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Indonesia: German Journalist Freed After Arrest

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GERMAN JOURNALIST RELEASED AFTER BRIEF ARREST IN INDONESIA'S ACEH

BANDA ACEH (AFP/Pacific Media Watch): A German freelance journalist has been released after being detained overnight in Indonesia's Aceh province for entering the region without proper immigration documents, the military said Saturday.

Cradow Cascha, 35, was released by military in the southwestern area of Gunung Tambolon in Gayo Luwes district late Saturday afternoon, said Lieutenant Colonel Asep Sapari, a military spokesman.

The military said Cascha was arrested on Friday because he had entered the district as a foreign journalist without properly notifying martial law administrators.

Sapari said the German was ordered to go back to the neighbouring city of Medan in North Sumatra province without being escorted by the military.

"We have good faith that he will not return here," he told AFP.

The government on May 19 last year put Aceh under martial law and launched an all-out offensive aimed at wiping out the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), which has been fighting for independence since 1976.

The military has restricted the movements of foreign journalists in Aceh and local reporters say they have come under pressure from both sides.

Last June Indonesian troops shot dead a 53 year-old German tourist and wounded his wife in West Aceh district after mistaking them for separatist rebels.

Separately, military spokesman Sapari said soldiers had gunned down a suspected rebel intelligence operator in North Aceh district and arrested 26 others in separate raids Friday.

He also accused GAM of killing a 38 year-old man in the district on Thursday. No GAM officials could be immediately reached for comment.

+++niuswire

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