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Concern over those arrested with Commander David Alex

ETISC Australia - June 26, 1997

We are deeply concerned over the safety of five East Timorese arrested together with the Baucau commander of the East Timor armed Resistance, David Alex. Indonesian authorities refuse to disclose their whereabouts and our sources indicate they might be detained in the Rumah Merah Indonesian military torture installation in Baucau. At the present moment, there is a very heavy presence of troops in Baucau, 130km from the capital Dili.

There is a very strong likelihood that the five are currently being tortured. The use of torture is a common practice of Abri and the pictures posted on the InterNet at http://www.dayworld.net.au/~ekeberg/torture.html are clear evidence of the brutalities committed against the East Timorese people by Abri. We are also deeply disturbed that there are 46 East Timorese currently being detained by police.

"The death of David Alex, if true, is a great loss to the armed Resistance, Falintil", said Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, speaking from Santiago, Chile.

"There is a David and Goliath nature to the war waged against the East Timorese people by the Indonesian armed forces. A further 15 battalions of Indonesian troops have been brought into East Timor to hunt down the armed Resistance. This is appalling. The culture of resistance will continue, as one generation of Timorese passes on the torch of national struggle to another," added Ramos-Horta.

"If David Alex is dead, there will be other East Timorese to take over his command. In 1978, the Indonesians failed to destroy Falintil with the killing of Nicolau Lobato – there was Xanana Gusmao to lead the armed Resistance. When Xanana was arrested in 1992, the armed struggle continued under the command of Konis Santana."

The Nobel Peace laureate also urged Western nations to stop selling arms to the Indonesia armed forces, to end the war in East Timor.

"Since 1975 Indonesia has been fighting a dirty war against the East Timorese military Resistance, and has simultaneously been exercising its troops in the use of arms against East Timorese civilians," said Ramos-Horta. "Indonesia buys weapons from the West with East Timor in mind, and the arms suppliers know very well they would also be used against East Timorese as well as in Indonesia."

"Once again," said Ramos-Horta, "the increased level of conflict in East Timor proves that no amount of force used will ever suffice to crush the spirit of the East Timor people. "Once again, after 22 years of the senseless and brutal war against the East Timorese, the Indonesians should realise that only through dialogue under UN auspices can there be a resolution of this conflict," added the Nobel Peace laureate.