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Photographic material, showing East Timorese youths being tortured and killed by members of the Indonesian military, was released by Mr.  Jose Ramos-Horta recently in Geneva. Mr Ramos-Horta, joint winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, presented a video of the photographs to United Nations experts including the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr Bacre Waly Ndiaye.

The graphic photographs show young East Timorese men being subjected to brutal torture including electric shock, cigarette burns, strangling with metal chains and beatings with poles and chairs. Some of the victims appear to have died as a result of the torture and are shown being buried in mass graves.

Mr Ramos-Horta said he believed the pictures were authentic while Indonesia dismissed them as a "lot of nonsense" and said they were false. Mr Ghaffer Fadyl, a representative of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, said "we doubt their authenticity." He said "This is conformity with Horta’s propaganda….using lies and distortion to discredit Indonesia." (Reuter 7 April 1997).

The video and photographs, which were recently smuggled out of East Timor, were also sent to the East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC), which is undertaking an investigation. The ETHRC believes the photographs are authentic, however, arrangements are being made for experts to view them. All findings of the ETHRC investigation will be reported to the United Nations, in particular the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

According to the video, the tortures took place in Baucau, East Timor, in October 1995 and in December 1996. The video alleges that some of the victims were arrested between 10 and 12 October, 1995, and taken to "Rumah Merah" (the red house), the headquarters of Kopassus (Special Forces Command). They were allegedly interrogated, tortured and killed by the "Team Sera", a unit of Kopassus and later taken to Manatuto where they were buried in mass graves. The video also alleges that the other victims were arrested December 1996 in Viqueque and taken to Baucau where they were tortured and killed, also at the "Rumah Merah",

Note: The larger collection of  photos can be found at the East Timor Human Rights Centre site.   This Australian NGO supports East Timorese prisioners, torture victims and refugees.

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