|Subject: AI UA 120/99 EAST TIMOR Fear for safety
Date: 25 May 99 16:02:42 -0400
From: UA E-Mail Incoming <UA%AI-UK@amnesty.org.uk>
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PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 21/46/99 25 May 1999
UA 120/99 Fear for safety/ possible "disappearance"
Jacob Martins Reis Fernandes
Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of Jacob Martins Reis Fernandes, head of the Hatiola sub-district of Ermera district, East Timor. Fernandes went into hiding in April 1999 following an attempt on his life. Some reports indicate that he may have been arrested and taken to a military post, possibly in Ermera, on 17 May 1999. He has not been seen since.
Jacob Martins Reis Fernandes was accused of supporting the East Timorese National Liberation Army (Falintil) after he reportedly made public statements criticising the killing of a group of internally displaced people some months ago. He was then publicly threatened by Eurico Guterres, the leader of the Aitarak (Thorn) militia, and deputy commander of all the paramilitary units in East Timor.
Paramilitaries are believed to have made an attempt on Fernandes's life in recent months. Police and paramilitaries visited Fernandes's family home in Dili in an attempt to trace him. Stones were thrown at the house by the paramilitaries.
Since early April, paramilitary groups, supported by the Indonesian armed forces (TNI, formerly known as ABRI), have carried out arbitrary detentions, torture and unlawful killings during violent attacks in several towns across East Timor, including Ermera, in an attempt to seek out supporters of independence. At least 18, and possibly many more, people were killed in Liquisa on 6 April when paramilitary units, backed up by the TNI, attacked a church where around 2000 local residents had sought refuge from earlier paramilitary assaults. Since 17 April at least 18 people and possibly many more are believed to have been killed in Dili by paramilitary units. Despite the signing of a peace agreement on 21 April between the TNI, the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), the paramilitaries and the political groups that support integration, the situation in Dili remains tense.
According to reports, at least four independence supporters were killed between 9 and 10 May. There have also been reports of attacks on foreign journalists in Dili. Supporters of integration threw stones and shot at foreign journalists near the municipal market on 10 May. Supporters of independence and human rights monitors, many of whom remain in hiding, are still at risk of arrest or violent attacks.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters in Bahasa Indonesia, English or your own language:
- urging the authorities to confirm whether or not Jacob Martins Reis Fernandes has been arrested. If he has been arrested, he should be charged with a recognisable offence or immediately released;
- urging the authorities to provide details of his whereabouts and ensure that he is not being tortured or ill-treated if he is being held in custody.
- calling on the authorities to provide protection for him and members of his family, given the serious nature of the threats posed to them by armed militia in East Timor;
- urging the authorities to disarm and disband all paramilitary units in East Timor.
APPEALS TO: (Time difference = GMT + 7 hrs / BST + 6 hrs)
Chief of National Police
Gen. Roesmanhadi [Salutation: Dear Gen. Roesmanhadi] Chief of National Police Kapolri Markas Besar Kepolisian RI Jl. Trunojoyo 13 Kebayoran Baru Jakarta Selatan Indonesia Fax: + 62 21 720 7277
Commander Resort Military Command (KOREM) 164/Wiradharma (covers East Timor)
Colonel Tono Suratman [Salutation: Dear Colonel Suratman] Markas KOREM 164/Wiradharma Dili East Timor, Indonesia Telegrams: Colonel Suratman, East Timor, Indonesia Fax: + 62 390 321 624
PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: Embassy of Indonesia, 38 Grosvenor Square, London W1X 9AD. Fax: 0171 491 4993
AND, IF POSSIBLE, TO THE FOLLOWING:
Prof. Dr. Muladi SH Minister of Justice Menteri Kehakiman Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7 Kuningan Jakarta Selatan Indonesia Fax: + 62 21 525 3095 Telex: 44404 ditjenim ia
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Please do not send appeals after 6 July 1999.
If you have any queries about this Urgent Action or about + + the UA scheme in general, please contact: + + Ray Mitchell / Becky Hess + + Amnesty International UK Section + + 99 - 119 Rosebery Avenue + + London EC1R 4RE email: email@example.com