Subject: ETHRC Report: East Timorese Political Prisoners (continued)
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 18:31:00 -1000
From: ethrc <email@example.com>
Other political prisoners
In the same spirit of reconciliation, the ETHRC believes the government of Indonesia should release all other East Timorese political prisoners. This is essential in order to build the confidence that is needed in order to bring about effective dialogue. President Habibie has already demonstrated good will towards the East Timorese people by releasing twenty-nine East Timorese prisoners, but a much more significant gesture is needed in order to bridge the credibility gap that exists following twenty-three years of human rights violations under the Soeharto regime. Habibie's gesture needs to be proportionate to the magnitude of the credibility gap, hence the importance of releasing all East Timorese political prisoners.
In a recent report, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch put forward the option of an independent review of convictions of political prisoners with a view to amnesty or re-trial.(13) Under the proposal, convictions would be reviewed by an independent body which meets international standards of fairness and impartiality, possibly operating under the Indonesian National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM). Based on the review findings, prisoners would be given complete amnesty or a fair and independent re-trial.
The ETHRC believes a process of review and re-trial may be appropriate in a context where a fair and independent process could be implemented promptly. However, East Timor is clearly not such a context and a fair and independent process could not be guaranteed without a complete overhaul of the Indonesian judicial system first taking place. Not only would a review process be unduly slow, it would also be at odds with the position of East Timor under international law, which clearly states that East Timor is not a part of Indonesia(14).
Reviewing convictions of political prisoners also ignores the political imperatives which are unfolding in the post-Soeharto era, both within Indonesia and in the international arena. These political imperatives are encouraging President Habibie to go much further than merely reviewing convictions of political prisoners. In fact, there has been a overwhelming call from the international community for President Habibie to release all political prisoners as a sign of his genuine commitment to political reform, and his commitment to solving the political impasse on the status of East Timor.
Unfair trials, torture and ill-treatment, transfer of prisoners to Indonesia
Political prisoners are frequently convicted at unfair trials, based on information obtained by torture and ill-treatment. Some prisoners are transferred from jails in East Timor to Indonesia, apparently to relieve over-crowding in East Timorese prisons. This means that from a financial and practical point of view, it is very difficult for political prisoners to receive visits from family and friends.
A recent telling example is a group of sixteen political prisoners transferred on 27 March 1998 from the Baucau prison in East Timor to Kalisosok prison in Surabaya, Indonesia. The sixteen Surabaya detainees were convicted for their alleged involvement in an attack which took place on 31 May 1997 on a police station in Quelicai, Baucau district. The prisoners have at all times denied any involvement in the incident and claim they have been targeted for political reasons. The prisoners wrote an account of their arrest and interrogation, including details of being subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention:
"We were gathered, then in sub-district Military Command of Quelicai, and submitted to the interrogation concern with the attack against a Police Station in Quelicai on 31 May 1997. They forced us to recognize ourselves of having collaborated in the attack. It is awfully nonsense, because we do not know what was really happened. We had not only been interrogated, but also suffered many kinds of tortures and ill treatment. They beat our body with guns, sticks and others, punched our face and handcuffed our feet. They tortured us such way in order to get information about the attack. But we couldn't give any answer as they expected. They tortured us more and more and brought to the Local Police Station. We faced the same subject of interrogation and suffered more tortures and bad treatment. The Police put us in a narrow jail, without water closet, bed and time for rest; poured us with hot water mixed with sharp spice, petroleum, dirty water of night soil; drunk our own urine ate dirty cloth, papers and wounded our bodies with knife. They did that any time they like."(15)
As with other East Timorese political prisoners, the government of Indonesia should immediately and unconditionally release the sixteen prisoners at Kalisosok prison, Surabaya.
It is believed another twelve unidentified East Timorese prisoners were also been transferred to Indonesia in early 1998. Two prisoners were transferred to Jakarta, four to Semarang (East Java), six to Kupang (West Timor) and three to Kalabahi (Alor)(16). If any of these prisoners are political prisoners they should be immediately and unconditionally released.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF INDONESIA
Prisoners of conscience and political prisoners
1. Immediately and unconditionally release Xanana Gusmão to enable him, as President of the CNRT (National Council of Timorese Resistance, the united political front of the East Timorese Resistance), to participate in the dialogue for a peaceful settlement to the East Timor conflict.
2. Immediately and unconditionally release all East Timorese prisoners of conscience (named in Appendix D) and any other East Timorese people who have been convicted or are awaiting trial, solely for the non-violent expression of their views.
3. As a confidence-building measure, and in order to show the government of Indonesia's commitment to resolving the East Timor conflict through dialogue, immediately and unconditionally release all other East Timorese political prisoners, convicted or awaiting trial for their politically-motivated acts (some are named in Appendices E, F and G).
4. Stop the practice of arbitrarily arresting individuals for their non-violent political activities and ensure that all East Timorese people have the right to freedom of expression and association, without fear of harassment, arbitrary arrest, arbitrary detention, imprisonment, torture or ill-treatment.
Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners
5. Ensure that all East Timorese in police or military custody are treated humanely and in accordance with international standards.
6. Immediately conduct full and impartial investigations into allegations of torture by members of the Indonesian security forces, prosecuting those found responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
7. Prohibit explicitly by law all forms of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and ensure that all such acts are recognised as criminal offences, punishable by penalties which reflect the seriousness of the crimes.
Arbitrary detention and incommunicado detention
8. Stop the practices of arbitrary and incommunicado detention of individuals. Ensure that detainees have prompt access to lawyers of their own choice and adequate medical treatment.
9. Establish a central register of all detainees in East Timor and require all members of the military and police to report the names of detainees immediately so that family members can be notified of the detention.
10. Immediately cease the practice of using military forces to arrest and interrogate suspects, as these are functions of the police under Indonesia's Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP).
11. Repeal all repressive laws, regulations and decrees which are used to suppress the peaceful and legitimate expression of dissent, including: · The "hate-sowing" articles and the "insulting the President" and "incitement to violence" articles contained in the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP); and · The Anti-Subversion law
12. Ratify the following international conventions: · The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), in accordance with commitments undertaken at the 1998 UN Commission on Human Rights; · The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Optional Protocols; and · The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
13. Ensure that the Indonesian judicial system is reformed in order to bring about a judiciary which is truly independent and impartial.
International human rights monitoring
13. Invite the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit East Timor, in accordance with commitments undertaken at the 1998 UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The visit, which will enable an impartial investigation of allegations of arbitrary detention, should take place before the end of 1998 to enable the working group to prepare a report in time for the 1999 session of the UNCHR.
14. Allow regular and unhindered access to East Timor for international human rights organisations, including the East Timor Human Rights Centre, for the purpose of human rights monitoring.
REQUEST FOR ACTION:
Please send faxes/telegrams/e-mails/airmail letters in English, Bahasa Indonesia or your own language, requesting the government of Indonesia to implement the above recommendations.
SEND APPEALS TO:
1. PRESIDENT YUSUF HABIBIE President of the Republic of Indonesia Istana Negara Gedung Binagraha Jl. Veteran Jakarta Pusat INDONESIA Faxes: +62 21 345 7782 Telegrams: President Habibie, Jakarta, Indonesia E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. MINISTER PROF. DR. MULADI, SH Minister of Justice Menteri Kehakiman Jl H.R. Rasuna Said Blok X VI Kav. 4-5 Kuningan Jakarta Selatan INDONESIA Faxes: +62 21 525 3095 Telegrams: Justice Minister Muladi, Jakarta, Indonesia
3. MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Ali Alatas S.H Menteri Luar Negeri Jl. Medan Taman Pejambon No. 6 Jakarta INDONESIA Faxes: +62 21 360 541 / 360 517 / 380 5511 / 345 7782 / 724 5354
Please also send appeals to: · Diplomatic representatives of Indonesia in your country · Parliamentarians and the Foreign Ministry in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY
Report from 16 East Timorese prisoners in Kalisosok prison, Indonesia
(The statement was received in English and has therefore not been edited)
Quelicai, 5 to 16 June 1997
We had been arrested from 5 to 16 June 1997, by Territorial Military Force. We are 19 under arrested during these days. They came to our house and forced us to be arrested. We really did not know what was the reason. We were gathered, then in sub-district Military Command of Quelicai, and submitted to the interrogation concern with the attack against a Police Station in Quelicai on 31 May 1997. They forced us to recognize ourselves of having collaborated in the attack. It is awfully nonsense, because we do not know what was really happened. We had not only been interrogated, but also suffered many kinds of tortures and ill treatment. They beat our body with guns, sticks and others, punched our face and handcuffed our feet. They tortured us such way in order to get information about the attack. But we couldn't give any answer as they expected. They tortured us more and more and brought to the Local Police Station. We faced the same subject of interrogation and suffered more tortures and bad treatment. The Police put us in a narrow jail, without water closet, bed and time for rest; poured us with hot water mixed with sharp spice, petroleum, dirty water of night soil; drunk our own urine ate dirty cloth, papers and wounded our bodies with knife. They did that any time they like. On 9 June 1997 one of us was beaten badly until broke his jaw. He looked very skinny and hospitalized at military hospital in Dili after suffered a long time ill treatment. On 11 June, six of us were taken to Territorial Police Station in Dili. We are: Joao Bosco Ximenes, Luis Maria da Silva, Francisco da Costa, Marcos Ximenes, Mario Filipe and Januario Martins.
Januario Martins is our fellow custody, died from the tortures in jail. We backed to the Police Station of Baucau on 9 August 1997 and badly tortured again as well as the beginning of our arrest. They insulted the Catholic Religion, the sisters, priests, our Bishop Belo and stepped on the religious pictures saying, "The Catholic Church have caused many Indonesian Military died in East Timor." On 12 August 1997,they took us to the site where the attack took place. On the way back to the Local Police Station of Baucau, some of us were beaten and injured with knife by police. On 6 October 1997, we went to District Attorney. There, all is prepared for our trickery trial. The Public Prosecutor also forced us to talk as they want. If we refuse it, they would take us back to the Military Station. That means we would be tortured again. On 25 October 1997, we went to the Court and there were two indignant lawyers, offered by Indonesian Government. They came to support military accusation against us as criminals instead of providing juridical assistance in our favour.
