Subject: ETHRC Annual Report: Part 2
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 1999 17:45:59 -1000
From: ethrc <>

continued from part 1...


In the period July to December 1998, East Timorese people were subjected to extrajudicial execution, arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment, disappearances, rape and unfair trials, as well as facing restrictions of freedom of expression and association. This report is not a comprehensive account of all violations during this period but is based on information reported to the ETHRC.

The violations are clear breaches of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the government of Indonesia has endorsed through its membership of the United Nations. They also constitute violations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Although these instruments have not been ratified by the government of Indonesia, they represent the widely accepted standards within the international community.


1.1 Extrajudicial Execution

During the period covered by this report, the ETHRC received 35 reports of violations of the right to life perpetrated against East Timorese people, of which 28 were extrajudicial executions and 7 were attempted extrajudicial executions. Indonesian security force personnel are believed to be responsible for most of the executions but civilians are also responsible for some killings.

For the vast majority of the cases perpetrated by the Indonesian military, the government of Indonesia has undertaken no investigations and the perpetrators have not been brought to trial or punished. Of particular concern is the fact that there has not been a full and impartial investigation into the violations committed during the military operations in November in the Alas subdistrict, which is believed to have resulted in up to fifty East Timorese civilians being killed by Indonesian military personnel. Given the seriousness of the allegations, the ETHRC believes such an investigation should be carried out but an independent, international expert, who should ideally be a representative of the United Nations.

Case 1.1.1

On 2 April, Domingos Amandio, 43, Domingas da Costa, 39, and their eighteen month old daughter, Maria da Costa, were shot dead in their home in Garuai village, Baucau district. According to ETHRC sources, three unidentified men approached Amandio's house at approximately 1 p.m. While two of the men waited outside, the third entered the house under the pretence of buying some kerosene. The man then shot Amandio dead as he turned to fetch the kerosene. The same man then shot Amandio's wife and their young daughter who was being held in her mother's arms. Both died instantly.

While the perpetrators are unknown, the killings are believed to be politically motivated. There are two conflicting versions of the incident: the first version is that the Indonesian military is responsible for the killings while the second version is that the East Timorese Resistance is responsible (see case 7.1 for details). The ETHRC has not been able to confirm which version is correct and has therefore called for a full and impartial investigation.

Case 1.1.2

On 10 May, Carlos da Costa, 30, was killed during a military assault on a house in the village of Bucoli, Baucau district. Carlos da Costa was previously reported by the ETHRC as disappeared(14) but ETHRC sources have now confirmed that Carlos da Costa was shot dead during the assault.

Case 1.1.3

On 3 June, Januario da Costa Ximenes, was stabbed to death by Private (first class) Lucio da Costa in Soba village, Laga subdistrict, Baucau. The victim was returning home from community service work with youths from "Mudika", a Catholic youth group, when he was called by his aunt, Lucia da Costa, wife of Lucio da Costa, to follow her to her home. At approximately 7 p.m., Lucio da Costa arrived at the house, and upon seeing the victim immediately attacked him with a knife, stabbing him repeatedly. Januario Da Costa Ximenes died instantly. The perpetrator then turned himself in to Polsek, Laga. He is now in detention at the Baucau Military Police headquarters. It is alleged that the victim had had a sexual relationship with Lucio da Costa's daughter.

Case 1.1.4

On 24 September, junior high school student, Castro Ribeiro, 16, of Baurah hamlet, Leorema village, Bazartete subdistrict, was stabbed to death by a number of civilians in Lebuae hamlet, Darulete village, Liquica district. It is believed that Castro Ribeiro's murder was instigated by the head of Lebuae hamlet, and local Gadapaksi militia chief, Carlos Melo, who suspected Ribeiro of involvement in the clandestine resistance movement.

Two of the civilians suspected of direct involvement in the killing, are Agustinho Almeida, a classmate of the victim, and Agustinho's father, Jose Almeida. After interrogation of these suspects by police investigators from Polres Liquica, the body of the victim was located and disinterred. The subsequent examination of the body revealed multiple stab wounds to the torso, and cuts to the forehead and neck, caused by blows delivered with a metal object, as well as multiple fractures of the limbs. Agustinho Almeida is now being tried for murder under Indonesian criminal law. Carlos Melo, Jose Almeida and two others, Jose Leonardo and Eugebio Almeida, are being tried for concealment of a crime, and are currently under house arrest.

