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Indonesian human rights groups says police beat East Timorese

Lusa - March 31, 1997

Jakarta – A member of Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission has accused the country's police of physically maltreating East Timorese who staged a demonstration during a visit to the conflict-territory last week by United Nations (UN) envoy, Jamsheed Marker.

Clementino dos Reis, a native East Timorese and member of the commission, told Reuters by telephone on Saturday, that "It is obvious the protesters have been beaten. They have swollen eyes, mouths, backs and chests. Some haven't eaten for four days because they can't do it as the result of the beating".

Amaral added that "In total, we have found there are 37 protesters who have been injured during the protest".

The Indonesian police arrested on March 23 several protesters who were demanding a meeting with Marker staying in a hotel at the East Timorese capital Dili.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it one year later but the United Nations still regards Portugal as the territory's administering power.

Lisbon has demanded that East Timor be given the right of self-determination.