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Indonesia admits military personnel killed prisoners

April 06, 2013

JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Army admitted Thursday (April 4th) that members of its special forces stormed a jail last month and killed four people awaiting trial for allegedly killing their superior officer, AFP reported.

Brigadier General Unggul Yudhoyono, who led the investigation into the murders, announced that nine members of the Special Forces Command confessed to the late-night revenge killings on March 23rd at a jail in Sleman, Yogyakarta.

Heru Santoso, the soldiers' superior officer, was beaten and stabbed to death at a nightclub several days earlier as he attempted to break up a fight.

Commenting on the issue Friday, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the killings, which he described as unacceptable "street justice".

"Brutality in any form cannot be justified," the Jakarta Globe quoted him as saying.

Rights groups welcomed the unusual admission of guilt. Hendardi, the head of the rights group Setara Institute of Peace and Democracy, said the military probe "deserves applause, but (the admission) also comes as a surprise because in the history of the military such findings are rare".

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