Case 1.1.5

On 24 September, Anastacia de Assuncao,18, of Assalaino village, Lautem district, was killed on her way home from school.(15) Anastacia was last seen getting a lift home from school on a motorcycle. The driver and prime suspect was identified as Damiaun, a member of the paramilitary group, Team Alpha. Local police concluded that Anastacia's death was accidental and that she sustained head and neck injuries when she fell from the motorcycle. Damiaun was convicted of contributing to Anastacia's death as the driver of the motorcycle (KUHP Articles 359 and 360) and was sentenced to one and a half years imprisonment.

ETHRC sources claimed that Anastacia was, in fact, killed by the suspect because of her family connections with members of the armed resistance. It is believed she was the niece of a local Falintil commander. Sources also suspected that the victim may have been raped and that there was inadequate investigation of the case. No autopsy was conducted and the victim's body was buried two days after the incident.

Case 1.1.6

In November, the people of Alas subdistrict, Manufahi district, in the south of East Timor, experienced a marked escalation of violations which took place in the context of an intensive military operation aimed at finding those responsible for attacks against ABRI members in the area. The first attack against ABRI took place on 29 October at a political meeting at Weberek and resulted in the killing of three Indonesian soldiers and a civilian by members of Falintil (see case 7.2 for details). The second attack took place on 9 November when members of Falintil and East Timorese civilians assaulted a military command post in Alas. Three ABRI soldiers were killed, another thirteen taken captive, and a large cache of rifles and ammunition was taken. Eleven of the captives were subsequently released. It is believed the remaining two decided to join the Resistance.

In the military crackdown that followed, serious violations were committed by ABRI personnel in the Alas area, including extra-judicial executions, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill treatment, and sexual abuse. According to ETHRC sources, the ABRI forces responsible for the military operation and for the many human rights violations that were perpetrated included personnel from battalions 315, 744, 745, Marine forces, Garuda Penculik, Black Horse Mobile Brigade and Hansip.

Between 9 and 16 November, it is believed up to fifty East Timorese people were killed by ABRI personnel in what local sources have described as a "massacre". Many others were arrested and arbitrarily detained (see case 2.1.12 for details) with some detainees being subjected to torture and ill-treatment (see cases 3.1.5 and 3.1.6 for details). Numerous others became victims of random acts of violence committed by military personnel (see case 3.2.6 for details). Two young East Timorese women were also subjected to sexual abuse and harassment in addition to being repeatedly beaten by military personnel (see case 3.3.2 for details).

Reports of a massacre taking place in the Alas subdistrict were called into question by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).(16) The ICRC delegate who was sent to the area said only four people had been killed, 13 detained, and some property destroyed. However local human rights NGOs have expressed doubts about the ICRC's findings, given that it is not a human rights organisation and does not have expertise in fact-finding. The ICRC also operates under strict requirements of confidentiality. It appears that the limited investigation undertaken by the ICRC was done under the scrutiny of the Indonesian military and it is unlikely the local population would have felt free to disclose any information they may have about the alleged killings.

The local population was certainly living in great fear, as evidenced by the fact that many villagers fled to the surrounding forest areas for safety. Others took refuge at their local Catholic parishes and some sought refuge in Dili. Those villagers who remained at home faced a critical shortage of food and water as ABRI was controlling the food supply and it is believed the military also destroyed the water pipeline. Access into the Alas subdistrict was forbidden and roads were blocked to prevent access by outsiders. According to some reports, soldiers also burnt thirty homes belonging to the East Timorese who were arrested or killed in the attack.

The number of people actually killed in the crackdown remains unclear as local human rights organisations have faced great difficulties in obtaining accurate information about the incident because of restriction on access to the Alas area. However, the ETHRC has received details of nineteen people who, it is believed, were killed during the operation.

