Government Releases Mass killer to Indonesia: Justice and Rule of Law dead in Timor-Leste

FRETILIN

MEDIA RELEASE

Dili, 3 November 2009

Government Releases Mass killer to Indonesia: Justice and Rule of Law
dead in Timor-Leste

FRETILIN today called for a criminal investigation to be launched into
the Timor-Leste government’s action in freeing the accused mass killer
Maternus Bere, who was taken to Indonesia last Friday, according to
media reports.

FRETILIN’s parliamentary leader Aniceto Guterres MP said de facto Prime
Minister Xanana Gusmao and others had clearly broken the law with their
unilateral executive decision to free Bere, a former pro-Indonesian
militia commander indicted by a United Nations Serious Crimes Panel
Court for orchestrating crimes against humanity.

“Maternus Bere arrived in Indonesia on Friday and was taken to a
hospital with undisclosed health problems, said Foreign Ministry
spokesman Teuku Faizasyah. He faces no charges in Indonesia and will be
a free man after treatment,” reported AP last Friday, 30 October.

Bere was indicted for his role in an attack on defenceless refugees at a
church compound in Suai on 6 September 1999, which killed and injured
over 200 people, including many women, children and old people and
three priests.

Bere, an Indonesian citizen, was arrested by Timor-Leste police in Suai
on 9 August this year. A judge ordered he be held in custody and
transferred to Dili to await trial but on 30 August – the day the
people of Timor-Leste celebrated the 10th anniversary of their vote to
break away from Indonesia -Mr. Gusmao bowed to Indonesian demands and
ordered Bere be transferred to the Indonesian Embassy in Dili.

Bere’s unlawful release from custody was condemned by the President of
the Court of Appeal, Judge Claudio Ximenes, the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary General, Timor-Leste’s
two Catholic Bishops, numerous civil society organizations, victims
groups and veterans groups.

Mr Guterres said it was clear the Gusmao de facto government had again
broken the law by secretly freeing Bere by a unilateral executive and
extra-judicial decision.

He criticized the government for their “cowardly and mafia-like conduct
in secretly transporting Bere to the border, using Timor-Leste Police
officers, before handing him over to Indonesian authorities.”

“We call on the Prosecutor General to take immediate action to hold
Gusmao and others involved, accountable before the courts,” Mr Guterres
said.

“We are still waiting for some indication of what the Court and or the
Prosecutor General propose to do in response to the unlawful release of
Bere from Becora prison on 30 August 2009. De facto Prime Minister
Gusmao has repeatedly said he assumes responsibility for this unlawful
action. The Court and the Prosecutorial authorities cannot just remain
silent on this issue. They must act to redress this travesty of
justice. The public has an interest in this matter, as does the
international community, the UN, victims’ families and many other
people.

“There was no public disclosure that Bere was to be handed over. They
have behaved like warlords, or like a cocaine drug cartel or some
terrorist cell. Nobody was informed, the courts to our knowledge were
not involved so it was unlawful, and there was no extradition
agreement. The parliament’s defence, security and foreign affairs
committee was not advised. Neither I as the leader of the opposition,
nor anyone from the opposition were advised.

“The de facto Prime Minister misrepresented to the parliament on 12
November that Bere had not been ‘released’ from prison, but that he had
been ‘transferred’ from one prison facility to another, meaning the
Indonesian embassy, which not even a child would suggest was a prison
facility.

“Now what will Gusmao say? That he transferred Bere to another country’s
prison system? If media reports are correct, Bere is a ‘free man’
according to the Indonesian Foreign Affairs spokesperson. So, it
certainly is not an extradition, it is an unconditional release, and
his victims have lost all avenues of redress according to law and
justice.

“This act by this de facto government, the final in a litany of
unlawful and unconstitutional acts, signals the triumph of lawlessness,
of a culture of impunity and the mortal wounding of justice and the
rule of law in Timor-Leste.”

*For further information please call Jose Teixeira MP on +670 728 7080
*

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