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Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 17:43:37 -1000
From: ethrc <>


"East Timor: No Solution Without Respect for Human Rights"
Bi-Annual Report of Human Rights Violations in East Timor
January to June, 1998 August 18, 1998 Ref: SR1/98



Even with the greater freedom East Timor is experiencing, and the gestures of good will offered by President Habibie, serious and systematic violations are continuing. The patterns of violations are the same as those that have persisted for the 23 years East Timor has been under Indonesian military occupation. In the period January to June 1998, East Timorese people were subjected to extrajudicial execution, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, rape and unfair trials as well as facing restrictions of freedom of expression and association. These are clear violations of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the government of Indonesia has endorsed through its membership of the United Nations. They also constitute violations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Although these instruments have not been ratified by the government of Indonesia, they represent the widely accepted standards within the international community.

1. Violations of Right to Life

1.1 Extrajudicial Execution

During the period covered by this report, the ETHRC received 24 reports of violations of the right to life perpetrated against East Timorese people, of which 23 were extrajudicial executions and one was an attempted extrajudicial execution. It is believed Indonesian security force personnel are responsible for all of the extrajudicial executions and yet, for the vast majority of the cases, the government of Indonesia has undertaken no investigations and the perpetrators have not been brought to trial or punished. In one case, the execution of Herman das Dores Soares, an investigation was conducted and the perpetrator convicted and this action was welcomed by the ETHRC. However, the ETHRC remains concerned that members of the Indonesian security forces enjoy almost complete impunity for serious violations such as these, which are routinely perpetrated against East Timorese people.

Case 1.1.1 On 4 January, 1998, a combined team of the Rajawali battalion, BTT (territorial battalion), SGI (Special Intelligence Unit) and Halilintar (East Timorese recruited into the Indonesian military), led by Joćo Tavares, ex-Administrator of Bobonaro district, shot dead four East Timorese men near the Nunura-Bebai river in Coilima, Atabae sub-district, Bobonaro. The bodies of Valentino Bere Mau, 24, Simao Dau Mau 26, Lorenco Sorato, 24, and José Aru Biti, 26, were discovered by villagers several days later, floating in the river. The families of the four men were threatened by the military not to attend their burials.

It is believed the four men had been accused of having links with Lourenco Lacu-Leto and Afonco da Cruz who were suspected by the military of being double agents. They were also suspected of involvement in the murder of a member of Halilintar. According to an ETHRC source, the four had been abducted by a group of unidentified armed men from the house of Afonco da Cruz, where they had gathered for a party. Before being killed, the four men were subjected to torture, including having their arms and legs broken. Other villagers were terrorized, injured and arrested during the incident. (See case 2.1.1 for details). The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) is believed to have undertaken an investigation of the killings but the outcome is not known.(25)

Case 1.1.2 On 5 February, Duarte Guterres, 48, was shot dead by members of the Rajawali battalion near the Mau-Gua mountain, located in the sub-district of Venilale, Baucau. Guterres' body was discovered two days later by some local youths, 20 metres from the Rajawali base. It is believed on the day of his death, Duarte and a friend had gone to check on their livestock when they encountered Rajawali forces who demanded that they show their ID cards. When Guterres failed to present an ID card, the military accused him of being a Falintil guerrilla and began to beat and torture him. The official reason for the killing, according to the Rajawali forces, was that Duarte Guterres was shot trying to escape capture. Three days after the killing, the Rajawali forces moved camp.

Case 1.1.3 At about 9.00pm on 14 April, a pregnant East Timorese woman and her two children were killed in an assault on their home in Samala hamlet, Wailili village, Baucau, by the Indonesian military. It is believed that assault took place because of information extracted from another East Timorese man who had been detained and interrogated. (See case 2.1.6 for details). During the assault, members of Kopassus, and the Rajawali and BTT (territorial) battalions surrounded the house and began shooting indiscriminately, injuring Salustiano Freitas, and killing his pregnant wife Maria da Costa, and two of their children Guirbonio Freitas, aged 8, and Domingos Freitas, aged 6. Salustiano Freitas was taken into custody after the attack and detained at Kopassus headquarters (Rumah Merah) in Baucau where he was subjected to torture. Freitas has since been released, however he remains under house arrest.