On or about 9 November, Felipe (no surname) and four other unidentified civilians were summarily executed. It is believed the victims were arbitrarily arrested in Alas and taken away in a military truck. When the truck bearing the detainees arrived at the Dotik military post, one of the five, Felipe, was taken behind the military post and killed with an axe until his body was mutilated. He was buried at the same site and the burial was witnessed by a member of the Catholic Church. The perpetrator is believed to be Chiquito, a member of military intelligence. The other four were shot dead and their bodies buried in different locations, one at the Becucu military post, and another at Motakelan military post. The location of the two other bodies is unknown.(17)

On 13 November, ABRI forces attacked the village of Taitudak, arresting Vicente Xavier, the village chief, and four other unidentified young people. They were taken to the village of Barike where they were shot dead by military personnel. In a report from the Dili-based newspaper Suara Timor Timur, the Indonesian military chief of East Timor, Colonel Tono Suratman, confirmed the death of Vicente Xavier, claiming that the village chief had been one of the masterminds behind the Falintil attacks on the military.

In a later report to the ETHRC, nine people, believed to have been killed, were identified. They were: Guilhermino Goncalves, 40, killed by BTT 744; Agusto da Costa, 38, of Dalan village, Tutuluro subdistrict, killed by BTT 744; Adriano Fernandes, 27, of Taitudak village; Antonio Rebelo of Mahakidan village; Egidio da Costa, 23 of Taitudak village; Fransisco Xavier (alias Angelito) of Turiscai, killed by members of Koramil and a combined unit; Martino Barreto, 24, of Turiscai, killed by combined unit of battalions 745, 744 and Koramil troops; Mateus Manu Bereliku, 48, and Luis Fatima Soares, 25, both of Mindelo village, Tuirscai, killed by battalions 745, 744 and Koramil troops from Turiscai. It is not clear whether some of the nine identified victims were amongst those earlier reported as killed but unidentified.

Case 1.1.7

At 8.00am on 2 December, Fransisco Carvalho, of Mata-Hui village, was shot dead by two unidentified men as he was teaching at the Uato-Lari local school, Viqueue district. A Catholic nun and other teaching staff present at the school were also threatened by the men. The incident was reported immediately to the local Koramil post, however a pursuit of the perpetrators was not conducted until 11.00am. Spent cartridges taken from the site of the incident have been identified as originating from M-16 rifles. It is believed the Indonesian military is responsible for the death of Francisco Carvalho. As far as the ETHRC is aware, there has been no investigation of the killing.

Case 1.1.8

On 10 December, it is believed an East Timorese man was killed by ABRI personnel and civilian collaborators belonging to a paramilitary group. The ETHRC has not been able to confirm the identity of the victim who was buried on 12 December. The killing was part of the intensive military operation in the Cailaco area in late November and early December, intended to find those responsible for the 27 November killing of two members of ABRI (see case 2.2.13 for details).

Case 1.1.9

On 3 January 1999, in the Ainaro subdistrict, eight East Timorese youths were shot and attacked with machetes by members of the "Mahidin" (Life or Death with Integration) civilian militia group. Two of the youths, Julio (no surname), 24, and Reinaldo (no surname), 23, were killed and another six sustained serious injuries (see case 3.2.8 for details).

It is believed the violence started when members of Mahidin shot at two youths, at the Mahidin headquarters in the village of Munatasi, Ainaro subdistrict (see case 3.2.8 for details). The two youths went to tell a group youths what had happened and the group immediately set out for the Mahidin headquarters, intending to stage a counter-attack. However, en route, the youths were confronted by armed Mahidin personnel who immediately opened fire on them. Reinaldo and Julio both died instantly and the other six sustained serious gunshot wounds.

Those directly responsible for the killings are believed to include Joao Baptista, Jose Perreira and Celesatino, under the leadership of Cancio Lopes de Carvalho, head of the local Mahidin militia.

1.2 Attempted Extrajudicial Execution

Case 1.2.1

On 30 July, student activist Pedro Araujo was shot by three plain-clothed members of the military outside his home in the suburb of Bairo-Pite, Dili. The attempted execution was witnessed by Araujo's uncle, Francisco Araujo, who was present in the house at the time. It is believed the perpetrators asked the police to take away the body immediately after the shooting. According to sources, Pedro Araujo survived the shooting and was treated at Wirahusada military hospital, Dili.

