JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia expelled a Soviet Aeroflot Airlines manager who had faced a possible death sentence for spying and banned the airline, Security Chief Admiral Sudomo said today.
Sudomo said Aeroflot manager Alexander Finenko, arrested after a fistfight with Indonesian security Feb. 6, was taken from jail Saturday and immediately left for Moscow on an Aeroflot flight because a weeklong hunger strike had seriously endangered his health.
In a broadcast statement, Sudomo also said the Aeroflot office in Jakarta had been closed Saturday and further operations of the airline banned.
Finenko, identified as a high-ranking officer in the Soviet military intelligence agency, GRU, was the third Soviet citizen expelled for spying in a week.
However, the expulsion appeared aimed at avoiding a complete break in Indonesian-Soviet relations following a week of revelations about a Soviet spy ring and public demonstrations at the Russian Embassy.
Sudomo, commander of the internal security organization, Kopkamtip, warned the Soviet Union never to repeat attempts at spying, warning 'the Indonesian government will take emphatic action every time.'
He said the release of Finenko 'does not mean that we are weak or that we gave in to pressure or threats from the Soviet Union.'
But Sudomo said, 'We must be level-headed and take into consideration our important, long-term national interests.'
The release of Finenko, who could have faced a firing squad, ended the prospect of a trial that would have further damaged Indonesian-Soviet relations.
A Soviet military attache, Sergei Egorov, was expelled after being caught taking defense documents from an Indonesian colonel.
Finenko was arrested at Jakarta's airport when he tried to leave with Egorov. The Aeroflot manager was under surveillance and when he was stopped a wild punching and biting fight broke.
Another Soviet embassy official was expelled with Finenko Saturday for participating in the brawl.