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Subject: Call to Habibie; 'protect East Timorese'
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 00:01:27 +1000
From: (Geoffrey Heard)

União Democrática Timorense

For immediate release: 10 pm AEST, Thursday 25/6/98
Call to Habibie; 'protect East Timorese'

SYDNEY: East Timorese supporters of the right to self-determination and freedom in Dili fear for their lives tonight as the Indonesian army and pro-integrationists prepare for a major show of force in Dili tomorrow. It's been reported from Dili tonight that guns are being distributed to pro-integrationists - supporters of the current governor of East Timor, Abilio Osório Soares, who favour the integration of East Timor into Indonesia, ahead of what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration tomorrow.

It's understood the demonstrators, backed by the army, will be demanding East Timorese sign declarations that they support the integration of East Timor into Indonesia.

World-wide President of the Timorese Democratic Union party, UDT, Mr João Carrascalão, tonight called on the international community to bring urgent pressure to bear on Indonesia's President Habibie to protect East Timorese and defuse the potentially explosive situation."

President Habibie has his East Timor peace commission going with support from the opposition parties in East Timor. They are talking about autonomy for East Timor.

"But on the ground, the President's army is running its own hard line, integrationist agenda, is arming civilian supporters of Indonesia, and appears to be running an agenda designed to scuttle the peace commission's work.

"Who is in charge? Is President Habibie really the leader of Indonesia, or is he some lame duck front man for the murderous beasts of the army? "If President Habibie is the real leader of Indonesia, he should be ordering his army to keep off the streets. He should be ordering them to their barracks. He should be ordering them to withdraw arms handed out to Apodeti and other pro-integrationist civilians.

"He should be guaranteeing the safety and security of people on all sides of politics in East Timor. "In particular, he should be guaranteeing the security of those East Timorese leaders who signed the 13 October declaration last year of the Movement for Reconciliation and Unity for the Liberation of East Timor, and others who oppose integration.

"We of UDT have no problem at all with political demonstrations. We have no problem with opposing views. But we do have a big problem with orchestrated, Indonesian Government run shows of force by the Indonesian army and its armed supporters, subversion of the self-determination process, and overt threats to innocent people."

Signatories to the declaration of the Movement for Reconciliation and Unity for the Liberation of East Timor include Manuel Carrascalão, Maria do Carmo Quintao, Paulo Freitas da Silva, João Petro Soares, Francisco Lopes de Carvalho, Leandro Isaac and Aleixo Ximenes. Several of them were questioned at length by Indonesian authorities recently, and their fax machines, which they used for contact with the outside world, were confiscated.

In recent weeks, a a hate leaflet has been circulating in Dili carrying Manuel Carrascalão's picture, labelling him a traitor, and calling for him to be assassinated. The rangy, 65-year-old businessman, whose family provided safe haven to Australian commandos during World War II, says he does not want to die, but if he is killed, "I will have died for a free East Timor".

A former member of the East Timor Regional Assembly under Indonesian rule, Manuel Carrascalão said he was moved to sign the liberation document because "after 22 years of continuous brutality, it was clear that Indonesian repression in East Timor would never end". "We are just sick and tired of it. We are strangers in our own country, treated as second class citizens, unable to say what we think or do what we want to do without attracting some reaction from the Indonesian army. "People disappear. Sometimes they just disappear. At other times they are arrested and disappear, or the word comes back that they suffered a heart attack or a fatal accident while in jail. "Lucky ones reappear - but their scars tell the tale of the kind of 'accident' they met with while in custody. "I hope that doesn't happen to me, but if it does, I will have died for a free East Timor."

FURTHER INFORMATION: João Carrascalão, President, UDT +61 2 9823 5616 0418 767 101 Issued on behalf of UDT by Geoffrey Heard & Associates Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - +61 3 9583 0788

Best regards Geoff