Case 1.2.2

On 30 November, six civilians were shot at by members of BTT 144, SGI and the Halilintar paramilitary in the Sare area on the border of Cailaco and Atabae subdistricts and the Ermera district. They were identified as Alfonso Goveia, 28, Domingos Cardoso, 30, Alexandrino Nesi, 28, Carlos Soares, 24, Alberto Lacobebi, 25, and Santiago (no surname), 30.

It is believed the attempted executions were connected with the hunt for the killers of two ABRI personnel in Cailaco on 27 November (see case 2.1.13 for details). Since the 27 November killings, East Timorese civilians in Cailaco have been repeatedly terrorised by the military.


During the period covered by this report, the ETHRC received 150 reports of violations of the rights to individual liberty against East Timorese people, including 149 East Timorese people who were arbitrarily detained and one person who disappeared. The ETHRC also received further information about several disappearance cases from earlier periods. Some of the information obtained alleges that the "disappeared" people were in fact killed, but these reports are very difficult to confirm.

Once again, the vast majority of allegations have not been investigated and the perpetrators have not been brought to trial or punished, highlighting the fact that members of the Indonesian security forces enjoy almost complete impunity for violations perpetrated against East Timorese people.

2.1 Arbitrary Detention

As the statistics indicate, arbitrary detention is a frequent practice is East Timor. The detentions documented here were arbitrary by accepted international standards but Indonesian authorities also failed to comply with standards under their own legal system. Suspects were invariably arrested without warrants,(18) they were often arrested by the military or civilian militia, rather than by police, as required under Indonesian law,(19) and they were not charged and brought to trial within the proper time required by law.

Case 2.1.1

On 13 July, Eusebio Ximenes, 22, and Salvador Carvalho, 24, were arrested by members of SGI, Rajawali, BTT 512, Yonif 744 and Police in Bairo Economico hamlet, Santa Cruz village, East Dili. They were suspected of their involvement in damaging the governor's office during a funeral procession. The two were taken to Polres Dili and then transferred to Polsek West Dili. Carvalho was held for three days before being released. Ximenes was also subsequently released.

Case 2.1.2

On 13 July, at 11 p.m., Fransisco da Cruz, 22, along with two other unidentified youths, were arbitrarily arrested by military personnel, while the youths were standing guard in Hudi Laran, Bairo Pite village, West Dili, against anticipated attacks by "Ninjas". Ninjas are roving gangs of masked or hooded men, hired by the Indonesian military to intimidate independence supporters, often by conducting night-time raids on their homes.

Upon arrest, the three youths were subjected to severe beatings and taken away in a military truck. They were detained for several days at Polres Dili before being released. While the victims were in detention their families were not informed of their whereabouts and they had no access to legal representation.

Case 2.1.3

On 14 July, three East Timorese civilians, Augusto da Silva, 19, Herminio (no surname), 35, and Augusto (no surname), 25, were arbitrarily arrested by members of SGI, Kodim Bobonaro, the police, Brimob and the locally raised paramilitary group, Halilintar. Augusto da Silva was arrested in Dato Kota hamlet, Balibo village, Bobonaro District, while Herminio and Augusto were both arrested in Leohitu village, Balibo subdistrict. All three were arrested at night. The men were suspected of taking part in pro-referendum rallies and were interrogated as part of an effort by the military to obtain information regarding the organisers of the rallies. The men were arbitrarily detained at Kodim Bobonaro and released the following day.

Case 2.1.4

On 14 July, Fransisco (no surname) was arbitrarily arrested in Maubara, Liquica district, by members of Kodim Liquica 1638 and Koramil Maubara 03, while travelling on a bus en route from Suai to Dili.(20) It is believed that the arrest was made as part of the operation conducted by the military to prevent demonstrations against Integration Day, the official commemoration of Indonesia's formal annexation of East Timor on 17 July. Francisco was detained at Kodim Liquica and subjected to torture. Sources who visited him reported that, as a result of the torture, his face was disfigured to the point of being almost unrecognisable.

On 18 July, Fransisco was taken away in a Kijang vehicle to Maubara where, it is alleged, security forces intended to kill him. However, in Maubara, Fransisco is believed to have screamed for help and attracted the attention of a crowd who had gathered at a nearby house for a funeral. When people in the crowd tried to assist him, it is believed the military decided to take Fransisco back to Kodim headquarters in Liquica. It is believed he may still be held there in incommunicado detention, although this remains unconfirmed.

