Connect with ETAN
Like ETAN on Facebook Follow ETAN on Twitter ETAN on Google+ ETAN email listservs ETAN blog ETAN on LinkedIn ETAN on Pinterest ETAN on Instagram Donate to ETAN!

Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 17:43:08 -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


3.2 Other Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

Case 3.2.1 On 10 May, three East Timorese men were seriously injured during a military assault on a house in the village of Bucoli, Baucau. Another man was killed during the assault and a fifth man disappeared. (See case 1.1.5 above for details). 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). The injured men, Manuel Sarmento, Graciano da Silva and Manuel da Silva were taken to the Wirahusada Military Hospital in Dili. Manuel da Silva and Graciano da Silva were later released but Manuel Sarmento was taken into custody at POLRES where he is still detained, although it is believed no charges have been brought against him. He is accused of supporting Falintil and possession of ammunition and weapons.

Case 3.2.2 At 2.00pm on 2 June, around 83 prisoners at Becora prison in Dili were reported to have suffered food poisoning. It is believed the affected prisoners called for help but were ignored by prison authorities. One prisoner, Domingos da Silva, was reportedly vomiting blood. It was only at 6.15pm that night that 32 prisoners were finally taken to the local public hospital (RSUD) for treatment. There were reports that two prisoners died, however this remains unconfirmed. It is believed Indonesian authorities ordered 27 prisoners be sent back to prison even though some of them had not fully recovered and still required further treatment. Reports said that some prisoners who refused to return to prison were threatened at gunpoint by the military to comply. It is believed they were beaten, kicked at and pushed into waiting cars and taken back to the prison. Members of the Indonesian military even pulled oxygen masks off some of the sleeping patients and forced them to return to prison. Several prisoners later returned to hospital as they were still vomiting and some were even unconscious. One of them was Daniel (no surname), who had had his oxygen mask pulled off, and another prisoner, Luis Antonio Soares, had to return to hospital twice. The reason for the food poisoning remains unclear but Indonesian officials claim the food poisoning was caused by the consumption of rotten fish during lunch-time. East Timorese resistance sources claim the Indonesian authorities deliberately poisoned the food, but these allegations remain unsubstantiated.

Other cases reported to the ETHRC The ETHRC also received reports of another 7 East Timorese people being subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. See Appendix B, cases 3.2.3 to 3.2.7 for details.

3.3 Excessive Use of Force

In the first half of the year, the Indonesian military used excessive force in some situations, especially during the month of June in response to some of the protests occurring in Dili. There have also been several cases of East Timorese people being killed, injured and arrested during military assaults on houses, aimed at targeting people suspected of involvement in the clandestine resistance. In total, the ETHRC received reports of 31 East Timorese people who were injured as a result of excessive use of force.

Case 3.3.1 On 12 June, approximately 1,500 East Timorese students conducted a peaceful demonstration while occupying the Indonesian Foreign Ministry in Jakarta. The students called for a referendum, the release of East Timorese political prisoners and the implementation of UN recommendations on human rights in East Timor. During the protest, up to 1,000(41) Indonesian soldiers and police from Kopassus, Kostrad and the military police, armed with guns, rattan sticks and riot shields, violently removed the protesters from the site. Some demonstrators threw bottles, rocks and shoes at the troops but they were beaten by the soldiers and police with rattan sticks, and herded onto fifteen military buses waiting outside. They were taken to Cibubur military camp just outside Jakarta where they were detained for questioning. They were allowed to leave the following day. Many demonstrators were beaten and there were reports that some students had been stabbed with bayonets. A spokesperson for the ICRC said at least fourteen people had been injured when security forces broke up the demonstration,(42)including three women who were taken to St Carolus Hospital for treatment. Maria Fatima, 24, was vomiting blood and her nose was bleeding, Aghostinha Fonseca, 22, and Helena, 23, were both experiencing difficulties in breathing.