Case 1.1.4 On 7 May, Costodio da Silva Nunes, 46, was walking through his village of Baviquinia, in the sub-district of Maubara, Liquica, when he was spotted by members of Battalion 621, who ordered him to stop. Fearing for his safety, Nunes is believed to have ignored the order and tried to run away. Battalion 621 personnel then reported the incident to members of KORAMIL (sub-district military command) who were nearby at Lissalara hamlet, in the village of Gugleur. It is believed these members of KORAMIL caught up with Nunes and shot him dead. Nunes was reportedly buried at Gugleur(26) village, near the Telecom office. His family and friends were not permitted to attend the burial. Prior to his death, it is believed he had been persecuted by the Indonesian military as he was suspected of involvement in the East Timorese clandestine resistance.

Case 1.1.5 On 10 May, Carlos da Silva, 28 and Carlos da Costa, 30 were shot during an assault by three members of Kopassus, identified as Budi, Pedro and Ernesto (Team Saka), on a house in the village of Bucoli, Baucau. The assault on the Bucoli house is believed to have been related to information extracted from Armando da Silva during interrogation. (See case 3.1.5 for details). It is believed Carlos da Silva died from injuries sustained and was buried by the military near the complex of Command Sector A without the presence of his family. Another man, Carlos da Costa, disappeared and there are fears that he may also have been killed.

Case 1.1.6 On 22 May, another military assault on an East Timorese home also resulted in one extrajudicial execution and several arbitrary arrests. At about 5.00am on 22 May, members of a combined team from Kopassus, Rajawali and Team Saka, under the command of Sergeant Joanico, assaulted a house in Seisal village, Baucau district, looking for a group of East Timorese who were suspected of hiding military materials for the guerillas. During the assault, Cosme da Silva Ximenes, 27, was shot dead. His body was buried without the presence of family members at Wainiki, near Baucau, by members of Team Saka. Others were arrested and tortured as a result of the incident and one man was seriously injured. (See case 3.1.8 for details).

Case 1.1.7 On 24 May, Carlos Pinto, 23, was killed by members of the Rajawali battalion in the Lospalos district. On the day of his death, Carlos Pinto, together with his brother, Antonio Pinto, and five other unidentified East Timorese people, were hunting in the Sabunasafai forest in the Lospalos district when they were approached by Rajawali forces who asked to see their ID cards. Even though the seven East Timorese people presented their ID cards, the military accused them of having contact with Falintil and began to open fire on them. They immediately began to run away but Carlos Pinto was shot dead while attempting to flee the soldiers. His family was unable to recover his body for burial and believes the Indonesian military buried the body at a secret location.

Case 1.1.8 On 16 June, Herman das Dores Soares, 21, from Mascarenhas village in west Dili, was shot by a member of the Indonesian military in the village of Obrato, Manatuto district, while he and his cousin, Olandino Soares, 19, were collecting wood from the road. They were suspected of stealing the wood which apparently belonged to the military. Herman das Dores Soares was shot six times without warning in the leg and chest as he tried to get back into the car. He was bleeding heavily and had to be taken by his cousin on public transport to the Manatuto health centre as nearby Indonesian soldiers did not offer to assist. The health centre did not have the equipment and personnel to treat him and it was decided to transfer him to a hospital in Dili. Herman died from excessive bleeding en route to the hospital. His body was taken to his family in Dili and on 18 May, his coffin was carried to the Santa Cruz cemetery to be buried, amid a mass demonstration by 10,000 East Timorese people who were protesting the killing.(27) Olandino Soares sustained injuries.

The Indonesian military conducted an investigation into the killing and found that the Indonesian soldier had used unnecessary force, given that the two men were only suspected of stealing wood. Colonel Mujiono, Deputy Chief of the East Timor Military Command said: "Our people were at fault. There was no reason for shots to be fired".(28) The soldier, Agus Medi, of the BTT (territorial battalion) 315, was tried by a military tribunal. He was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Case 1.1.9 On 27 June 1998, Manuel Marques Soares was shot dead by unidentified Indonesian security force personnel as he sat in front of his house in the village of Aitais, Manatuto. Members of Team Alfa, Team Saka, Team Makikit and the Rajawali battalion had opened fire into a nearby crowd in order to quell a clash between pro-integration and pro-independence protesters. At least six others were injured during the incident. (See case 3.3.2 for details). The killing again led to angry protest demonstrations which involved further clashes with military personnel. (See case 3.3.3 for details).