The perpetrators of Fransisco's arrest and torture have been identified as East Timorese members of the Indonesian military: Antonio Andrade, Administrative section head of Kodim 1638 Liquica, Tome Diogo, Chief of SGI for Kodim 1638 Liquica, Jacinto (no surname) from Kodim Liquica, Chico Buti, Teofilo (no surname) and Antonio Gomes from Koramil 03 Maubara.

Case 2.1.5

On 24 July, Nuno Lopes Soares Gama, 25, was shot at, stabbed in the stomach with a bayonet, beaten and trodden on by members of the police and military during an operation in the area of the Comoro market. The victim was then arbitrarily arrested and his family was not informed of his arrest. According to the head of the Dili Police Information Service, Captain Widodo, Nuno Gama was suspected of the theft of a motorbike, last seen in the vicinity of the Comoro market. He was detained at the Wirahusada military hospital, and was subsequently released.

Case 2.1.6

On 27 July, four East Timorese youths, Carlito Xavier, 17, Nuno Borges, 20, Fernando Pereira, 20, and Justino de Araujo, 22, were arbitrarily arrested by members of a police pioneer unit at Delta housing complex, Comoro village, West Dili. The four were arrested under suspicion of involvement in the clandestine resistance movement. They were transported by car to Polda, Dili, where they were arbitrarily detained. While en route to Polda the youths were beaten up. The victims were subsequently released.

Case 2.1.7

On 30 September four East Timorese youths, Marcos Belo, Agapito Belo, Carlos Pinto Belo and Ernesto Amaral Belo, were arbitrarily arrested during a military operation in the hamlet of Kaisida, 10 kilometres from the city of Baucau.(21) The military operation was conducted at about 9.00am by an Indonesian Air Force unit from Lanud Baucau, the military airport. The military forces attacked seven houses in the hamlet, arrested the four East Timorese men and confiscated personal property belonging to residents of the hamlet including shoes, hats, knives and cassette recordings and documents relating to clandestine resistance activities.

The four detainees were taken to the Air Force headquarters at Lanud Baucau where they were interrogated and, it is believed, subjected to torture. They were accused of stealing an electric cable. However, it is believed the real reason for their arrest was that they were suspected of being members of the Clandestine Resistance, and that they had participated in public forums to discuss East Timor's future.

Three of the men, Agapito Belo, Carlos Pinto Belo, Ernesto Amaral Belo, were released after 12 hours. Marcos Belo was also subsequently released.(22) Given the circumstances, the ETHRC is concerned that the men were targeted solely for their non-violent political activities.

Case 2.1.8

Between 1 and 3 October, seven civilians are believed to have been arbitrarily arrested in the village of Uailori, Viqueque district, in an orchestrated military operation by troops from Battalion 646. Their names are as follows: Gregorio Da Costa, Domingos Da Costa, Abel Funu Mau, Manuel Zunga, Fernando Da Cruz, Sertorio da Costa, Julio Ximenes. It is not known whether the victims have since been released or are still being held.

Case 2.1.9

On 10 October, Manuel Mendonca, Anito Goncalves and Gergio Amaral were arbitrarily arrested by the military in Sukabilaran hamlet, Suai Loro village, Debos subdistrict, Suai. The arrest occurred after the three had been involved in a brawl with other civilians belonging to the Gadapaksi militia, in the border area of Belu district, West Timor. The men were detained at Polres Suai, and were then transferred to prison in Atambua, West Timor. After lengthy arbitrary detention, the three were released in November.

Case 2.1.10

On 19 October, high school student Salvador Gomes was arbitrarily arrested by a group of ten military personnel in Matadoro hamlet, Vila Verde village, West Dili. In the presence of his friends, the youth was stepped on and threatened with a pistol and forced into the vehicle driven by the perpetrators. He was then taken to Polres, Dili, where it is believed he was arbitrarily detained. It is believed that the victim was suspected of involvement in protests against the stabbing of an East Timorese university student in Kupang, West Timor.

