Subject: Balibo Five inquest findings in November

Balibo Five inquest findings in November


September 11, 2007 02:23pm

A CORONER will hand down her findings in November into the deaths of five Australian-based journalists in East Timor in 1975.

NSW deputy state coroner Dorelle Pinch will give her conclusions on November 5, more than 32 years after Brian Peters, Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Malcolm Rennie and Tony Stewart were gunned down in the East Timorese border town of Balibo.

Their families have urged Ms Pinch to find the Balibo Five were executed on October 16, 1975, by Indonesian soldiers including Captain Mohammad Yunus Yosfiah and Christoforus da Silva.

Counsel assisting the inquest, Mark Tedeschi QC, asked the coroner to recommend war crimes charges against those responsible.

The eight-week inquest earlier this year was told that both Australian and Indonesian governments maintained the journalists were killed in crossfire during the invasion of East Timor by Indonesian troops.

Previous Australian inquiries have reached the same conclusion.

This was despite intelligence, which reached the highest levels of government, showing the killings were a deliberate attempt to silence the men, Ms Pinch was told.

If there is sufficient evidence, the coroner could name those responsible and refer the case against them to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Counsel for Peters' family, John Stratton SC, has asked the coroner to recommend the men's remains be returned to Australia.

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