Dili, 7 May 2010

The man in the photo attached is 59 year old Afonso Dos Reis (nome de
guere “FRELIMO”) lives in Uatolari, Viqueque (a truly gentle man like
him I have not met). He is a rural dweller, who also happens to be a
well known ex-combatant of the National Liberation Struggle, after
serving decades in the mountains fighting for our national
independence. He first joined the liberation struggle in 1974 and
continued till 1999.

He is a FRETILIN member and member of the Utolari Sub-district
Political Committee of FRETILIN.

On the morning of 1 May 2010, he arrived at the designated place and
was awaiting for the so called “public consultation” by the de facto
Prime Minister, whom he served for a period as a body guard in the
early 1980’s.

At approximately 10am on that morning, he was accosted by a number of
UIR Unit of PNTL (Timor-Leste national Police) based in Uatolari and
was publicly accused of being drunk. Afonso FRELIMO informed them
that it was impossible as he had not been drinking. The UIR/PNTL
officer then then said, “you are the man who has called Xanana a
lier! You have to leave this place.” At the time, Afonso FRELIMO was
lawfully standing in a public place where the meeting was to take place.

He was abruptly told by the UIR/PNTL officer, “You cannot be here.
You have to go!” He replied, ‘Why? I am here lawfully. Why do I have
to go?” They then grabbed him and began to physically usher him away
from the place he was standing. he did not at any time resist. He
asked if he could go home as he had his fields to attend to if he
could not stay there. They informed him that he would have to go to
the Police Station. At the Police Station he was told by the deputy
post commander, named Moises, that he had been “arrested” as a result
of a misunderstanding but that he would nonetheless have to remain
until the PNTL post commander retuned and that he could not leave. he
was also informed that the UIR team had suspected him because of a
manila folder containing information he had in his possession. He
says there were many people there waiting with him who had manila folders.

Afonso FRELIMO says he was detained by the PNTL at the station
because despite insisting that he be allowed to return home, he was
told bythe deputy commander of the PNTL post that he could not leave
until the PNTL commander arrived.

He insisted at least on four occasions that he be allowed to leave,
and was told he could not.

The post commander did not arrive until well after 9pm when Afonso
FRELIMO was allowed to leave, because as he was told, because the de
facto PM was no longer there and had retuned to Viqueque town.

Afonso FRELIMO travelled to Dili today to make a formal complaint
with the Provedor (Ombudsman) for Human Rights and Justice requesting
and expecting an investigation into what he regards as his
unjustified detention.

It is appalling that a Timorese citizen who gave his whole selflessly
to fighting for our national liberation was denied, without lawful or
any other reason from exercising his constitutionally guaranteed
right to participate in the political and democratic life of the nation.

He posed no physical danger or any threat or perceivable threat of
such to anyone. especially given the excessive number of heavily
armed police that were present throughout the whole time.

During the week, after FRETILIN raised the matter in the National
Parliament, CNRT MPs defended the PNTl action without being informed,
one being quoted in the national media referring to Afonso as “a
youth who had caused trouble”. Clearly incorrect.

A senior PNTL command officer, Mateus Fernandes, also from the
Viqueque district originally, defended the actions of the PNTL as, as
“there had been action and so the police reacted”, or words to that
effect, whatever that means.

This issue has had extensive national coverage in the Tetun language,
but none in English or any other relevant language. I am hoping
through this bring the story of this very humble and committed
nationalist to the attention of many as possible.

He personally informed me today that he fears reprisals from those
against whom he formally filed complaints today. It will not be the
first time the security apparatus would act in reprisal against a
complaint being made.

Bringing this to some public attention is my way of ensuring I
support and show solidarity for this fellow Timorese.


Jose A. Fernandes Teixeira
Deputado da Bancada Parlamentar da FRETILIN
Parlamento Nacional da Rep. Dem. de Timor-Leste
Telemovel: +670 728 7080

Member of Parliament – FRETILIN
National Parliament of the
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
Mobile: +670 728 7080


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