Case 2.1.11

On 10 November, Jacinto Lobato, 28, Ernesto Gaspar, 27, Domingos Martins, 28, and Julio Soares, 26, all of Laumata village, Atabae subdistrict, were arbitrarily arrested by members of Territorial Battalion 144 and the Halilintar paramilitary. It is believed that the victims were temporarily held at the local military post. The five were interrogated and severely beaten before being allowed to return to their homes. It is believed they were suspected of participating in a political dialogue held in Atabae on 8 November. In the circumstances, it appears the men were detained solely for expressing their political views.

Case 2.1.12

In connection with the ABRI attack on the Alas subdistrict beginning on 9 November (see case 1.1.6 for details), large numbers of East Timorese civilians were arbitrarily detained, including some who were subjected to torture and ill-treatment (see case 3.1.6 for details). Up to fifty others are believed to have been killed (see case 1.1.6 for details) and numerous others became victims of random acts of violence committed by the military (see case 3.2.6 for details). Two young women were sexually abused and beaten by ABRI personnel (see case 3.3.2 for details).

The ETHRC received reports detailing the names of 40 who were arbitrarily arrested and detained. Of this number, ten were arrested on 16 November by members of Kopassus in their homes in the villages of Taitudak and Betanu: Acacio Conceicao, Hermenegildo (no surname), S. Alves, Alvitu (no surname), Bensiol da Costa, Cursius da Costa, Duarte da Costa Fernandes, Jako'o (no surname), Januario da Costa Franco and Tobias Amaral. It is not known whether they are still in detention because of difficulties in obtaining information from the Alas area.

Another five East Timorese people, believed to have been arbitrarily detained, were identified by CNRT in Dili: Eduardo Magalhaes, Selcio Magalhaes, Victor da Costa, Miguel da Costa and Jaime da Costa. It is believed the five were suspected of having links with Falintil. No further information is available.

The names of another eleven people believed to have been arbitrarily arrested were reported to the ETHRC by local sources: Adroaldo Marques, Albino Fernandes, Antonio Xavier, Augusto Fernandes, Corcino da Costa, Joao Corte-Real, Joao Pachero, Luis Corte-Real, Mateus Tilman, Sancha Maria (female), Vicente (no surname). Again, no further information is available.

Amnesty International reported that a further 36 East Timorese families were arbitrarily detained by the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) at Dotik village.(23) It is believed the families were taken into custody in an attempt by the military to force them to reveal the identities of others in the village who had allegedly taken part in the 9 November attack on the Alas military base. The families were detained for at least two weeks and access to the families is believed to have been restricted.

Case 2.1.13

Between late November and early December, numerous East Timorese youths were arrested during an intensive military operation in the Cailaco subdistrict, Bobonaro district, launched on 27 November. The detainees who were reported to the ETHRC were all subjected to torture and ill-treatment (see case 3.1.7 for details). It is believed the operation was conducted in order to find those responsible for the 27 November killing in Cailaco of two members of ABRI. One of the security force personnel responsible for the arrests has been identified as Paulo Goncalves.

One group of eight youths were arbitrarily arrested on 27 November by members of BTT 144, Halilintar, Kodim and SGI, at their homes in the village of Aidabaleten, Atabae subdistrict. The youths were all subjected to torture and ill-treatment (see case 3.1.7 for details). Of the group, seven have since been released but Agostinho Pereira da Silva, remains in arbitrary detention at Polres Bobonaro. It is believed da Silva is being kept in detention because he admitted to having contact with members of Falintil.

On 24 December, ETHRC sources reported that approximately 250 civilians who had fled from the military onslaught in the Cailaco area, were taking refuge in Dili, under the auspices of KONTRAS, a local human rights organization. Others fled to the Maliana parish priest for refuge.

In addition, twelve others from the villages of Daudu, Saehae, Marko and Kauloko reported that money and valuables were taken from their homes during the military operation: Jose Paulelo (Rp 180,000), Paul Ximenes (Rp 240,000), Julio Viana (10 eggs), Iria Caibui (1 carton cigarettes), Joaquim Ximenes (1 Seiko watch), Rofino Soares (1 chicken), Feliciano Martins (Rp10,000), Carlos Antonio (Rp10,000), Frederici Lopes (Rp800,000), Anita Soares (Rp 500,000 and a sack of gold), Cemeido Tavares (Rp 500,000 and a sack of gold) and Gusmao Oliveira Mota (Rp 500,000).