Case 1.1.10 On 29 June, Orlando Marcelino da Costa, 35, was shot and killed by SGI (Indonesian Intelligence Unit), during a visit to Baucau by a delegation of European Union Ambassadors. Pro-independence protesters had gathered outside the cathedral in Baucau to welcome the European visitors. According to an eye-witness, the crowd cheered when they saw two vans carrying the European delegation but when a car appeared carrying several security officers armed with automatic weapons, the crowd became angry at the presence of armed military personnel and began to beat and kick the car. It is believed security officers inside the car fired shots into the crowd of people surrounding the car, killing Orlando Marcelino da Costa and seriously wounding seven others. (See case 3.3.4 for details).

Other cases reported to the ETHRC The ETHRC received reports of 8 other East Timorese people being extrajudicially executed. See Appendix B for details of cases 1.1.11 to 1.1.15.

2. Violations of the Right to Individual Liberty

During the period covered by this report, the ETHRC received 127 reports of violations of the rights to individual liberty against East Timorese people, including 107 East Timorese people who were arbitrarily detained and 20 who disappeared. Again, the vast majority of allegations have not been investigated and the perpetrators have not been brought to trial or punished. This again highlights the fact that members of the Indonesian security forces enjoy almost complete impunity for violations perpetrated against East Timorese people.

2.1 Arbitrary Detention

As the statistics indicate, arbitrary detention is a frequent practice is East Timor. The detentions documented here were arbitrary by accepted international standards but Indonesian authorities also failed to comply with standards under their own legal system. Suspects were invariably arrested without warrants,(29)they were often arrested by the military or civilian militia, rather than by police as required under Indonesian law(30)and they were not charged and brought to trial within the proper time required by law.

Case 2.1.1 On 4 January, following the execution of 4 East Timorese people in the Nunara-Bebai river in Coilima, Atabae sub-district, Bobonaro (see case 1.1.1 for details), members of the military began to terrorize the villagers of the area. Several villagers, Fernando, 22, Marcelo, 32, Afonso da Cruz, 29, Justino, 17, Francisco Bere Lelo, 20 Alexandrino David, Marcelino Leto,27, Joćo Goncalves, 25, Manuel Leikele, 26 and Florindo Leto Dasi, 29, were injured and arbitrarily detained at the SGI post at Cailaco. They were suspected of supporting Falintil. It is believed the detainees, including those who were injured, were subjected to torture during interrogation. Another thirteen people from the village of Coilima also disappeared. (See case 2.2.1 for details).

Case 2.1.2 On 6 March, Rui Campus was arrested from his home along with two men, later identified by ETHRC sources as Joćo and Modesto. Joćo and Modesto were subsequently released but Rui Campus was subjected to continuing arbitrary detention. It was reported that the reason for the arrest was a dispute in Trisula hamlet, Asalainu village, Lospalos, but it is believed the real reason for the arrest was that Campus was suspected of having links with the clandestine movement and supporting Falintil. Rui Campus was originally detained at the Baucau headquarters of the Special Forces Command (Kopassus) and later transferred to POLRES (Police Resort) in Lospalos It is believed he is now detained at a Baucau Detention Centre. Rui Campus has not been served with an arrest warrant or detention order and has been denied access to legal representation since his arrest in March.

Case 2.1.3 On 21 March, Albertino da Costa, Gil Fernandes, and Mario Ximenes dos Reis were arrested and detained at POLRES (Police Resort) in Dili. They were suspected of organising clandestine activities relating to Brigada Negra (Black Brigade). They were transferred to Dili's Becora prison but were released on 13 June 1998 when all charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Case 2.1.4 Amnesty International reported that Jose da Costa Soares, 39, Agostinho Goncalves, 22, and Gil Ximenes, 22, were arrested in March and arbitrarily detained.(31) Jose da Costa Soares was arrested on 20 March from his home in Comoro, Dili, after police raided his house searching for Agostinho Goncalves, a University of East Timor (UNTIM) student. Agostinho Goncalves and Gil Ximenes, also a UNTIM student, were both arrested on 21 March. The three men were all being held arbitrarily at POLRES (Police Resort) in Dili. Jose da Costa Soares was later released but Agostinho Goncalves and Gil Ximenes were subjected to continuing arbitrary detention by the police and were also tortured and ill-treated. They received beatings and electric shock. No further information is available.

