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Subject: Alas Women's Testimony
Date: Sat, 05 Dec 1998 21:10:17 -0600
From: john roosa <>

Poster's note: The document below is the testimony of two women from Alas now being held in the Dili police station along with nine male detainees arrested in connection with the recent incidents. It makes for painful reading since it describes the humiliating treatment, sadistic torture and sexual violence inflicted on East Timorese women -- standard procedure for ABRI.
Yayasan Hak, Dili, East Timor

Testimony of Two Victimized Women from Alas

I. Identity of Victims

Name: Vicentinha Fernandes Age: 20 years Address: Kampung Lurin, Desa Tai-tudak, Kecamatan Iliomar, Kabupaten Manufahi [Lurin neighborhood, Tai-tudak village, Iliomar subdistrict, Manufahi district]

Name: Etelvina Maria Dias Age: 22 years Address: Kampung Lurin, Desa Tai-tudak, Kecamatan Iliomar, Kabupaten Manufahi

II. Chronology

On November 9, 1998 Etelvina and Vicentinha could hear and see from afar that there was an attack on the Koramil headquarters in Alas by a group of people wearing camouflage. They did not recognize the attackers. They were terrified to see the attack and rushed home. Three days later they heard from the Village Head of Tai-tudak that all youth, male and female, at the Kampung Lurin would all be arrested in relation to the attack on the Koramil headquarters in Alas.

Upon hearing about the warning, Etelvina and Vicentinha decided to leave the village. On November 13, 1998 they left Kampung Lurin and went to their relative, Pedro Alves, who resides in Kampung Barike, Desa Fahinehan. They took some of their clothes and their money, Rp. 300.000,- and put them in bags. Once they arrived in Kampung Barike at 8.30 ET time, soldiers from Battalion 744 and BTT 315 who were on duty in another kampung, Kampung Fahi Leqimau, came to the house and arrested Etelvina and Vicentinha.

The soldiers tied them together with a wire 3 meters long. They were kicked and beaten with rifles. Their clothes in the bags were burned up and their money was taken away by the soldiers. While torturing them, the soldiers asked, You were going to give these clothes to the guerrillas, your boyfriends, weren't you? These women replied that the clothes were theirs and if they had boyfriends among the guerrillas, they would have joined them sooner. Other soldiers tortured their relatives, viz. Pedro Alves, Joaquin Maya and Raimundu.

The soldiers kept beating the women and said, Women like you intend to get involved in politics, eh? When they searched the victims bags, they also found a cloth with the phrase "UKUN RASIKAN (INDEPENDENCE) written on it. The soldiers asked them if they were independent yet or not. The women said that they were already independent. Etelvina asked how many times they expected them to be independent. The soldiers immediately said that the East Timorese couldnt even make needles and matches, how could they demand independence? The soldier asked her if she was the daughter of the Village head of Tai-tudak who dared to pull out the enemys eyeball. He also asked whether she was married or not, whether they had boyfriends or not. Vicentinha replied that she was not yet married, but she already had a boyfriend. The soldier then said that since she was not married and had boyfriend, he was wondering if he could check her body. Vicentinha challenged him to check her body, but he didnt do it and left her. Other soldiers asked similar questions to Etelvina. The soldiers condemned them by saying that since they had boyfriends they might have had sexual intercourse with their boyfriends. Then they grabbed the womens hands and pressed them while saying that their hands seemed to be used to holding hands.

Around 4:30 pm the two women were taken to Kampung Daramata. They arrived there at 7 pm. They were released from the wire which joined them, but then their hands were tied separately. They slept with their hands tied up.

On November 14, 1998 they were taken to Post BTT 315 Fahileqimau at 7:00 am. Out of pain the women were crying and moaning. The soldiers threatened to kill them if they didnt stop making noises. Once they arrived at the post the soldiers began to beat them up again. They ripped their clothes, grabbed and squeezed their breasts and vaginas, while saying that they must be hiding letters in their underwear. After that they burnt the womens hair with matches. They were tortured all day.

On November 15, 1998 around 8:00 am the women were taken to Kodim Same. Soldiers there beat them further until their heads and foreheads were bleeding. The wives of the soldiers also joined the husbands to beat them up. The torture only ended when several policemen from the Polres Manufahi came to pick them up at noon.

The police interrogated them at the Polres Manufahi. They were also forced to admit things they did not do to complete the BAP (Report of Interrogation). Since they were not accompanied by lawyers during interrogation, it is not yet known what was the content of the BAP.

Both women are now in police detention at the Dili police station along with 9 other male defendants.


1. Both of them are clients of Yayasan HAK 2. The information was written based upon interview with the victims by HAKs legal staff.

Documentation of Yayasan HAK December 1, 1998

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