Subject: No way to keep alleged East Timor torturer in Australia

September 10, 2009 Thursday

Canberra Times (Australia)

No way to keep alleged East Timor torturer in Australia

BYLINE: Philip Dorling; National Affairs Correspondent

The Federal Government has conceded an East Timorese man may leave Australia before the Federal Police have finalised an investigation of his alleged involvement in torture and war crimes during Indonesia's occupation of Timor Leste.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland yesterday confirmed the Australian Federal Police were actively investigating allegations concerning Guy Campos in East Timor during the 1990s. However "only preliminary material has been provided to the [Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions]". Mr McClelland's advice, contained in a letter sent yesterday to Australian Greens leader Senator Bob Brown, is at odds with sources close to the Federal Police investigation, who say that a detailed brief of evidence was provided to the Director of Public Prosecutions some weeks ago and that the DPP had sought supplementary material to build "as robust a brief as possible".

Mr Campos, 55, who arrived in Australia in the middle of last year on a World Youth Day visa, faces the prospect of deportation after his current bridging visa expires on September 18. He has been accused of involvement in the torture of pro- independence East Timorese activists in the early to mid-1990s.

Among those who claim Mr Campos was complicit in their torture at the Indonesian military intelligence's headquarters in Dili are activist and author Naldo Rei, and prominent East Timorese journalist Jose Antonio Belo, who was a student at the University of East Timor at the time.

The Federal Police began to investigate Mr Campos in relation to possible offences under Australia's anti-torture and war crimes laws after members of Sydney's East Timorese community raised concerns about his presence in Australia.

It is understood Mr Campos is presently making arrangements to leave Australia for Indonesia before September 18.

In his letter to Senator Brown, Mr McClelland said the Department of Immigration and Citizenship "is not authorised to detain people on the basis that the Australian Federal Police is investigating them, and that they may face criminal charges".

Senator Brown yesterday moved a Senate motion calling on the Government "to ensure alleged war criminal Guy Campos remains in Australia until investigations into the allegations about his actions in occupied Timor Leste are completely finalised".

Back to September Menu

World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu