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David Alex family 'now satisfied'

Tapol - July 10, 1997

According to an AFP report of 5 July, based on a report from Antara news agency of the same day, 'relatives of the slain East Timorese rebel David Alex are now satisfied that David Alex is dead and buried, after earlier questioning his death.

'After looking at photographs of him since he was captured until (he was) buried, I am sure that it was indeed David Alex', (.....) Manuel Mira Freitas, said Friday in Dili.

Freitas said, speaking on behalf of Alex's family, 'expressed our sincere gratitude to the Indonesian military for treating his body with respect even though he was considered an enemy.'

The comments sharply contrated with his criticism of the military on Monday.

'They (the military) are all the time lying to us. We want to see (Alex's) body to make a religious burial,' he told AFP by phone from Dili on Monday [See also Jakarta Post report of 4 July, posted three days ago by TAPOL.]

The military commander in East Timor Colonel Sidabutar said Thursday that the military had photographs of Alex after he was shot and while he was in hospital 'and the family is welcome to see them'.

He added that members of Alex's family, through the intermediary of the International Red Cross had asked to see the body at the military hospital in Dili on Wednesday, but they (the family) said they were too afraid to come there.

[Some phrases are bracketed because they were unclear in the fax we received. David Alex's relatives may have come under strong pressure to express satisfaction with the army's version and not press ahead with the demand that the body be exhumed for identification and an autopsy. It appears that the ICRC is now also saying that they regard the matter as closed now that the family has been able to identify the body after seeing the photographs.]