Case 3.3.2 On 27 June, during a clash between pro-integration and pro-independence protesters in the village of Aitais, Manatuto, six people were injured when members of Team Alfa, Team Saka, Team Makikit and Rajawali forces opened fire on the crowd in order to quell the clash. Francisco Antonio Soares, 15, and Luis Joaquim, 52, Luis de Carvalho Soares, 18 and Manuel Martins, 23, all sustained serious gunshot wounds. Antonio Soares and Luis Joaquim were taken to Toko Baru hospital in Dili and were in a serious condition in intensive care. One ETHRC source reported that Antonio Soares was still in a coma, but no further information about his condition is available.(43) Candido de C. Soares, 19, and Bernardo Jesus do Rego, 18, were also shot, but not seriously injured. Manuel Marques Soares was shot dead when he was hit by a stray bullet as he sat in front of his house. (See case 1.1.9 above for details).

Case 3.3.3 Also on 27 June, four Dili men, Domingos da Silva, 24, and Inacio da Costa Ribeiro, 23, both from Kuluhun, Marcal Soares, 26, from Comoro, and Francisco da Costa, 25, from Audian in Santa Cruz, were injured while participating in a demonstration to protest against the killing of Manuel Marques Soares by the Indonesian military. (See case 1.1.9 for details.) The 10,000 strong crowd was carrying the dead body of Manuel Marques Soares through the streets of Dili when clashes with the military broke out. The four men were tortured and stabbed with bayonets by members of the Indonesian military.

Case 3.3.4 On 29 June, it is believed Indonesian security force personnel used excessive force against a crowd of pro-independence demonstrators who had gathered at the Baucau cathedral to welcome a visiting delegation of European Union ambassadors. 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 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 (see case 1.1.10 for details) and injuring seven others. Those injured were: Cesaltino da Costa, 19, Cesarino José da Costa, 39, Aldemiro Correia, 30, Dirce Elizabeth do Rosario, 15, Maria Imaculada do Correia, 17, Adelson Ximenes Correia, 19, and João da Costa Ximenes, 20.

3.4 Rape and attempted rape

The ETHRC also received reports of 4 East Timorese women being raped by members of the Indonesian military and 3 cases of attempted rape. Rape is actually believed to be much more widespread than the small number of cases documented would indicate. This is because information about rape is particularly difficult to obtain as East Timorese women are reluctant to speak about their experiences of being raped. Despite this difficulty, the ETHRC did receive some reports of rape and attempted rape.

Case 3.4.1 At 11am on 1 May, an East Timorese woman, Rosita Gomes Pereira, was raped in her home in the hamlet of Darnei in the village of Poetete, Ermera district, by members of the Indonesian military. She was standing with her two month-old baby in her arms when the Indonesian soldiers approached her. One soldier held her from behind while another soldier lifted her skirt and proceeded to rape her. She made unsuccessful attempts to flee with her baby. It is believed the rape occurred while Mrs Pereira's husband, Domingos da Costa, was in the fields farming. It is believed the soldiers responsible were from the Lulirema military post, located at the village of Coliate in Hatolia, Ermera district.(44) Mrs Pereira made an official report about the incident to the local Catholic Church and to the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross).

Case 3.4.2 On June 1998, Jacinta Soares, 16, was raped by Sergeant II Restu, the local Babinsa , military head of Laline village, RT I/RK IV, Lacluta Sub-District. The perpetrator had targeted another woman who used to be a sex slave but because she was pregnant, Restu asked her to find another woman. The pregnant woman contacted Jacinta and invited her to her house. Jacinta was then assaulted by Restu when she arrived at the house and raped, despite her protests.

Other cases reported to the ETHRC The ETHRC also received reports of another 2 East Timorese women being raped and 3 attempted rapes. See Appendix B, cases 3.4.3 to 3.4.5.

3. Violations of the Right to Due Process

East Timorese defendants are routinely denied their right to due process, both in pre-trial and trial proceedings, under the Indonesian legal system. Often, trials also fall far short of accepted international standards for fairness. The right to due process presupposes the existence of a set of minimum guarantees such as access to the courts and to legal representation, the opportunity to plead and produce evidence before the courts, and the right to receive sentences from the court within a reasonable period of time. While some procedural guarantees are provided under the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP), these are often inadequate or are ignored by the Indonesian authorities. Moreover, fundamental rights such as the presumption of innocence, and the right to a hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal within a reasonable period of time, are not guaranteed.

