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Fear of torture/medical concern

Amnesty International - February 13, 1997

Tomas Caiware (35), Fransisco Ximenes (28), Celestino Jerronimo, Armindo Soares (30), Gaspar Pinto (19), Agostinho Orlandor (19), Evangel Menezes (22), Fransisco Jesus (18), Armando (25), Paulo (28), Paulo Soares (27), Adelino (27), Agustinho da Silva (19), Gaspar (18), Acacio (20), Napoleon Amaral (27), Luis (27), Luis (20), DomiNGOs Pinto (22), Eduardo Amaral (20), Alberto (16), Luis Pinto (16), Agostinho (19), Raimundo (23), Mau-Meta (15), Luis Gama (20), Paulo (20), Egas (20), Paulo Alves (28), Gaspar (18), Mateus (23), Moises (19), Luis (26), Fransisco Rangal (23)

At least 33 East Timorese have been have been arrested in the Viqueque district of East Timor in the past week and are now being held in military custody where they are at serious risk of torture and ill-treatment. One of the 33 is believed to have been shot and wounded.

Two people, Tomas Caiware and Armindo Soares, were arrested on 7 February and are now believed to be held at a military post in Darabai, Uatulari in the district of Viqueque. A further 30 people were arrested the following day and are all now detained at the KODIM post (District Military Command) in Viqueque. It is not known if any of the detainees have access to independent legal representation. The detainees are believed to come mainly from the town of Macadique, Viqueque.

Up to four people are also reported to have been shot by the military. One of them, Luis, was arrested on 10 February after being shot and wounded. It is not known where he is being detained or whether he has access to medical treatment. Sources believe that one of the other three people reportedly shot, Fransisco Rangel, may have died as a result of his injuries.

The precise reason for the arrests and shootings is not known, although some reports say they are linked to recent civil disturbances in the Viqueque district. Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of all of those held in military custody. In addition the organization is concerned by reports that the authorities' response to disturbances has included shootings resulting in injuries and possibly one death. There are unconfirmed reports of further arrests in the area.

Background information

The authorities have frequently responded to civil disturbances, including peaceful pro-independence demonstrations in East Timor, with force including beatings and shootings. East Timorese 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 Procedure, are frequently ignored by the military and the police. Detainees are routinely denied access to legal counsel and their families, thereby increasing the risk of ill-treatment or torture.