Subject: ABC: EAST TIMOR: Australian activist's court challenge to deportation

EAST TIMOR: Australian activist's court challenge to deportation

A controversial immigration decision taken by the East Timorese government is to be challenged in East Timor's Court of Appeal.

An Australian activist accused of subversive activities in East Timor is appealing against his deportation, claiming his expulsion is politically motivated. Even though the East Timorese court system cleared Julian King of any wrongdoing, the government deported him last month.

12/07/2004 [ Listen | Audio Help ]

Presenter/Interviewer: Claudette Werden


- Julian King, Australian activist deported from East Timor;

- Pedro De Oliveira, Julian King's lawyer;

- Carlos Geronimo, Immigration Chief;

- Claudio Ximenes, Chief Justice of the East Timor Supreme Court

KING: I'm friends with a lot of members of ex-Falintil, with many of the ex-guerilla fighters and clandestine members and again it's not a crime, what's the issue.

WERDEN: Julian King, believes he was deported from East Timor because of his association and work with critics of the government.

His lawyer Pedro De Oliveira agrees.

D'OLIVEIRA: Government not like Julian King because he have relation with Elee Seti member of Falantil, only this.

WERDEN: King has lived in East Timor on and off for the past four years, working as a freelance journalist and helping Falintil veterans find work with non-government organisations. He's also doing a thesis on the United Nations examining the theory that the UN acts as an agent of globilisation.

Earlier this year, he came to the attention of East Timorese immigration authorities because of what they claim were visa irregularities. Immigration Chief Carlos Geronimo cancelled his visa and informed Mr King that he required a new visa which he would need to apply for outside the country.

GERONIMO: At the time I did ask him Mr Julian King, the only way you have two choices, the first choice you voluntarily leave the country if he didn't do it of course the immigration will take another action, if he was expulsion it means according to our law if we make an expulsion, we have may have another order he may not enter into country for a certain time period.

WERDEN: In May, King was arrested and his passport confiscated. He was charged with illegal weapons possession as well as immigration violations. But the courts dismissed the charges because of lack of evidence, and ordered that Mr King's passport be returned.

The East Timorese government only returned the passport when Mr King arrived in Darwin.

His lawyer believes the government's refusal to obey the court was unconstitutional.

D'OLIVEIRA : But government here, don't understand or maybe they don't know, if they don't like someone they can deport or make anything to who they don't like the government make anything.

KING: The government has refused to follow the rulings of the Dili District and High Courts, the Dili Court found there were no grounds for deportation and the High Court some weeks before that ruled there were no grounds for imprisonment and as we had appealed for, the passport must be returned, so the situation is the police and immigration department have gone against the rulings of the Dili district and High Court.

WERDEN: However the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Claudio Ximenes says its not as simple as that. While he says he can't comment on the particulars of this case until he reads the relevant documents, he says its a matter of interpretation.

XIMENES: There are different areas administration and court work, so both could be right on each particular decision.

WERDEN: Mr King's appeal is expected to be heard this month.

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