Case 2.1.5 On or about 27 March, Justo Bernardino, 40, was arrested in a house at the village of Iralafai in the district of Lospalos, by members of Kopassus (Special Forces Command). It is believed Bernardino, a Falintil Commander, was hiding at the house to receive medical attention for an illness. He continued to experience illness in detention and on 4 April, was taken to Dili for medical treatment, returning to Lospalos the same day. Bernardino was arbitrarily detained at the Kopassus headquarters in Lospalos where he underwent interrogation and probably torture, although this is unconfirmed. It is believed Indonesian authorities denied permission for his family to visit him.(32) ETHRC sources have now confirmed that Bernardino is no longer in detention.(33)

Case 2.1.6 On 8 April, Domingos Oliveira, 26, was arrested by members of Kopassus (Special Forces Command), Rajawali forces and the police. While in detention, Oliveira was subjected to serious torture, beatings and ill-treatment during interrogation and forced to disclose the identity of six other East Timorese men who were alleged to be members of the clandestine resistance. Based on the information extracted, the six men, José da Costa, 24, Alberto da Costa, 24, Lucio de Jesus, 23, Paulo da Costa Soares, Martins Belo and Salustiano Freitas, 25, were subsequently arrested between 14 and 16 April. Salustiano Freitas was arrrested in an assault on his home during which his pregnant wife and two children were killed. (See case 1.1.3 for details). Salustiano Freitas was detained at Kopassus headquarters (Rumah Merah) in Baucau where he was subjected to torture. Freitas has since been released, however he remains under house arrest. Oliveira and the remaining five men detained by Indonesian authorities are still in detention charged under Article 1 of the Emergency Law No.12/1951 and are awaiting trial.(34)

Other cases reported to the ETHRC The ETHRC received reports of 56 other East Timorese people being arbitrarily detained. Many of these people were tortured in detention. See Appendix B for details of cases 2.1.7 to 3.1.32.

2.2 Enforced disappearances

The Centre also received reports of 20 East Timorese who disappeared at the hands of Indonesian security personnel. Unfortunately, many of the disappearance cases which were reported to the ETHRC were incomplete and it is not known whether those reported as disappeared have now been located. Lack of access to the territory for human rights organisations means that it is very difficult to obtain follow-up information about progress of cases. People reported as "disappeared" have often been arbitrarily detained at unknown locations and the vast majority of these people are released in due course. However, those that are never located are likely to have been killed. One such case is Carlos da Costa who disappeared on 10 May and is still missing, feared dead.

Case 2.2.1 On 4 January, following the execution of 4 East Timorese people in the Nunara-Bebai river in Coilima, Atabae sub-district, Bobonaro. (See case 1.1.1 for details), members of the military began to terrorize the villagers of the area. Ten villagers were arbitrarily detained and tortured (see case 2.1.1 for details) and another thirteen people from the village of Coilima were believed to have disappeared. The thirteen were: Fernando Laka, Manuel Piedade, Candido Soares, Eugenio Goncalves, Francisco Goncalves, Duarte Mau Soko, Jorge Tavares, Augusto da Cruz, Cipriano Nunes, Marcelo Tavares, Ozorio Maupelo, Americo Tavares and Quintiliano da Cruz. No further information is available about whether the thirteen people are still missing but an ETHRC source reported that at one point the families of the missing people were threatened by the military to discontinue their search for them.

