Subject: AFP: E>Timor inmates on hunger strike
Date: Fri, 04 Sep 1998 12:10:03 +1300
From: sonny inbaraj <ausasia@ozemail.com.au> Organization: The AustralAsian

East Timor inmates on hunger strike to demand release of rebel leader

Thu 03 Sep 98 - 07:46 GMT

JAKARTA, Sept 3 (AFP) - Fourteen prisoners in the troubled territory of East Timor on Thursday entered the fourth day of hunger strike to press for the release of jailed rebel leader Xanana Gusmao, an official said Thursday.

"Fourteen inmates are staging a hunger strike and they are now being treated at the policlinic in the prison," John Domingus, a jail guard at Becora prison at the East Timor capital of Dili, told AFP by telephone.

Domingus said the 14, who he did not identify, started the hunger strike on Monday but were taken to the clinic on Wednesday.

He said they were refusing to eat and drink until the government releases Gusmao and "have been given intravenous feeding by the doctor."

Gusmao is serving a 20-year term in Jakarta's Cipinang prison. He was captured in 1992 and later jailed to life for plotting against the state and possession of weapons. But former president Suharto later commuted his sentence.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1975 and annexed the territory a year later in a move never recognized by the United Nations and most states.

UN-sponsored talks between Jakarta and Lisbon, which severed ties with Indonesia shortly after the invasion, to seek a settlement over East Timor have dragged on since 1983.

Since the fall of Suharto on May 21, the new Indonesian government has released about 70 political prisoners, including East Timorese, but excluded Gusmao.

Jakarta has said it was only willing to free Gusmao, 52, as part of an acceptable solution in East Timor. It has also offered to grant autonomy to the territory in return for international recognition of Indonesian sovereignty.

Gusmao has insisted that Indonesia must allow a self-determination referendum in East Timor. Indonesia and Portugal are currently discussing Jakarta's proposal for autonomy.

"Timor Today" ETISC -East Timor International Support Center PO Box 651 N'cliff, Darwin Australia 0814 Bahasa Indonesia dan Inggris http://www.easttimor.com email: etio@ozemail.com.au

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