(dpa) - The notorious former East Timorese militia leader Eurico Guterres has been released from a Jakarta jail after the Indonesia's Supreme Court overturned his 10-year prison sentence, officials said Tuesday.
Legal and Human Rights Ministry spokesman Akbar Adi Prabowo said Guterres was released from Jakarta's maximum-security Cipinang prison late Monday, where dozens of his supporters waiting for hours.
Guterres was sentenced to 10 years in 2002 for gross human rights violations for failing to stop men under his command from attacking pro-independence supporters in East Timor following the UN-brokered referendum to become an independent nation. The attackers killed about 1,000 people.
Supreme Court judges overturned the conviction Friday, saying new evidence proved that Guterres did not lead the attacks.
The acquittal will likely anger human rights groups and add weight to calls for the establishment of an international tribunal to try those responsible for the violence.
With Guterres' acquittal and release, all 18 suspects - most of them Indonesian military officers - originally indicted have now been acquitted.
When a vast majority voted for independence, the militias launched a wave of violence and destruction that forced hundreds of thousands to flee and razed up to 70 per cent of the territory's buildings.
East Timor became an independent nation in 2002 after being administered by the United Nations for more than two years.
East Timor's leaders have not pushed for an international tribunal out of fear of upsetting their giant neighbour Indonesia - a former brutal ruler for nearly 25 years after invaded East Timor in 1975.
Instead, they set up in 2005 the so-called Commission of Truth and Friendship with the Jakarta government that has been working to find an account acceptable to both sides.
Immediately after stepping out of prison, Guterres declared his intention to run for Parliament in Indonesia's elections, slated for April next year. He would represent West Timor for the secular and moderate National Mandate Party, founded by former Muhammadiyah chairman Amien Rais.