Subject: LUSA: Lopes da Cruz urges Jakarta to immediately release Xanana Gusmao
From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <>

04 FEV 99 - 08:34 East Timor: Lopes da Cruz urges Jakarta to immediately release Xanana Gusmao

Sydney, Feb 04 (Lusa) - The Indonesian government should immediately release jailed East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao, Lopes da Cruz, an East Timorese working as a roving ambassador for the Indonesian government, said on Wednesday. Da Cruz said that Gusmao's announced transfer from a prison cell to house arrest next week demonstrated "little flexibility" on the part of the Indonesian authorities. The Indonesian government has said that Gusmao will be moved from the Cipinang Prison to a house near the prison next week. "The house is being renovated and it will take one week," Indonesian Justice Minister Muladi said earlier this week. Da Cruz urged the Indonesian government to show a more flexible attitude towards Gusmao by releasing him from all types of detention so that he could directly participate in talks on a peaceful solution to the problem of East Timor.

Da Cruz pointed out that even after moving to house arrest, Gusmao would still remain under the supervision of the Cipinang Prison authorities. Meanwhile a UN Human Rights Commission working group on arbitrary detentions visited Gusmao at the Cipinang Prison on Wednesday. The working group will visit East Timor next week. Members of the working group said they would visit prisoners in Dili and Baucau during their stay in East Timor but declined to elaborate on their half-hour meeting with Gusmao. In a related development, Roman Catholic Bishop Ximenes Belo told Lusa in Sydney by telephone from Dili on Wednesday he was happy about the Indonesian government's decision to transfer Gusmao from prison to house arrest. However, Belo said he preferred to wait for "more concrete news" about the planned transfer because "the Indonesian government is changing (its opinions) from one day to the other." Nobel Peace Prize laureate Belo is the apostolic administrator of Dili, capital of the occupied territory of East Timor.-Lusa nnnn

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