The ETHRC received some reports of violations of the right to due process in the period January to June 1998. Particularly prevalent was the lack of adequate access to legal representation,(45)and cases of confessions being extracted under duress of torture.(46)

4.1 Breaches of procedural guarantees

Case 4.1.1 On 1 June the Semarang State Court in Indonesia handed down a not-guilty verdict in the trial of four East Timorese students, Domingos Natalino, 20, Joaquim Santana, 23, Fernao Pedro Malta Correia Lebre, 20, and Ivo Miranda Branco. The four students had been charged with possession of explosives and foreknowledge of a conspiracy to commit criminal acts under Emergency Law No.12/1951 but were found not-guilty due to lack of evidence. The ETHRC has welcomed the not-guilty verdict, given that the trial did not meet international standards for fairness. The proceedings breached procedural guarantees provided under the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP), both in the pre-trial proceedings and in the trial itself.

At the time of arrest on 14 September 1997, the defendants were not shown a warrant for their arrest and after they were taken to and held at the Central Java Police Headquarters in Semarang, no arrest warrant or notification of detention was sent to the defendants' respective relatives.(47) In addition, according to the defendants' relatives, their visits the defendants were severely hampered by members of the Central Java police.

During the investigation process, the four defendants were repeatedly subject to torture while under interrogation at the Semarang police headquarters, and were forced to sign prepared statements under duress of torture.(48) The four were beaten, subjected to electric shock, ordered to bite on burning cigarette butts, had their eyes sprayed with Baygon insecticide, and their faces scrubbed with a toilet brush. The accused were forced to admit to the charges brought against them and to sign the investigation procedure report which had been prepared beforehand by their interrogators. Among the security officers who are alleged to have committed these crimes are Sergeant Major Gigih Cahyono, Second Lieutenant Bambang S, Captain Nur Suhud of the Semarang police, a number of other police, and members of army intelligence.

The defendants' right to adequate legal representation was denied during the pre-trial and trial proceedings. The defendants were either completely denied effective legal aid, or when legal aid was available, the legal representatives' ability to carry out their role was obstructed.(49) During the pre-trial proceedings, at the request of the police, the defendants signed a letter authorising three local lawyers to act as their counsel. They were Saksono Yudiantoro, Supardi Sukamto and Agus Suhartoyo. These lawyers failed to attend the proceedings throughout the duration of the investigation conducted at the Semarang police headquarters. In addition, the lawyers' signatures appeared on the pre-prepared investigation procedure report which the defendants were forced to sign. Moreover, the alleged collusion of the lawyers in the police falsification of the investigation results is clearly antithetical to the ethics of legal practice.

After 12 January 1998, the defendants annulled the authorisation given to the lawyers mentioned above. From then on, the defendants were represented by members of the Indonesian Legal Aid Association (PBHI). However, during the court proceedings the defendants' rights to proper legal representation continued to be restricted. First, their access to proper representation was curtailed by the court as limitations were placed on the time allowed the PBHI lawyers to prepare the defence case. Second, the defence counsel's ability to exercise the right to free and confidential communication with the defendants was also impeded by the court.

The defendants' right to bring and examine witnesses for the defence was effectively denied. The defence counsels' request to bring two key witnesses from Dili were not met by the court. While the board of judges had agreed in principal to bringing Constancio Pinto and Paulo George Pereira from Dili to testify, this decision was not followed through. Concerns over security and lack of funds for their transportation were cited as the reasons for this omission.(50) Furthermore, the independence of the board of judges was compromised, as evidenced by the fact that their decision to bring the witnesses before the court could not be carried out.

