Subject: AFP consider referral over Balibo deaths

AFP consider referral over Balibo deaths

May 26, 2008 - 1:31PM


Federal police are considering whether anyone can be prosecuted over the death of five Australian-based journalists in East Timor more than 30 years ago.

But there were numerous issues to be resolved, AFP commissioner Mick Keelty told a Senate estimates hearing.

"I can confirm that we have received a referral from the attorney-general's department in relation to the death of Brian Peters," he told a Senate estimates committee.

"We are working, obviously, on that request."

Peters, a Channel Nine cameraman, was one of five journalists known as the Balibo Five who were shot or stabbed by Indonesian troops in 1975 to cover up the invasion of East Timor.

NSW deputy coroner Dorelle Pinch, who conducted an inquiry last year into the death of Peters, recommended the federal attorney-general consider prosecuting those responsible, including military commander turned politician Yunus Yosfiah.

"I don't think it is appropriate to take it any further other than to say we are working with the department on this request," Mr Keelty said.

"Because the events are alleged to have occurred in a foreign country, there are a lot of issues about the gathering of evidence and where jurisdiction (lies), if it is possible, for any private prosecution that might take place."

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