoned on the island of Java will be returned to Aceh.

Hafid Abbas, director-general of the Ministry for the Protection of Human Rights, said the release will take place on Sunday 28 whatever the outcome of the parliamentary consultation. "The release will be gradual but we will keep the promises made in the Memorandum agreed between the Indonesian Republic and GAM on the detainees' release."

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