EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 21/64/95
EXTRA 157/95 Arbitrary detention / Fear of torture /
Fear for safety
7 December 1995
INDONESIA/EAST TIMORMartinho Pereira and 12 others in East Timor
Up to 20 protesters at the French and Thai Embassies in Jakarta
In separate incidents over recent days, some 30 individuals associated with
East Timor are reported to been taken into custody by the Indonesian authorities.
Given that opponents of Indonesian rule in East Timor and those seeking to
publicise the human rights situation there are at risk of torture, there is
serious concern for the safety of all those in detention.
On 4 December, former political prisoner Martinho Pereira, who is East Timorese,
was arrested by military personnel on his way to Jakarta, after arriving in
Surabaya, East Java, by boat. He was returning from a visit to Dili, East
Timor's capital. His exact whereabouts are unclear; his family have not been
allowed to visit him; and he is not known to have had access to a lawyer.
Amnesty International is gravely concerned that he may be tortured or
ill-treated in an attempt to force him to disclose details of his activities.
Twelve other East Timorese are also reported to have been arrested in connection
with the visit to East Timor by the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for
Human Rights. No further details are available on the 12, but Amnesty
International is concerned for their safety, in view of the fact that those
who seek to draw international attention to the situation in East Timor are
frequently at risk of arbitrary arrest - and in many cases torture - for engaging
in wholly peaceful actions. Activities such as the dissemination of human
rights information are seen by the authorities as seeking to tarnish
Indonesian's image abroad and are not tolerated by the authorities.
Amnesty International is also concerned for the safety of about 19 individuals,
arrested as they were protesting outside the French Embassy in Jakarta and
currently being held in police custody. One other person is believed to have
been arrested by the military outside the Thai Embassy. In gatherings
coinciding with the protests at the French embassy, some 58 and 47 others also
remain at the Dutch and Russian embassies respectively. It is believed they
are seeking a meeting with Indonesian government representatives, as well as
the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, who until late 7 December was in
Indonesia. None of the groups is seeking asylum. Amnesty International fears
that when they eventually leave the embassies, they may be subjected to arbitrary
arrest and detention - and hence be at risk of torture or ill-treatment - for
exercising their right to freedom expression and association as guaranteed
under international human rights standards and Indonesia's constitution.
Since 1975, when Indonesian forces invaded East Timor, Amnesty International
has continued to document serious human rights violations by Indonesian security
forces in the territory, including imprisonment, torture and ill-treatment,
"disappearance" and extrajudicial execution. These violations have been
directed mainly against opponents of Indonesian rule. Although the organization
does not take a position on East Timor's political status, it believes that
any political solution or discussion must be informed by a full understanding
of the human rights situation in the territory. The organization further