Subject: More Inmates Join Hunger Strike for Release of E.Timor Leader
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 17:24:17 +0100 (BST)
From: (TAPOL)

Force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike should be vigorously condemned as a serious violation of their rights. It may also be an infringement of UN Minimum Standards, which we are now checking. Carmel

More inmates join hunger strike for release of East Timor rebel leader

Tue 08 Sep 98 - 03:25 GMT

JAKARTA, Sept 8 (AFP) - At least 10 inmates of an East Timor jail have joined 14 others on hunger strike for more than a week demanding the release of rebel leader Xanana Gusmao, an official said Tuesday.

"Twenty-four inmates are on a hunger strike and they are now being treated at the policlinic in the prison," Jeff Siathen, a jail warden at the Becora state prison in the East Timor capital of Dili, told AFP by telephone.

Siathen said the 24 inmates whom he did not identify were being fed intravenously by the doctor as they have refused to drink or eat.

Another warden contacted later who declined to be identified told AFP two inmates had been taken to Dili's Wirahusada military hospital but they had since returned to the jail and persisted to continue their hunger strike.

"More prisoners are joining the act," the guard said.

Last week Becora confirmed that 14 prisoners had gone on hunger strike since August 31.

Gusmao is serving a 20-year term in Jakarta's Cipinang prison. He was captured in 1992 and later jailed for life for plotting against the state and possession of weapons. But former president Suharto later commuted his sentence.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1975 and annexed the territory a year later in a move never recognized by the United Nations and most states.

UN-sponsored talks between Jakarta and Lisbon, which severed ties with Indonesia shortly after the invasion, to seek a settlement over East Timor have dragged on since 1983.

Since the fall of Suharto on May 21, the new Indonesian government has released about 70 political prisoners, including East Timorese, but excluding Gusmao.

Jakarta has said it was only willing to free Gusmao, 52, as part of an acceptable solution in East Timor.

It has also offered to grant autonomy to the territory in return for international recognition of Indonesian sovereignty.

Gusmao has insisted Indonesia must allow a self-determination referendum in East Timor.

Indonesia and Portugal are currently discussing Jakarta's proposal for autonomy.

TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322 email: Campaigning to expose human rights violations in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh

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