They disappeared before the end of the trial. The court was over by the end of December 1997. The verdict of the Judge was a great rape against a fair trial and the principles of justice. We do reject it. By the reason of the rejection we suffered again tortures and ill treatment about two months. We stayed in the jail without water neither for shower nor for water closet. Then, the police forced us to accept the sentence. We had no more strength to be the victim of bad treatment and no choice for recovering our right as guiltless. On 3 January 1998, the police transferred us to the Local Prison of Baucau. On 27 March 1998 about 4.30 in the morning the police took us from the jail. Our hands handcuffed, our eyes covered with black cloth and eight bound in one. We are a group of sixteen people. Soon after that, they put us in a military van. We were not informed any way where to go. All of us had only one feeling that we would be killed, then. From our jail we went to the airport of Baucau. At about 12.00am the police told us that we are going to be transferred to Surabaya. Then the police threw us from the van and took us to the military plane (Hercules). Few minutes later we left Baucau to Surabaya. We arrived in Surabaya, Kalisosok Prison around 4.30pm of the same day. They released all of the ties just inside the prison.
We are now in Kalisosok Prison. Marcos Ximenes Belo is a widower with one child. While Domingos Freitas de Jesus and Domingos Sarmento are married, each one with four children. Francisco da Costa and Luis Maria da Silva are sentenced to death penalty.
It is one side of East Timorese daily life. Please, remember us and support peace, justice and human being in East Timor.
Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP)
Article 55 Involved in the commission of a crime Article 56 Aiding in the commission of a crime Article 106 Attempted separatism Article 108 Rebellion Article 110 Agreeing to commit a crime Article 134 Insulting the President or Vice-President Article 136 Insulting the President or Vice-President Article 137 Insulting the President or Vice-President Article 154 "hate-sowing" article Article 155 "hate-sowing" article Article 156 "hate-sowing" article Article 160 Incitement to violence Article 170 Violence against people and property Article 214 Two or more people obstructing an officer using violence Article 338 Intentional murder Article 340 Pre-meditated murder
Anti-Subversion Law (Presidential Decree 11/1963) Used to punish peaceful activities of political opponents. Permits prosecution and conviction of any-one whose words or actions can disrupt public order, the state ideology, the government, its institutions or its policies.
Emergency Law No 12/1951 Bans possession of certain weapons
1. See Appendix C for details of those released.
2. The ETHRC welcomed the not-guilty verdict as there had been allegations of irregularities in the trial process, including allegations that information was extracted by torture. See ETHRC UA 23/97PR4 dated 2 June 1998.
3. Four people, who had been convicted for their involvement in the Mahkota hotel demonstration in March 1997, were given an amnesty. The four received a sentence of 1 year and were in fact due for release on 24 March. By the time they were released they had been in prison for more than 14 months. Another 28 people detained for the Mahkota hotel demonstration were released in March 1998. It is believed all 33 Mahkota hotel detainees were subjected to torture and forced to sign confessions and two women in the group were raped by security force personnel. It is believed the other three people given an amnesty by President Habibie were convicted for participating in a demonstration in Baucau in June 1996.
4. It is believed the eight people whose charges were dropped had been detained in relation to the November 1997 incident at the University of East Timor (UNTIM) in which the Indonesian military opened fire on students at the campus.
5. The Dili court dismissed the case against David Dias Ximenes due to lack of evidence. It is believed the authorities dropped against the other nine as they were prisoners of conscience.
6. The five prisoners of conscience are in detention in Indonesia. See section below and Appendix D for details.
7. Amnesty International defines a "prisoner of conscience" as any person who is detained any-where for their beliefs or because of their ethnic origin, sex, colour, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth or other status, who have not used or advocated violence.
8. See Appendix B for a key to the main provisions of the Indonesian law used to convict East Timorese political prisoners.
9. The law was originally a presidential decree, signed in 1963, then enacted as a law in 1969 (UU No.11/PNPS/1969).
10. See Appendices E and F for details.
11. See Appendix G for details.
12. See Appendix B for a key to the main provisions of the Indonesian law used to convict East Timorese political prisoners.
13. See Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, "Indonesia: Release Prisoners of Conscience Now", a joint report released on 4 June 1998, AI Index 21/58/98, HRW Vol. 10, No. 3 (C).
14. The UN considers East Timor a non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration.
15. See appendix A for the complete unedited text.
16. Lusa, 21 May 1998. The names of the prisoners transferred were not published but the names of some Kupang detainees are contained in Appendix F.
For copies of Appendices C to G containing names and details of East Timorese political prisoners please contact the ETHRC.
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