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Commander David Alex being tortured

ETISC Australia - June 26, 1997

We have good reason to believe that the Baucau commander of the East Timor armed Resistance, David Alex, is still alive contrary to claims by the Indonesian armed forces (Abri) that he was killed in a battle.

Based on an eyewitness report, Commander David Alex together with three others – Jose Antonio Belo, Manuel Loke Matan and Gil , all unarmed, were seeking medicine on Wednesday morning in Kaibada, near Baucau. The medicine was for David Alex himself, who was sick.

The four were intercepted by an Abri patrol, and shots were fired by the Indonesian troops. The Resistance fighters were soon captured, but the witness reported to us that none of them was injured.

The four were then driven in military vehicles to Baucau and on reaching the town, many East Timorese there saw them in custody of Abri.

According to the witness, later only three – Jose Antonio Belo, Manuel Loke Matan and Gil – were spotted in separate cells in the feared Red Berets' torture chamber, also known as the Rumah Merah. David Alex was nowhere to be seen.

There is a strong possibility that David Alex has been moved to a secret location and is currently undergoing severe torture.

We denounce the Indonesian armed forces claim that Commander David Alex has died as a result of wounds suffered in a firefight with an Abri patrol. Based on our experience, the announcement of David Alex's death is to forestall the anticipated outcome of the interrogation process under torture.

We strongly appeal to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Disappearances to investigate immediately into these heinous crimes committed by the Indonesian armed forces, in complete contravention of the Geneva Conventions and other human rights conventions. We also appeal to the international community to intervene immediately to prevent the three, currently in the Rumah Merah, from being tortured.