EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 21/75/96
UA 262/96 Fear of torture / Health concern / Legal concern 13 November 1996
EAST TIMORAzito Freitas, 19, student
Reports that Azito Freitas has had his arm broken in police custody have
heightened concern that he may face further torture or ill-treatment as his
interrogation continues. His situation is worsened by the fact that he is
being denied access to independent lawyers. It is not known whether he has
been granted access to his family or to medical treatment.
Azito Freitas was reportedly arrested on 28 October 1996 in the East Timorese
town of Baucau as he was on his way to hear a mass celebrated by the 1996 Nobel
peace prize laureate, East Timorese Bishop Belo. He was taken into custody
by military officers, thought to be from Indonesia's Special Forces Command
(Kopassus), even though, under Indonesia's Code of Criminal Procedures, it
is the police and not the military who have the authority to carry out arrests.
The 19-year-old's arrest is believed to be related to the killing on 24 October
in Baucau of Commander Juliao Fraga, an East Timorese military commander in
the Indonesian Armed Forces. An unknown number of other individuals are also
believed to have been detained in connection with the killing.
Azito Freitas is being held in police custody in Baucau. Reports allege that
he is under pressure during interrogation to provide information about those
responsible for killing the commander. He was originally denied access to
any legal representation, but is now said to have been provided with a
government-appointed lawyer. Amnesty International is concerned that he is
still being denied the opportunity to seek legal counsel of his own choice.
A government-appointed lawyer will be less likely to challenge procedural
violations during interrogation, limiting the detainee's protection from
further torture and ill-treatment.
East Timorese taken into military and police custody continue to be at risk
of torture and ill-treatment, particularly during interrogation. Detainees
are denied access to legal counsel and their families which increases this
risk. 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 police.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English or Bahasa Indonesia or your own language:
- calling for the authorities to provide Azito Freitas with access to legal
counsel of his own choice, medical treatment and access to his family and the
International Committee of the Red Cross;
- expressing concern at reports that he has been ill-treated in police custody
and calling on the authorities to ensure that he is not being subjected to
torture and ill-treatment;
- calling on the authorities to clarify the charges against Azito Freitas and
to release him if he is being held for his peaceful activities.
MILITARY COMMANDER REGION IX/UDAYANA
(covers Bali, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara and East Timor)