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U.S. woman ordered to leave Indonesia after East Timor protest

Associated Press - November 13, 1997

Irwan Firdaus, Jakarta – Indonesia deported an American woman Thursday after police arrested her for taking notes and photographs during a pro-independence protest in the disputed territory of East Timor.

Police said Lynn Fredricksson, 34, of Washington, D.C., had been working illegally as a journalist and contacted pro-independence groups after she arrived in East Timor on Nov. 6.

The East Timor Action Network of New York said Fredricksson had been observing a peaceful vigil at the University of East Timor when she was arrested Wednesday, then interrogated for more than 10 hours.

Fredricksson left Bali island Thursday evening on a Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore and planned to fly on to New York, said Yunus Junaid, an immigration official at the Bali airport. She was accompanied by staff from the U.S. consulate in Bali, Junaid said.

Police said Fredricksson, a student at a San Francisco university, was detained after she was seen taking photographs and writing notes during the ceremony to commemorate a 1991 military massacre of protesters.

A statement from police headquarters in Dili, the provincial capital of East Timor, said: "The tone of the contents of the notes discredits the Indonesian government."

Police spokesman Capt. Widodo alleged that she had broken Indonesia's immigration laws by working as a journalist after entering the country on a tourist visa.

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment.

Several ceremonies were held in Dili on Wednesday to commemorate a massacre of pro-independence protesters by Indonesian troops on Nov. 12, 1991. An official investigation suggested about 50 people were killed. However, human rights groups and other activists say the figure was closer to 200.

Indonesia invaded East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, in 1975 and annexed it a year later. The United Nations does not recognize Indonesia's rule over the half-island territory.