APSN Banner

East Timorese shot and arrested

Amnesty International - May 2, 1997

According to an unconfirmed report, at about 4.30pm on 21 April 1997 members of the security forces shot and arrested Edison Marcal Dias Freitas, an East Timorese man from Santa Cruz in Dili. On 23 April, relatives went to the police station in Dili to inquire as to his whereabouts and state of health, but without success. Since then there has been no more information.

The family was given no reason for Edison Marcal Dias Freitas's apparent arrest. However, it is believed that he was suspected of having been involved in incidents, some violent, which took place when Bishop Belo returned to East Timor on 24 December 1996 from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway (see UA 06/97, ASA 21/01/97, 8 January - and updates ASA 21/04/97, 12 February and ASA 21/16/97, 18 March). At least 15 people are currently standing trial in East Timor in relation to the events of 24 December. If Edison Marcal Dias Freitas is in custody Amnesty International is concerned that he may be subjected to ill-treatment or torture and that he may not have access to the medical attention which he requires for any injuries he might have sustained from the shooting. The lack of information about his whereabouts also raises fears that he may be killed or "disappeared".