Case 2.2.2 On 10 May, Carlos da Costa, 30, and Carlos da Silva, 28, were shot during an assault by three members of Kopassus, identified as Budi, Pedro and Ernesto (Team Saka), on a house in the village of Bucoli, Baucau. The assault on the Bucoli house is believed to have been related to information extracted from Armando da Silva during interrogation. (See case 3.1.6 for details). It is believed Carlos da Silva died. (See case 1.1.5 for details). Initially it was thought Carlos da Costa was also killed but more recent reports from ETHRC sources state that following the incident, Carlos da Costa disappeared and that he is still missing. The ETHRC holds grave fears that he may have been killed, or if he is still alive, that he is at grave risk of torture and ill-treatment.

Other cases reported to the ETHRC The ETHRC received reports of 4 other East Timorese people who were reported as disappeared. It is not known whether these people are still missing, but the ETHRC is continuing to investigate. See Appendix B for details of cases 2.2.3 to 2.2.5.

3. Violations of the Right to Integrity and Security of Person

Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, excessive use of force by security personnel and rape are serious violations of the rights to physical and psychological integrity of the person. In East Timor, there is, of course, a cycle of almost complete impunity for the perpetrators of these violations, as allegations are generally not investigated by the Indonesian authorities and perpetrators are not brought to justice.

3. Torture

The ETHRC continued to receive reports of East Timorese people being subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, usually in order to obtain information. These violations generally occurred in Indonesian detention centres, but there are also some cases of people being tortured or ill-treated at the time of their arrest, and others being tortured in their homes or in forest areas.

The fact that East Timorese people are tortured so frequently and systematically in Indonesian detention centres makes it clear that Indonesian authorities have failed to meet accepted international standards in respect of treatment of prisoners in detention, to which Indonesia has subscribed.(35)

In the period January to June, at least 95 East Timorese were subjected to torture and ill-treatment at the hands of security forces, both in East Timor and in Indonesia. Most of the torture cases documented below occurred while the victims were arbitrarily detained in police or military custody. Others, who were tortured have been charged under the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP), faced breaches of their right to due process.

Case 3.1.1 On 9 February, fourteen East Timorese were arrested by security personnel from Rajawali, POLRES Lautem and Kodim Lautem. It is believed they were suspected of destroying shops in Lospalos. They were arbitrarily detained at the POLRES and during their detention they were subjected to torture by the security personnel. The fourteen were identified as: Paulino Soares, 30, Angelo Ximenes, 27, Joaquim Diaz, 26, Quelmento dos Santos, 25, Adolfo dos Sntos, 26, Olivio, 23, Abilio Viana, 23, Alisio (no surname), 24, Sabilio Ximenes, 22, Duarte Fonseca, 24, Alberto Viana, 25, Joanito Ximenes, 24, Tito de Jesus, 27, and Julio Goncalves, 24.

Case 3.1.2 On 25 February, Ines Amaral and Bernardo Soares were arrested together with five other East Timorese people at a military check-point in Viqueque. It is believed Ines Amaral was suspected of carrying ammunition in a sack of rice, intended for Falintil and Bernardo Soares was suspected of being her assistant. While in detention at POLRES (the district police) in Viqueque, they were both were subjected to torture and ill-treatment and denied access to their families. Both were charged with possession of ammunition under Emergency Law No.12/1951 for illegal possession of weapons and transferred to Kaisahe prison in Baucau pending their trials.(36) Amaral has now been tried and sentenced to six months imprisonment but Soares is still in detention, awaiting trial, raising concerns that he has been denied due process. He has been detained for almost six months and the ETHRC believes he has not been brought to trial within a reasonable time. The five other detainees, José Mariano da C., Adriana de Almeida, Jermias Soares, Francisco Joaquim B. and Fernando Soares P., were arbitrarily detained but later released due to lack of evidence.

Case 3.1.3 In late February, three East Timorese students, Joćo Soares Reis, Floriano da Costa Xavier and Bernardo da Silva were arrested by members of Kopassus (Special Forces Command) and the Indonesian police. They were taken to POLRES (Police Resort) before being transferred to Becora prison in Dili. The detainees were accused of holding clandestine resistance meetings and of making contact with Falintil. While in detention at POLRES, all three men were subjected to torture and beatings. They were also denied access to their families and to legal representation, however, access has been allowed following their transfer to Becora prison.(37) It has now been confirmed that the three students were charged under the Emergency Law No.12/1951 and Articles 108 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code in relation to the alleged manufacture and possession of molotov cocktails. However the ETHRC believes that the allegations are unfounded and that the men have been detained solely for political reasons.

