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Col (Inf) (Ret) Suprapto Tarman

District head (bupati) of Aileu

In 1999, Suprapto Tarman had been district head for five years, since taking over from Fernao Verdial possibly as early in 1994. His record throughout 1999 is one of intimidating the very population he had sworn as district head to protect.[1] He was the main instigator of the local militia group Ahi, which was used for this purpose.

Ahi was the last in East Timor to be formally inaugurated in 1999 - June - but it did have antecedents. It was nominally led by Thomas Mendonca, former head of the Aileu district council (DPRD-II), but the real power was held by his third in command, Celestino dos Santos Menezes, the local Gadapaksi leader. Horacio de Araujo, apparently a member of Rajawali at the Aileu district military command, was one of four section commanders.[2] Ahi operated in conjunction with Rajawali (Kopassus) and the various sub-district military commands (Koramil), which fell under the district commander Maj Maman Rachman. The close military connection is is clear, for example, from a description of the arrest and subsequent torture of eight individuals in Asu Mau village on 15 April 1999, written by the East Timorese human rights organisation Yayasan HAK.[3]

On Saturday, 29 May 1999, Tarman told about 200 villagers who attended a blood-swearing ceremony in Cotolau, 12 kilometres south of Dili, that nobody would be able to protect them if people voted for independence.[4]

In July 1999 a leaked letter circulated in East Timor allegedly over Tarman's signature. Addressed to all pro-integration forces, including the local military, police, militia (Ahi and Pam Swakarsa) and the pro-integration political group FPDK, the letter claimed to be following up a July instruction from military headquarters in Jakarta (no. X/A/ MB/VII/1999). In order to 'stabilise integration', it listed six orders. These included monitoring Unamet personnel, ensuring they went nowhere without reporting to the police or military and certainly not after 6pm, and beating them up and wrecking their car if they failed to comply.[5]

Suprapto Tarman denied the letter was genuine. This was one of several letters in the run-up to the ballot alleged to be from Indonesian government officials detailing planned violence against pro-independence East Timorese or the UN (see Garnadi).

In August, shortly before the ballot, Suprapto Tarman told a rally in Remexio, not far from Dili, that all local civil servants must choose autonomy. He added that if autonomy were to lose, the head of human rights monitor Alfredo da Silva Alpha (coordinator of the [Catholic] Justice and Peace Commission in Aileu) would be cut off and used as a football on the playing field. Amnesty International reported that he had also been threatened with death by paramilitaries the previous April.[6]  Suprapto Tarman also said civil servants' salaries would be withheld until they had given their ballot registration number to their superiors.[7]

Immediately after the ballot was over, Ahi militia men assisted by local military personnel went looking for CNRT leaders in Remexio, Liquedoe and Laulara. A report by the human rights organisation Fortilos alleged that Suprapto Tarman had ordered the razzia because he was angry that people had not heeded his instruction for the populace to stay away from the polls.[8]

A leaked Unamet document dated 3 and 4 September 1999 confirmed Suprapto Tarman's close relationship with the local militia. Suprapto Tarman told Unamet's civilian police team (CivPol) in Aileu that he had been appointed a militia 'platoon leader, in preparation for the conduct of a civil war if the autonomy proposal was rejected'. A militia leader told the same team that he was acting under instructions from Suprapto Tarman, and that it was now he (the militia leader, instead of the local police) who was 'in charge of the Unamet security'. The Unamet report went on: 'When exercising this so-called security duty, he [the militia leader] threatened to burn down the Unamet residence. He reiterated the threat in front of a Polri [Indonesian police] Liaison Officer who did not follow suit. CivPol witnessed the CNRT office being burnt down by militias in the presence of Polri which did not intervene. A Polri Liaison Officer finally told the CivPols that it was no longer safe for them to remain in town and that they should join a convoy of departing Polri families. So they did.'[9] 

KPP HAM recommended he be investigated for using government money to fund militias under the guise of a civil defence force (Pam Swakarsa).[10] However, in May 2000 he refused to answer a call to be interrogated by a joint team from the Attorney General's Department.[11]

  • Augusto dos Santos, at the time a 18-year old member of the Ahi militia, was sentenced to 5 years prison by the Serious Crimes Panel on 14 May 2002 for murdering Antonio Ribeiro in the village of Menarbou near Aileu township on 4 September 1999. The attack was ordered by Horacio de Araujo.[12]

This officer (Serial no. 26431) was born on 2 February 1951 in Singkawang, West Kalimantan. In 1993 he had been military district commander in Manufahi (Commander, Kodim1634/ Manufahi, East Timor), with the rank of LtCol.[13]

Extra Information

Current Status:
K - KPP HAM. Listed in the 31/01/2000 report of the Indonesian commission of inquiry into atrocities committed in East Timor in 1999. More junior figures in Appendix 5 of the final report are added here under their superiors.

See map of location

This individual is also mentioned in these profiles:
Maj Maman Rachman
LtCol Hardiono Saroso
Abilio Soares

[1] Darmadji, 'Pengadilan kasus Timor Lorosae: Sebuah catatan kritis',  [email protected] , 5 September 2000.

[2] 'A profile of human rights violations in Aileu district during 1999', Dili: UN Human Rights Unit, no date; 'III. The plight of East Timorese refugees in West Timor', Human Rights Watch (, 18 December 1999; James Dunn, 'Crimes against humanity in East Timor, January to October 1999: Their nature and causes', Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2001; also implied in Komite Jajak Pendapat yang Bebas dan Jujur, 'Gelombang kekerasan adalah sabotase terhadap jajak pendapat: Laporan pemantauan 22 Agustus 1999', Yayasan HAK, 20 August 1999 (the '22 Agustus' date in the title is a mistake).

[3] 'Yayasan HAK> Laporan situasi HAM Timor Timur April 1999', MateBEAN, 25 May 1999.

[4] Lindsay Murdoch, 'Military takes blood oaths for Jakarta: Unregistered voters "harassed"', Sydney Morning Herald [and The Age], 31 May 1999.

[5]  'Propaganda hitam merajalela di Timtim: Bupati Aileu mengadu ke Polda', Kompas, 23 July 1999.

[6] 'Fear for safety', Amnesty International, AI FI080/99 - ASA 21/35/99, 26 April 1999 (Further information on UA 80/99 (ASA 21/31/99, 19 April 1999).

[7] 'HAK: Gelombang kekerasan adalah sabotase terhadap jajak pendapat - Laporan pemantauan 22 Agustus 1999', MateBEAN, 20 August 1999.

[8] Fortilos, 'Situasi masih mengkhawatirkan: Apa rencana TNI dan Polri? Perkembangan situasi, 31/8/99 (bagian 3)', via Wahana, 1 September 1999.

[9] 'Incidents on 3 and 4 September which led to the relocation to Dili of Unamet staff from Aileu, Ainaro, Maliana, Liquica and Same regencies', undated leaked internal Unamet (civpol) report.

[10] 'J Lumintang diperiksa soal telegram 5 Mei: Wiranto ditunggu Jumat ini', Kompas, 24 December 1999.

[11] 'AGO to force ex-officials to testify on Timor melee', Indonesian Observer, 17 May 2000.

[12] Case 6/ 2001, Serious Crimes trial documents (

[13] Kolakops Timor Timur Dalam Gambar dan Peristiwa Tahun 1992-1993, Kolakops, East Timor, 1993, p.81.


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