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University Of East Timor students stands for trial

MateBEAN - February 13, 1998

Dili – Six University of East Timor (UNTIM) students were brought to trial, last Wednesday (11/2). Aniceto Guterres Lopes and Vincente Daton Igon, lawyers from the HAK (Legal, Justice and Human Rights) Foundation accompanied the six students to the Court.

The district attorney accused the students of torturing three 511th Army battalion soldiers. The incident took place in the Dili Public Library yard, next to the UNTIM campus on 14 November 1997. Apparently, the brawl ignited a big mass-fight known as the bloody UNTIM Incident. Army and police SWAT units attacked UNTIM campus.

Five of the six students were Francisco de Deus, 20, Junival dos Santos Moniz, 23 Vincente Marques da Cruz, 21, and Domingos da Silva, 25, four of them were students from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. The other one was Silveiro Baptista Ximenes, 23, from Faculty of Teaching and Education. We missed one name.

On his accusation, District Attorney Ignatius Eko Purwanto mentioned the names of the soldiers being tortured. They were Suharto, Hamzah and Hanafi. He also mentioned, that the brawl had ignited a mass-fight between UNTIM students and members of C Company, 511th Army battalion. The latter sprayed the campus building with M-16 assault rifles. Many of the students were injured and the shooting caused big damage to the buildings. Windowpanes were broken into pieces.

Meanwhile, there are no clues of the authorities, to bring the C Company soldiers to the military court. "If the students were brought to trial, why are the authorities not bringing the C Company soldiers to trial? They illegally attacked our beloved campus, and resulting a big loss of campus facility and many of our friends were injured," said one UNTIM student bitterly.