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Six East Timorese to be tried over bombs

East Timor Human Rights Centre - January 9, 1998

Six East Timorese men will now go to trial for their alleged involvement in the manufacture and possession of home-made bombs. The trials are expected to commence soon.

In Semarang, Joaquim Santana, Ivo Miranda, Fernao Malta Lebre and Domingos Natalino Coelho da Silva face charges under Article 1, Paragraph 1 of Emergency Law No 12 of 1951 for the possession, storage and transport of explosives, for which the maximum penalty is death. It is believed they have also been charged under articles of the Indonesian Criminal Code for arson and failing to report a crime.

Fears are still held for the safety of the four Semarang detainees, in light of the reports from ETHRC sources that they have all been subjected to torture and ill-treatment. According to one report, Fernao Malta Lebre told friends who visited him in late October that he had been subjected to electric shock and burning with cigarettes. The ETHRC is also concerned that the four detainees may not have been allowed ongoing access to their legal representatives. It is believed they were given access to their lawyers for the first time on 5 December but the meeting only lasted thirty minutes.

In Dili, Constancio Chantal dos Santos and Paulo Jorge Pereira were arrested as they arrived in Dili by ship, allegedly carrying a large quantity of home-made bombs, ammunition and bomb-making equipment. The two men will go to trial for subversion and armed rebellion against the state and if convicted, could also face the death penalty. Constancio Chantal dos Santos and Paulo Jorge Pereira have had access to their lawyers but it is not known whether ongoing access during interrogation has been allowed.

On 3 November, another East Timorese man, Gil Paulo da Silva, was taken into police custody in Semarang when he voluntarily presented himself for questioning after receiving a summons to report to the police station. He was detained at Central Java Police Headquarters (POLDA) but charges were never brought against him and he was released on 31 December due to lack of evidence.