Other cases reported to the ETHRC

See cases 2.1.14 to 2.1.20 in Appendix A for additional cases.

2.2 Enforced Disappearances

In the first half of 1998, the ETHRC received reports of 20 East Timorese who disappeared at the hands of Indonesian security personnel.(24) This report includes one additional case of disappearance from the first half of the year. Disappearance cases which were reported to the ETHRC in the second half of the year have not been included in this report as the information received was incomplete and it is not known whether those reported as disappeared have now been located. Lack of access to the territory for human rights organisations means that it is very difficult to obtain follow-up information about the progress of cases. People reported as "disappeared" have often been arbitrarily detained at unknown locations and the vast majority of these people are released in due course. However, those who are never located are likely to have been killed.

Further information about several disappearance cases from earlier periods is also included in this report. Unfortunately, some of the information obtained alleges that the disappeared people were in fact killed, but these reports are very difficult to confirm.

Case 2.2.1

On 2 February, Fernando Barreto was arrested in Cailaco village, Bobonaro district, allegedly by members of Kopassus. His current whereabouts is unknown.(25)

Case 2.2.2

Felisberto Maria dos Santos, 44, alias Sole-Solep, who was arrested and detained with Domingos Laranjeira, 36, Jose Sobral, 40, and Marcelino Fatima dos Santos, 29, by plain-clothed SGI personnel on 30 March 1997, is believed to be still missing.(26) According to sources Felisberto was suspected of belonging to Falintil, while the other three men were suspected of involvement in the clandestine resistance. The other three men are confirmed to have been released.(27)

According to an unconfirmed report, Felisberto may have died under torture in one of the military torture centres in Dili or Baucau. It was reported that he was tortured to death while being hung upside down.

Case 2.2.3

The whereabouts of Joao Guterres, 29, reported missing following his arrest on 15 May 1997, in Baucau district, is still unknown.(28) An ETHRC source later reported Joao Guterres to be in detention at Battalion 744 headquarters in Taibessi, Dili, where he was subjected to torture.(29) It was reported that he is being detained in a dark cell where East Timorese prisoners, who are going to be killed, are kept. Two unidentified East Timorese people were also reported to have been arrested and detained with Joao Guterres in the same cell.

According to a further unconfirmed report, Joao Guterres may have been killed in detention.

Case 2.2.4

The whereabouts of Julio Gomes, 19, of Luca village, Viqueque district, who disappeared after his arrest on 4 April 1997, is believed to be still missing.(30) He was arrested by two members of Gadapaksi Intel and members of the Rajawali battalion. It is believed that Gomes was arbitrarily arrested and the reason for his arrest is not known. Gomes' family went to Intel headquarters to inquire as to his whereabouts but was unable to obtain any information or to locate him.


Torture, rape and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are serious violations of the rights to physical and psychological integrity of the person. In East Timor, there is, of course, a cycle of almost complete impunity for the perpetrators of these violations, as allegations are generally not investigated by the Indonesian authorities and perpetrators are not brought to justice.

In the period July to December, at least 63 East Timorese were subjected to torture at the hands of security forces, usually in order to obtain information. The ETHRC also received reports of 3 East Timorese people who were subjected to rape and sexual abuse, and 120 who were subjected to other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

These violations generally occurred in police or military detention centres, but there are also cases of people being tortured or ill-treated at the time of their arrest. The fact that East Timorese people are tortured and ill-treated so frequently and systematically in Indonesian detention centres, makes it clear that Indonesian authorities have failed to meet accepted international standards in respect of treatment of prisoners in detention, to which Indonesia has subscribed.(31)

3.1 Torture

Case 3.1.1

On 10 July, five youths, Cornelio Mauxeta, Geronimo Metan, Egas Vicente, Eurico (no surname) and Americo (no surname) were arbitrarily arrested by military personnel in Holsa village, Maliana. It is believed that the arrests were made in connection with the military's attempt to suppress public expressions of dissent on 17 July, Integration Day. The youths were arbitrarily detained, interrogated and severely tortured for approximately three hours. Four of the youths were then released while Americo was held at Kodim Bobonaro. No further information about his detention is available.

