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Urgent Action - 137 arrested in Viqueque

East Timor Human Rights Centre - February 14, 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
Aleixo da Carvalho, 24
Joaquim, 25

Many East Timorese people are believed to have been arbitrarily arrested, and up to four people shot, following days of unrest in the Uatulari sub-district in Viqueque. The arrests and shootings are believed to be related to civil disturbances in the area between 7 and 11 February.

A reliable source has reported to the East Timor Human Rights Centre that 137 East Timorese people have been arrested. The detainees are reported to be extremely frightened and hold grave fears for their own safety. It is believed that the detainees are at grave risk of torture and ill-treatment.

Amnesty International has already released the names of 33 East Timorese arrested in the Viqueque district who are believed to be currently in military custody. Amnesty is concerned for the safety of all of those held in military custody.

The ETHRC has received confirmation of the 33 detainees named by Amnesty. Tomas Caiware and Armindo Soares were arrested on 7 February in Darabai, Uatulari sub-district. They are now believed to be held at a military post at Darabai. During the next two days, a further 30 people were arrested in Macadique, Uatulari, and it is believed they are being detained at the KODIM (District Military Command) post in Viqueque. Luis, aged 26, was shot on 10 February by members of the Rajawali battalion then arrested, however, it is not known whether he is receiving medical treatment or where he is being held.

Francisco Rangal, 23, was shot 3 times by members of the Rajawali batallion. His whereabouts is unknown but it is believed that he may have died as a result of his injuries. It is believed Joaquim, 25, was shot on 8 February by the Indonesian military and is currently receiving medical treatment. Aleixo de Carvahlo, 24, is also believed to have been shot by the Indonesian military. He managed to escape and his whereabouts is unknown.

The names of the other 101 detainees are not yet available, however, the ETHRC is continuing to investigate the situation in Viqueque.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION One media report (AAP, Jakarta, 13 February) says that the Indonesian authorities have detained around 100 people following the unrest in Viqueque. The report quotes a local source who said that the unrest started when East Timorese youths recruited by the Indonesian military provoked the local community by pelting homes. The source is quoted as saying that "mass fighting broke out in the area" while other youths are quoted as saying that "military personnel were also involved in the unrest."

East Timor Human Rights Centre
124 Napier St Fitzroy 3065 Australia
PO BOX 1413 Collingwood 3066 Australia

Tel: 61 3 9415 8225
Fax: 61 3 9416 2746 E-mail: etchrmel@peg.apc.org
Director: Ms Maria Brett
Chair: Bishop Hilton Deakin