Subject: Australian Forces Accused of Torture in East Timor
Army orders investigation into claims Australian soldiers
mistreated Timorese militia
The Age [Melbourne]
Wednesday, November 5, 2003
Australian Forces Accused of Torture in East Timor
By Deborah Snow
Fresh allegations of torture by Australian troops in East Timor will be
Dateline program, with former militia members claiming they
were beaten, kicked, and had their heads forced down excrement-filled
bowls during interrogation.
Two of the men also say they were forced into cubicles where wasps' nests
were present, with their Australian interrogators allegedly stirring up
so the detainees would be stung.
The group further claims that one of their number, Yani Ndun, is missing,
having last been seen alive in the custody of InterFET, the Australian
intervention force in East Timor.
The program says the group of six men were picked up by the Australian
around September 22, 1999, just days after Australian forces landed in the
The six were all members or suspected associates of the Aitarak militia,
of the most feared of the anti-independence groups, which went on a
after East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in an August 30
Three members of the group interviewed by SBS say they were taken by their
Australian captors to an empty football stadium where they were forced
wasp-infested toilets and had their heads pushed down toilet bowls.
Jao Ximenes, one of the interviewees, said:"They put our faces in fresh
in the toilet and they made us sleep there."
Once it got dark, the group say they were taken to a high school and told
sleep on outdoor tennis courts. There they say some members of the group
beaten and kicked, and one hit with a rifle butt.
The army has made no detailed response to the allegations but confirmed it
had held two of the men, Jao Ximenes and Caitano Da Silva, in custody. The
denied having any information on the missing man, Yani Ndun, and said that
"interrogation techniques used by Australian InterFET soldiers in East
were in accordance with the Geneva conventions".
Army orders investigation into claims Australian
soldiers mistreated Timorese militia
November 5, 2003 10:34pm
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) ? The army Thursday ordered an investigation into
allegations that Australian peacekeepers stuffed the heads of pro-Jakarta
militiamen down toilets in East Timor.
The government-funded Special Broadcasting Service television network
reported Wednesday night that six captured pro-Indonesian fighters were
humiliated and had their heads pushed into toilets by Australian troops in
Dili on Sept. 20, 1999.
The latest claims follow 19 earlier allegations of misconduct and
mistreatment in the past three years, including allegations Australian
troops kicked the dead bodies of militiamen.
The defense force has investigated those allegations and not filed any
Army chief Lt. Gen. Peter Leahey said in a statement he had ordered an
investigation into the latest claims. Defense Minister Robert Hill refused
comment while the latest allegations were still under investigation.
Leahey said based on the ``limited information' provided by the Dateline
program, the army had found that three of the six men had been detained
and then released in ``late September 1999,' but had no records of the
other three men named in the program.
Australia won praise from around the world for marshaling and leading an
international force that poured into East Timor in September 1999 to quell
a violent rampage by pro-Indonesian militia groups after the half-island
state voted for independence from Jakarta.
Canberra's leadership of the force severely damaged relations with
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