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Three shot dead in East Timor

East Timor Human Rights Centre - July 10, 1998 (abridged)

The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) has received further information involving the extra-judicial execution of Maria da Costa (previously reported as Maria Freitas).

ETHRC sources have confirmed that Maria da Costa was pregnant at the time she was shot, and as a result of gunshot wounds, Maria and her unborn baby died. It has also been confirmed that two of Maria da Costa's children, Guirbonio and Domingos Freitas were also shot and killed during the attack on their home. The incident occured when members of Kopassus (Special Forces Command) and the Rajawali and BTT (Territorial) battalions fired shots indiscriminately, after surrounding their home in Samala hamlet, Baucau. It is believed the reason for the attack was that Maria's husband, Salustiano Freitas was a suspected member of the East Timorese clandestine resistance.

Salustiano Freitas was taken into custody after the attack and detained at Kopassus headquarters (known as Rumah Merah) in Baucau, where it is believed he was subjected to torture. Salustiano Freitas has since been released, however he remains under house arrest. The other six men detained by Indonesian authorities are still in detention charged under Article 1 of the Emergency Law Regulation No.12/1951 and are awaiting trial. To date no formal investigations have been conducted into the killings.