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U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus Cautions Suharto

Congressional Human Rights Caucus
U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

November 24, 1992

President Suharto
Istana Negara
Jalan Veteran
Jakarta, Indonesia

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our concern about Xanana Gusmao, leader of the East Timorese independence movement, National Council of Maubere Resistance, who was arrested by Indonesian soldiers on November 20th in Dili.

We fear that Mr. Gusmao will suffer the same fate as other resistance leaders, such as Martinus Prawar of the Free Papua movement in Irian Jaya and Yusuf AB of the Aceh Merdeka movement. Both men were executed under mysterious circumstances without receiving a trial for the alleged offenses they committed. We urge you to contact the appropriate authorities to ensure that Mr. Gusmao is allowed access to a lawyer and that he is given a fair trial in accordance with international standards.

We are also greatly concerned that Mr. Gusmao will be subjected to abuse while in detention on account of his opposition to Indonesian rule in East Timor. There are credible reports that torture of criminal suspects and political detainees is common in East Timor, in some instances resulting in death. We call on you to intervene with security officials to prevent the use of physical force on Mr. Gusmao while he is in custody.

We would also like to express our concern about seven members of the Araujo family who were arrested along with Mr. Gusmao. The whereabouts of the seven have not been clarified by authorities in East Timor and we are worried that they may be subjected to torture or ill-treatment. We ask that the members of the Araujo family be released if they have been detained on account of their peaceful political activities.

As you are aware, the U.S. Congress closely monitors the human rights situation in East Timor and has responded to the ongoing reports of abuse taking place there by cutting military education and training assistance to your government. In order for this assistance to be resumed, it is incumbent upon you to demonstrate a commitment to respect the human rights of the East Timorese and all Indonesian people.

We appreciate your immediate attention to our concerns.


John Porter, Co-Chairman
Tom Lantos, Co-chairman

Ron Machtley, Executive Member
Tony Hall, Executive Member


Return to Congressional Action on East Timor: Statements, etc.

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