Case 3.1.4 On the 7 March, Salvador dos Reis Ornai from the village of Builale, south of Baucau, was travelling to work when he was intercepted by members of the BTT (territorial) and Rajawali battalions and two East Timorese informants, Mario Pinto from the village of Uaguia and Francisco das Ruas from the village of Ossu de Cima. Despite identifying himself, Salvador dos Reis Ornai was arbitrarily detained and subjected to torture. He was so seriously injured he was unconscious and was then released into the care of his family.

Case 3.1.5 At 4.00am on 2 April, members of SGI (Special Intelligence Unit) and the police assaulted a house in Hudi-Laran (a suburb of Dili) and arrested eight East Timorese men who were believed to have gathered for a clandestine resistance meeting. During the assault, one East Timorese man, Carlos Goncalves, 40, was shot in the leg. The eight men were taken to POLRES (Police Resort) headquarters in Dili for interrogation. Six of them, Marcal Amaral Magno Guterres, 26, Basilio Mendonca, 24, Elias de Araujo, 21, Joćo de Jesus, 28, Bernardo dos Santos, 23, and Alfredo Amaral, 29, were subjected to torture while being interrogated at POLRES. They were then transferred to Becora prison and were awaiting trial when authorities decided to drop all charges against them. They were released on 13 June. No information is available about the other two men, Manuel Sarmento and Antonio Freitas, but it is assumed they have also been released. It appears the eight men were targeted solely for their political activities and their right to freedom of association was denied.(38)

Case 3.1.6 On or about 10 May, members of Kopassus (Special Forces Command) in Baucau arrested Armando da Silva and took him to KODIM 1628 (District Military Command) in Baucau where he was held in incommunicado detention. Sources have confirmed that Armando da Silva was released after being subjected to torture during interrogation.(39) It is believed Armando da Silva was forced to disclose the identity of people allegedly involved in the East Timorese Clandestine Resistance, resulting in the 10 May military assault on a house in the village of Bucoli, Baucau. During the assault, one East Timorese man was killed an another disappeared and another two were seriously injured. (See cases 1.1.5 and 3.2.1 for details).

Case 3.1.7 On 12 May, Antonio da Costa, 47, and his brother Mauricio da Costa, 27, were arrested in the village of Wainiki, Baucau. It is believed the arrest occurred at 5.00am while Antonio and Mauricio were selling bread on the street. It is believed a dark "hartop" car, owned by the military, suddenly pulled up beside them and the four unidentified occupants of the car threatened the two brothers with knives. They forced the two brothers into the car and took them to Kopassus (Special Forces Command) headquarters in Baucau (the "Rumah Merah") which is reputed to be a torture centre of the Indonesian military. The two men were held in arbitrary detention for a week and released on 19 May. It is believed that during detention Antonio and Mauricio da Costa had their hands burned and were given electric shock. As a result of the torture, Antonio da Costa is experiencing difficulties with movement in his body. Both men continue to suffer from trauma due to their experience.(40)

Case 3.1.8 On 22 May, four East Timorese people were arrested and tortured following a raid on a house in the village of Seisal, Baucau, during which one man, Cosme da Silva Ximenes, was shot dead. (See case 1.1.6 for details). It is believed Francisco (no surname), 25, from Letemumu village was seriously injured and had to be hospitalised. Zelia Correia, 29, and Luis Correia, 32, the owners of the house, were beaten up and threatened at gunpoint, then taken to the office of the Commander of Sector A for interrogation. They have since returned home. Two other East Timorese, Adilson da Costa Correia, 26, Domingos Moreira, both from Mulia village, were also taken into custody. At the time of their arrest, Adilson and Domingos were beaten and tortured until they bled from the nose and mouth. They were then detained at Kopassus headquarters in Baucau where they were again subjected to torture. Adilson subsequently was released but it is believed Domingos Moreira may still be held in incommunicado detention at the Rumah Merah.

Other cases reported to the ETHRC The ETHRC also received reports of another 39 East Timorese people being tortured. Most of them were also arbitrarily detained. See Appendix B, cases 3.1.9 to 3.1.33 for details.

Report continued

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