Spring 1998
Congress Bars Use of U.S. Weapons in East Timor

Indonesian Military Training Continues Despite Ban

Constâncio Pinto Joins ETAN Staff

APECT III Meets in Bangkok

ETAN Hosts Activist Training Conferences

José Ramos-Horta Inspires St. Louis Activists

Massachusetts East Timor Bill Update

Member News

Indonesia - On the verge of change?

Postcard from Timor

Review- Women’s Rights in East Timor

U.S. Should Help East Timor

Youth Resistance in East Timor

Estafeta -
Spring 1998
Spring 1997

Torture and Fear of Torture Actualized
By Charles Scheiner

Many hundreds of East Timorese people have been arbitrarily arrested, disappeared, or killed by the Indonesian military over the past year, as documented in the 1997 "Annual Report of Human Rights Violations" just published by the East Timor Human Rights Center (available from ETAN for $5).

But rather than cite cold statistics, I thought it better to update Estafeta readers on two specific cases that we described in our last two issues: João Guterres and José Antonio Belo. Both are men in their 20s who were arrested in separate incidents in East Timor in May and June 1997. There have been no charges brought against them, neither has had legal counsel, and neither has been seen since by anyone other than their captors, including the International Committee of the Red Cross. Belo’s case was most recently highlighted as "fear of torture" by Amnesty International in an alert distributed on March 19, 1998 (case 189/97), along with four men arrested with him (Guilherme dos Santos, Manuel, Cesario or Mario da Costa and Gil da Costa).

list of "disappeared"When our delegation was in Indonesia and East Timor in early March, we inquired about Belo and Guterres through indirect but reliable, confidential channels. The first reply, "they’re both alive," was only slightly reassuring. Further explorations indicated that both were in very bad shape, still held inside East Timor by Indonesian military forces. (Amnesty believes that Belo is in Baucau.) Both have apparently been subjected to extensive torture and prevented from having any contact with the outside world.

José and João are still alive only because the Indonesian army knows that concerned people around the world know that their lives are in ABRI’s hands. To keep them alive – and to end the torture – we need to communicate our concerns more strongly.

Please contact these authorities:

  • urging them to clarify the whereabouts of José Antonio Belo and João Guterres, and the precise charges against them;
  • seeking assurances that they be given access to members of their family, medical care and independent legal advisors;
  • seeking assurances that neither of them will be subjected to further torture or ill-treatment.


Col. Slamat Sidabutar (military commander of East Timor)
Markas KOREM 164/Wiradharma
Dili, East Timor (Indonesia)
Telegrams: Col. Sidabutar, Markas KOREM, Dili, East Timor
Fax: + 62 390 21 624

Colonel Atok Rismanto (Chief of Police for East Timor)
Kapolda Timor Timur
Dili, East Timor via INDONESIA
Telegrams: Kapolda, Dili, East Timor


Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
202-647-4000, fax: 202-647-6434

Ambassador Dr. Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Yakti
Indonesian Embassy to the United States
2020 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036 USA
202-775-5200, fax 202-775-5365

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas
SH Menteri Luar Negeri
Jl. Medan Taman Pejambon No 6
Jakarta, Indonesia
Faxes: + 62 21 36 0517