Case 3.1.2

On 10 July, nine East Timorese youths, Jose dos Santos Silva, 25, Abreu Maia, 24, Serafin Ximenes, 28, Fransisco (no surname), 24, Abel da Cruz, 26, Cipriano Domingos Oliveira, 26, Benjamin Billi, 25, Domingos Fernandes, 25, and Joao Carvalho, 24, were arbitrarily arrested at night at their homes in Balibo village, Bobonaro district, by members of a combined unit of SGI, Brimob, Police, territorial troops, and Halilintar. The youths were suspected of planning to damage the Balibo Integration Monument, having a Fretilin flag in their possession, and of involvement in organising pro-referendum demonstrations in Dili. They were arbitrarily detained overnight at Kodim Maliana, during which time they were interrogated and subjected to torture.

Case 3.1.3

On or around 11 July, five East Timorese youths were interrogated and tortured in order to obtain information about the activities of other East Timorese youths. Based on information obtained, another five youths were arrested, three of whom were also subjected to torture.(32)

The first group of youths was arrested at about 11.00pm on 11 July: Eugenio Sousa, Marito (no surname), Serafin de Jesus Ribeiro, Augusto Pinto and 16 year old Esaias (no surname). At the time of their arrest, the youths were standing guard in the Beto hamlet in Comoro, Dili, for protection against "Ninjas". While standing guard, the five youths were surprised by twenty armed members of ABRI who asked them why they were there. The youths said they were keeping guard against Ninjas and the soldiers replied "we are the Ninjas", then started beating and torturing the East Timorese youths. They were all kicked and beaten with gun butts in order to extract information. Serafin de Jesus Ribeiro and Augusto Pinto were stripped naked and then hit in the face, forehead, head, chest and stomach.

It is believed information was obtained during the torture and the five were allowed to go free. However, based on the information obtained, another two East Timorese youths, Carlito Guterres and Fernando Pereira, were arrested. They were kicked and beaten with gun butts at the time of their arrest and accused of organising pro-independence youths to keep guard against Ninjas. They were later released.

Three other East Timorese youths were arbitrarily arrested and tortured the following day: Januario Freitas, Abilio Vicente and Olandino Oliveira. They were accused of being members of the clandestine resistance and being responsible for demonstrations calling for a referendum in East Timor. When the youths were arrested, they were thrown into two military trucks that were waiting nearby, containing Brimob members.

They were taken to West Dili Koramil, where they were detained for 24 hours. They were then transferred to Polres headquarters in Dili, where they were interrogated. During the interrogation session, the victims were stripped naked, tortured, and beaten with gun butts to all parts of their bodies. The security personnel conducting the interrogation also threatened to kill them if any East Timorese people from their area organised demonstrations in Dili, or attended pro-independence forums at the University of East Timor.

Following their arrest, the whereabouts of the three men was unknown until local sources located them at the Wirahusada military hospital, where they were receiving received treatment for injuries sustained during the torture. They were denied access to legal representation, and members of their families who tried to visit them were also refused entry. They were later released with orders to report daily to the authorities.

Case 3.1.4

Between 1 and 3 October ten civilians were arbitrarily arrested in the village of Cairui, Baucau district, by a force of 35 soldiers from the unit known as Team Paracommando, which was conducting an orchestrated military operation in the area. It is believed that they were interrogated, tortured and beaten in an effort to obtain information as to the whereabouts of the guerilla forces. The names of the victims are as follows: Manuel Ximenes, Joaquin Simao Da Costa, Marcos Loimao Da Costa, Augusto Cailao Da Costa, Domingos Wailili Da Costa, Masinak Da Costa, Jose Livan Simenes, Martinho Cailao Da Costa, Joao Lela Ximenes, Abel Hunu Mau Soares. It is not known whether the victims have since been released or are still being detained.

Case 3.1.5

On 13 November, during the military crackdown in the subdistrict of Alas (see case 1.1.6 for details), three youths, Alo (no surname), Yosep (no surname), and Alarico (no surname), were arbitrarily detained and tortured by territorial troops in Dotik village. The three youths were arrested while on their way to Lurin village to repair the car belonging to the local pastor. The pastor had left the youths at the local Koramil post, but while there, they were arrested, tied up and tortured by members of the post. The three were then taken to Kodim Manufahi and released the following day.


Back to March Menu
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu
June '98 through February '99