East Timor: The Mahkota Hotel demonstration trials
Thirty-three youths are awaiting trial in East Timor for their role in a demonstration which began peacefully to bring their concerns about Indonesia's occupation of East Timor to the attention of the UN Personal Representative of the Secretary General on 23 March 1997. The demonstration ended in scuffles as the security forces used violence in their attempts to disperse the crowd. Many demonstrators were badly beaten. There is concern that those charged face an unfair trial, and that seventeen defendants facing charges under Articles 154 and 155, the "Hate-sowing" Articles, are prisoners of conscience. Amnesty International is calling for their immediate and unconditional release and for a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment by the security forces during the demonstration.