EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 21/31/97
UA 124/97 Fear of torture 29 April 1997
EAST TIMOR Several East Timorese, names unknown
Four, or possibly six, East Timorese have been arrested following the killing
of a member of Indonesia’s ruling party, Golkar, on 25 April 1997. The lack
of information on the identities and whereabouts of the detainees has heightened
Amnesty International's concern that they may be subjected to ill-treatment
or torture in custody.
The circumstances leading to the death of the Golkar member remain unclear.
According to media reports, an argument broke out between East Timorese and
a member of Golkar at a concert organized by Golkar’s youth wing on 25 April
in eastern Baucau. Security forces fired into the air to break up the dispute.
A 29-year-old man, who had suffered gunshot wounds and had been beaten, died.
Local officials are quoted as denying that the man was shot by the security
forces. The East Timor Governor, Abilio Osorio Soares, is quoted by Agence
France Presse (AFP) as saying that "[h]e was allegedly killed by a group of
people who oppose the government, Golkar and the armed forces". The East Timor
Police Chief, Lt. Col. Yusuf Mucharam, blamed the killing on Fretilin, the
armed wing of the East Timorese separatist movement, who wanted to discredit
the armed forces.
Amnesty International opposes the killing of civilians by armed opposition
groups as well as by government security forces and urges the government to
implement an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing
of the Golkar member so that those responsible can be brought to justice.
However, the organization is concerned that anyone arrested for their suspected
involvement in the killing should be treated in accordance with international
human rights standards.
East Timorese alleged to be connected with the East Timorese resistance who
are taken into military and police custody continue to be at risk of torture
and ill-treatment, particularly during interrogation. Safeguards against the
use of torture and other violations of detainees' rights, provided for under
Indonesia’s Code of Criminal Procedures, are often ignored by the military
and the police. Detainees are routinely denied access to legal counsel and
to their families, heightening the risk of torture and ill-treatment.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/express/airmail letters in Bahasa
Indonesia or English or your own language:
- acknowledging with regret the death of the 29-year-old man on 25 April,
explaining that you oppose killing of civilians by both armed opposition groups
- calling on the authorities to provide information about the identities and
the exact whereabouts of the individuals detained since the killing;
- reminding the authorities of their obligation to ensure that none of the
detainees are subjected to ill-treatment or torture and urging that they be
provided with access to lawyers and to members of their families.
Chief of Police for East Timor
Lt. Col. Mucharam