Subject: LUSA: UDT, FRETILIN and Ramos Horta insist on Xanana's unconditional release
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 08:45:11 -0500 (EST)
From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <pet@web.net>

19 JAN 99 - 08:44 East Timor: UDT, FRETILIN and Ramos Horta insist on Xanana Gusmao's unconditional release from all types of detention

Sydney, Jan 19 (Lusa) - Jailed East Timorese guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao has accepted, in principle, an offer by the Indonesian government to be transferred from prison to house arrest in Jakarta, the president of the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), Joao Carrascalao, told Lusa in Sydney on Monday. Carrascalao said an official representative of the Indonesian government had recently informed Gusmao of the possibility of being granted house arrest. Carrascalao said the move would be beneficial to the current negotiations over the future of East Timor, adding the development was advantegeous although it was "not the ideal solution." The UDT leader also said the move did not demonstrate Jakarta's good will but was only proof of the Indonesian government's vulnerability over East Timor. He said that Australia's recent decision to recognise East Timor's right of self-determination might have conributed to Jakarta's decision to move Gusmao from prison to house arrest. Carrascalao also said his party continued, nevertheless, to demand "total freedom" for Gusmao. Carrascalao also said that the granting of house arrest could put an end to speculation over statements attributed to Gusmao in jail. Estanislau da Silva, FRETILIN representative in Australia, also welcomed the news, saying house arrest instead of imprisonment would allow Gusmao to play a more active role in the current negotiations over the future of East Timor. Da Silva also told Lusa in Sydney on Monday that FRETILIN would, however, continue to insist on Gusmao's "unconditional release" from any kind of detention by the Indonesian authorities. East Timorese Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate Jose Ramos Horta told Lusa in Sydney on Monday that the possible granting of house arrest should not divert attention from demands of Gusmao's uncondicional release from detention. Ramos Horta stressed that Gusmao's illegal detention was based on a trial "without any legitimacy and transparency." The Nobel Peace Prize winner also said that the East Timorese resistance movement should maintain an attitude of distrust and scepticism towards decisions by the regime in Jakarta as long as East Timor remained under Indonesian military occupation. Lusa/Fim

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