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East Timorese men who have been arrested in Viqueque district

East Timor Human Rights Centre Urgent Action - January 29, 1997


Miguel Alex Correia, 22Paulino Almeida Pinto, 34Savio de Almeida, 27Paulo Lisboa, 34Abilio de Almeida,25Antonio Guterres, 26Salvador Alves, 40Martin Lopes, 53Cancio Almeida, 29Ponsiano Silvester, 20

Violations: Arbitrary Arrest

Location: Uatulari sub-district, Viqueque district, East Timor

Ref: UA 2/97 Further information: UA 12/96

The East Timor Human Rights Centre has received reports with the names of ten East Timorese men who have been arrested in the Viqueque district.

Nine East Timorese men were captured at 8.45 am on 11 January, 1997, during a military operation conducted by the soldiers of the 407th battalion in the Uatulari sub-district. The authorities have alleged the men were collaborating with the armed Resistance. The ETHRC believes that the nine men may have been arbitrarily arrested and may be at risk of torture and ill-treatment if still in detention. These fears are heightened because their current whereabouts is still unknown.

The details of the nine men, who are all from the village of Besoru, Viqueque District, are as follows:

Miguel Alex Correia, 22, son of Alfredo & Fransisca Paulino Almeida Pinto, 34, son of Cubedo Savio de Almeida, 27, son of Luamesi Paulo Lisboa, 34, son of Soru Mau & Maria Abilio de Almeida,25, son of Moeses & Julieta Antonio Guterres,26, son of Leopoldo & Julieta Salvador Alves, 40, son of Camillo & Mari Noco Martin Lopes, 53, son of Aboro & Mari Mau Cancio Almeida, 29, son of Alfredo & Julieta

A further report received by the ETHRC states that Ponsiano Silvester, aged 20, was arrested recently in Viqueque by members of the Indonesian military and detained at the District Military Headquarters in Viqueque. It is believed he has been accused of setting fire to vehicles belonging to the District Head and the Viqueque Military Commander. Fears are held for his safety if he is still in detention as all East Timorese people in military custody are at risk of torture and ill-treatment. This risk is heightened if prisoners are denied access to lawyers of their own choice and to members of their families.

Background information - On 13 December, 1996, the ETHRC released a report about the systematic intimidation of the Viqueque population and the violation of their human rights by the Indonesian authorities. The latest reports indicate that this pattern is continuing in 1997, raising new concerns for the population of Viqueque.

Recommended action:

Please send faxes/telegrams/express/airmail letters in English, Bahasa Indonesia or your own language:

- seeking clarification of the whereabouts of all 10 East Timorese men and the charges against them (if any);

- seeking their immediate release if they have not been charged with a recognisable offense under the law;

- seeking assurances that they will not face any torture or ill-treatment in detention and that they will be treated humanely and in accordance with international standards;

- seeking assurances that they will have full and continuing access to lawyers of their own choice and members of their families; and

- seeking assurances that the Indonesian military will cease its acts of generalized intimidation and ill-treatment of the local population.