Case 4.1.2 Three East Timorese students, João Soares Reis, Floriano da Costa Xavier and Bernardo da Silva are still in detention following their arrest in late February by members of Kopassus (Special Forces Command) and the police. The students were taken to POLRES (Police Resort) before being transferred to Becora prison in Dili. They have been accused of holding clandestine resistance meetings and of making contact with the armed East Timorese resistance. All three men were subjected to torture and beatings while in detention at POLRES. It has now been confirmed that the three men were charged in relation to the alleged manufacture and possession of molotov cocktails but the ETHRC believes the allegations are unfounded and that the men have been detained solely for political reasons. They were charged under the Emergency Law No.12/1951 and Articles 108 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code and are awaiting trial. They were initially denied access to their families and legal representation while in detention at POLRES, however, since their transfer to Becora prison they have been allowed visits from family members and their legal counsel.(51)

5. Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association

Examples of violations of freedom of expression are plentiful, despite recent improvements in East Timor. Many of the arbitrary detentions documented above occurred in response to what would be seen as legitimate expressions of political dissent under international norms. There have also been cases of violations of the rights to freedom of association with East Timorese people being targeted for associating with particular political organisations, summoned for questioning and otherwise intimidated by the authorities.

Case 5.1 On 20 April, Manuel Carrascalao and Francisco Carvalho, two leaders of the Movement for Reconciliation and Unity of the East Timorese People (Gerakan Rekonsiliasi dan Persatuan Rakyat Timor Timur or GRPRTT), were subjected to continuous interrogation for four days. Indonesian authorities confiscated symbols of the movement, office equipment and documents belonging to the organisation. Both men were being investigated for "sowing hatred against the government."(52)

Carrascalao, President of the organisation, and other GRPRTT members, have been harassed since the movement was established in October 1997. GRPRTT was formed by East Timorese leaders who were disillusioned by the level of human rights violations perpetrated by the Indonesian security forces in East Timor and the lack of participation by the East Timorese in government. The aim of the organisation is to mobilise the people of East Timor to resolve the conflict through peaceful dialogue and the organisation have been quite vocal in expressing its views. An arrest warrant for Manuel Carrascalao issued in December 1997 had not been carried out, apparently because the authorities were not in agreement about the best course of action to take against the GRPRTT.(53)

On 27 June, during the arrival of the delegation of European ambassadors at Comoro airport in Dili, a group of youths from Gardapaksi (Pro-Integration Youth Action Group) riding motorcycles, approached Manuel Carrascalão's car and vandalised it Other youths approached Carrascalão with knifes, with the intention of trying to stab him. They shouted "destroy his car" and "kill him, kill him." One youth almost managed to stab Carrascalão but injury was avoided when the village head from Comoro village intervened.



1. CNN, 20 June 1998.

2. For full details of prisoners who have been released, see report by the East Timor Human Rights Centre, East Timorese Political Prisoners, SPR 1/98, Melbourne, 23 June 1998.

3. Agence France Presse, 6 August, 1998, reported that Justice Minister Muladi announced another 75 to 100 political prisoners will be released and that some of them might be East Timorese.

4. Associated Press, 6 August 1998.

5. Lusa, 4 August 1998.

6. UN communiqué, New York, 5 August, 1998.

7. Ibid.

8. United Nations Special Committee of 24, New York, 30 June 1998, statement by José Ramos-Horta.

9. Senate Resolution 237, 105th Congress, 2nd session, 22 May 1998.

10. European Union Heads of Mission Troika Visit to East Timor, 27-30 June 1998: Conclusions, 23 July 1998.

11. The Sunday Age, 9 August 1998.

12. Reuters, 25 June 1998.

13. Jakarta Post, 10 June 1998.

14. East Timor Human Rights Centre, East Timorese Political Prisoners, Ibid.

15. Some of the prisoners who had been arbitrarily detained have since been released but most of the prisoners named in the ETHRC's report are believed to be still in detention.

16. United Nations Special Committee of 24, New York, 30 June 1998, statement by José Ramos-Horta.

17. Reuters, 25 July 1998.

18. Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture on his visit to Indonesia and East Timor, E/CN.4/1992/17/Add.1, 8 January 1992. Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial and Summary or Arbitrary Executions on his visit to Indonesia and East Timor, E/CN.4/1995/61/Add.1, 1 November 1994.

19. Report of the High Commissioner on Human Rights on his visit to Indonesia and East Timor in December 1995, E/CN.4/1996/12, 14 March 1996.

