Papua rights abuse trial: Indonesian courtroom clears retired military main of crimes in opposition to humanity

Papua rights abuse trial: Indonesian court clears retired army major of crimes against humanity

An Indonesian court on Thursday acquitted a retired army officer in the fatal shooting of four teenagers in Papua in 2014, crushing hopes the military would be held accountable for alleged abuses in the country’s restive easternmost region.

Held in an infrequently used human rights court, the seven-week trial saw public prosecutors bring charges of “crimes against humanity” against retired army major Isak Sattu for his alleged role in ordering the fatal shooting.

Presiding judge Sutisna Sawati on Thursday said the defendant had been found not guilty, and was cleared of all charges.

The case relates to an incident in the Papuan district of Paniai in 2014 when security forces allegedly opened fire on a crowd of hundreds of residents who had gathered to protest against the beating a child, killing four and injuring 17.

Yones Douw, a lawyer and representative for the families of the victims, said the…