FRETILIN questions Australian military presence after civilian bashing complaint

Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 16:36:42 -0700 (PDT) (Fri, 00:36 BST)

Soon ADF will become common enemy for all Timorese as their attitude reminding Timorese of the TNI, Indonesian Army Force. Two civilians have been killed in their hands at Comoro IDP camp, and yet because of their immunity, they have acted as they wish to. I wonder how such army, well trained, well equipped, could have let fugitive rebel Alfredo escape from their eyes! What a shame, yet, carrying around heavy machine guns in Dili and beating up civilians, which is suppose to be the task of Police. I guess they were trained to deal with civilians, and not rebels. How incompetence ADF is! Yet, their commander cowardly denied the fact that his soldiers have beaten up a civilian, what a shame!

Australia was the only country that support Indonesian’s claim over East Timor in the past 24 years. While Timorese were dying and suffering, the Australian authorities signed oil over Timorese’s blood. The Australia should be ashame for the fact of this history! Despite the support our grandfathers to the Australian in 1942 against Japanese, the Australian government betrayed us by supporting Indonesia’s invasion. Now, what interest is behind the presence of these people who claimed to be Australian after “genocide” the Aborigines, in this country? Is it again for the oil? The answer is “yes, of course!”.

I am not big fan of Fretilin, but when it comes to ADF attitude in Timor-Leste, I have to stand against this maltreatment towards my fellow Timorese.

Gagita!

ETAN wrote:

FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE

FRETILIN

Media release

October 17, 2007

FRETILIN questions Australian military presence after civilian bashing complaint

Reports that a Timorese security guard was severely beaten by six Australian soldiers opened up a parliamentary debate yesterday about the legal status, role, command structure and duration of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) presence in Timor Leste.

FRETILIN MP Antoninho Bianco presented parliament with a complaint by Mr Abilio Fatima, 41, who is employed by Maubere Security to protect the warehouse of the Ministry of Social Security in the Dili suburb of Kintal Bot.

In a complaint to the police, Mr Fatima alleged that at 10.30pm last Sunday, October 14, he was on duty, talking to some neighbours, when two ADF vehicles arrived, with about 12 soldiers, six of whom alighted and ordered Mr Fatima and the neighbours to disperse and go indoors.

Mr Fatima explained through a Tetum language interpreter attached to the soldiers that he was on duty, that regular police patrols never ordered him to leave his post, and asked why the soldiers were so concerned with ordinary civilians like him instead of with cases like Alfredo Reinado, the rebel soldier, and his armed group.

Mr Fatima alleged that after he mentioned Reinado he was immediately struck with rifle butts many times in the head, upper arms and back, and then bitten on the right upper arm by a soldiers’ guard dog. Two of his neighbours were also assaulted and fled to their homes, but Mr Fatima stayed at his post.

Next morning, Mr Fatima made a complaint to Fretilin MPs at Parliament House, and then went to the National Hospital for treatment, before going to the Dili Police Headquarters to register his complaint.

Many MPs including from the non-FRETILIN side of parliament supported a call for a full and thorough investigation into this incident as one of a string of incidents of ADF maltreatment of civilians.

The President of the Parliament, Fernando Lasama Araujo MP (Democratic Party), directed that the matter be referred to parliamentary Committee A (Constitution, Rights and Justice) so that the Secretaries of State for Defence and Security respectively could be requested to come to the parliament and respond to these issues raised regarding the ADF conduct.

FRETILIN MP Estanislau da Silva said the time had come to re-evaluate the presence of the ADF, to determine how many, for what purpose and for how long they should remain in Timor-Leste. He stressed that there was a sentiment of hostility building up because of some of the actions of the ADF and that the parliament should be careful that this sentiment did not become overwhelming and manifest itself in negative ways. “We have to act to prevent this from occurring, as we have had a history of this occurring with occupying armies in the past,” said Mr Da Silva.

These views were supported by CNRT MP Cecilio Caminha who called for transparency in dealing with cases of abuse of power by the ADF. FRETILIN MP Jose Teixeira called for the Australian military force to come under the UN command, to make it more accountable.

FRETILIN MP Francisco Branco argued that even if the presence of the ADF in Timor-Leste was ultimately ratified by the National Parliament, the officers who ordered operations, such as when ADF troops shot dead Timorese at the Dili Airport IDP Camp or in the attack on the Alfredo group in Same, should be investigated for the legality of their actions.

For further comment: Jose Teixeira MP +670 728 7080

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