20. Resolutions were adopted in 1993 and 1997: resolution 1993/97 (E/1993/23-E/CN.4/1993/122); resolution 1997/63 (E/1997/23-E/CN.4/1993/150).

21. Statements by the Chair were negotiated in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1998.

22. Pursuant to the 1998 Statement by the Chair.

23. Pursuant to resolution 1997/63.

24. Amnesty International, East Timor: The Moment for a Comprehensive Human Rights Programme, Statement before the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, 30 June 1998.

25. Despite repeated requests, Komnas HAM has not provided any information about the investigation to the ETHRC.

26. ETHRC UA 4/98, 13 May 1998.

27. ETHRC UA 10/98, 25 June 1998.

28. South China Morning Post, 19 June, 1998.

29. Suspects must be served with a written warrant of arrest, unless they are caught 'in flagrante delicto', and their relatives must be furnished with a copy (Indonesian Criminal Code of Procedure, KUHAP Article 18). Arrests are valid for a maximum of 24 hours, after which the authorities must produce an arrest warrant or release the suspect (KUHAP Article 19).

30. Sole responsibility for arrest, detention and investigation in criminal cases rests with the police (KUHAP Article 18).

31. Amnesty International, Urgent Actions ASA Index 21/27/98 dated 24 March 1998 and ASA Index 21/32/98 dated 7 April 1998.

32. ETHRC UA 1/98, 14 April 1998 & ETHRC UA 1/98 PR, 27 May 1998.

33. ETHRC UA 1/98 PR2, 3 August 1998.

34. ETHRC UA 6/98, 20 May 1998 & ETHRC UA 6/98 PR, 5 May 1998.

35. Indonesia has subscribed to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which provides detailed guidelines in relation to punishment within the prison system. The key provision of the Rules are: "Section 30(2): No prisoner shall be punished unless he has been informed of the offence alleged against him and given a proper opportunity of presenting his defence. The competent authority shall conduct a thorough examination of the case." "Section 31: Corporal punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences."

36. ETHRC UA 8/98, 1 June 1998.

37. ETHRC UA 7/98, 27 May 1998.

38. ETHRC UA 2/98, 11 May 1998 & ETHRC UA 2/98 PR, 14 July 1998.

39. ETHRC UA 7/98, 27 May 1998 & ETHRC UA 7/98 PR, 15 July 1998.

40. ETHRC UA 5/98, 19 May 1998 & ETHRC UA 5/98 PR, 10 July 1998.

41. According to Agence France Presse, 12 June 1998, but the exact number of troops involved is unconfirmed.

42. Associated Press, 13 June 1998.

43. ETHRC UA 11/98, 1 July 1998.

44. ETHRC UA 9/98, 24 June 1998.

45. Suspects have the right to consult with and be accompanied by legal counsel of their own choice at all stages of interrogation (KUHAP Articles 54,55,57). Detainees have the right to ongoing access to their lawyers throughout the trial process (KUHAP Articles 54,56). Legal counsel should be free to meet and speak in confidence with their clients (KUHAP Articles 70, 71).

46. Duress in any form may not be used by investigating officials to obtain information from a suspect or witness. (KUHAP Article 117).

47. Breach of KUHAP Articles 18 and 19. Suspects must be served with a written warrant of arrest, unless they are caught 'in flagrante delicto', and their relatives must be furnished with a copy (Article 18). Arrests are valid for a maximum of 24 hours, after which the authorities must produce an arrest warrant or release the suspect (Article 19).

48. Breach of KUHAP Article 117.

49. Breaches KUHAP Articles 54, 55, 56, 57, 70, 71 which guarantee adequate legal representation.

50. Breach of KUHAP Articles 240 and 253.

51. ETHRC UA 7/98, 27 May 1998.

52. Associated Press, 17 April 1998.

53. For further details see report by the ETHRC, Breaking the Cycle of Human Rights Violations in East Timor: Annual Report of Human Rights Violations in East Timor 1997, February 17, 1998, Melbourne, Ref: SR 3/97, page 31.

Please contact the ETHRC on for a copy of the appendix tabling other cases of human rights violations reported to the ETHRC.

Back to August Menu
Back to Main Postings Menu