Voices for Freedom: An Amnesty International Anthology

Re: Voices for Freedom: An Amnesty International Anthology

Postby admin » Tue May 10, 2016 8:37 am


The publication in January 1985 of Amnesty International's 'Briefing on Peru' received wide publicity within the country and intensified the national debate on human rights violations.

More than 1,000 men, women and children have 'disappeared' after being seized by troops or police since a remote area of Peru was placed under military rule two years ago. Hundreds of others are known to have been killed in custody, often after torture. In a new briefing on Peru, published on 23 January, AI points out that the true scale of the abuses by government forces in the mountainous southern area is not yet known.

The massive atrocities started after the launch of a military campaign against the Sendero Luminoso ('Shining Path') guerrilla movement, itself responsible for scores of execution-style killings and torture of civilians.

Since then, killings of captives by government forces have become so established that relatives of the 'disappeared' have learned to search roadside dumping grounds where bodies regularly turn up, often mutilated beyond recognition. The victims found in these dumps and in mass graves are usually naked, marked by torture, and with single gunshot wounds to the head.

Human rights violations on this scale are unprecedented in modern Peru. They have been inflicted mainly on peasants, local leaders and young people in the Emergency Zone, established at the end of 1982. The zone comprised 13 of Peru's more than 140 provinces at the time the report went to press.

Peru's Attorney-General, the Public Ministry he heads, and some judges have tried to protect the rights of the local people and have uncovered some of the abuses, but have been unable to halt them. Government prosecutors in the area have protested publicly against the armed forces' obstruction of their investigations.

AI has told the government that it condemns killing or torture of prisoners by the guerrillas, and recognizes the need to prevent and punish such crimes, but that government action must be within internationally accepted human rights standards.

The briefing on Peru includes basic information on some 1,000 reported 'disappearances' known to AI. It notes that the movement also knows of more than 400 cases of individuals named as having been detained and later found dead. All these are from the Emergency Zone; they have no parallel elsewhere in Peru.

Despite the remoteness of the area, AI -- as well as local human rights groups and Peruvian officials -- has amassed abundant evidence of the abuses and of the existence of unmarked mass graves and dumping grounds in areas under military control.

Local people provided the evidence, often by travelling to the main city in the Emergency Zone, Ayacucho, or the national capital, Lima. Documents and testimonies have come directly from families and community representatives, from church, professional, trade union and human rights organizations, and from lawyers. Hundreds of victims' relatives have filled out questionnaires based on a form prepared by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. In February 1984 Dr Zegarra Dongo, outgoing Ayacucho chief prosecutor, told the press that his staff had received 1,500 formal complaints of prisoners' 'disappearances' in the previous 14 months.

The Interior Ministry has said that in the 18 months up to the middle of 1984, 2,000 alleged guerrillas were killed and more than 1,600 civilians were alleged to have been killed by guerrillas. There is evidence that both categories include many civilians detained and killed by government forces.

Security patrols have raided schools as well as villages and homes to take away victims. All young people appear to be suspect -- and so liable to 'disappearance' -- in areas where the guerrillas are active. AI has documentation on 76 children and teenagers under 18 who have 'disappeared'.

Relatives of the 'disappeared' report being threatened with death by soldiers when they look for their loved ones at known dumping grounds, which are always near main roads regularly patrolled by troops or police. Many of the bodies are blindfolded and bound.

AI Newsletter February 1985


The national debate on human rights violations in Peru is reported to have intensified since the publication on 23 January of AI's Peru Briefing (see February Newsletter).


Amnesty International's Peru Briefing, published in 1984, was read throughout the country by all sections of the population. This reader was part of a group of people gathered on the steps of the cathedral in Ayacucho, the main city in the Emergency Zone.

A Peruvian television program "Eneuentros" (Encounters) gave the results of a survey on the briefing, using a sample of 1,000 people in the capital, Lima. They are reported to have shown that more than 70 per cent of the sample had heard of the report and that more than 47 per cent thought that "a pluralist commission should be appointed to investigate Amnesty International's denunciations."

Extensive reports on the briefing appeared in the country's major newspapers and magazines -- one magazine printed the fu1l20-page Spanish-language version -- and on the day of publication an hour-long prime-time television program was devoted to it. Copies of the briefing were on sale at news kiosks in 16 cities in Peru.

With some exceptions, the Peruvian Government's public reaction to the briefing appears to have been different in tone to harshly critical comments which followed the publication in September 1983 of an extensive memorandum to President Fernando Belaunde Terry. President Belaunde then said in a television interview that AI was 'a Communist organization', and that its letters to his government were 'thrown directly into the wastepaper basket'.

On 16 January, General Oscar Brush Noel, former Minister of Defence and now Minister of Interior, made a statement flatly rejecting AI's briefing. He claimed that the government respected the life and honour of Peru's citizens, and that Shining Path guerrillas alone were responsible for violating human rights in Peru.

On 20 January the general was questioned by international press agency correspondents on a news report published the day before; it contained evidence that nine people found that week in clandestine graves in Ayacucho had been previously detained by police and military forces and had 'disappeared'. He replied that 'only the Armed Forces Joint Command' was authorized to make statements concerning the situation in Ayacucho.

On 18 January, General Cesar Praeli, head of the Armed Forces Joint Command, was quoted as stating that 'the Armed Forces of Peru reject the Amnesty International report'.

Asked about the ever more numerous clandestine graves and the dozens of corpses discovered, showing signs of torture and gunshot wounds, he reportedly said: 'I am convinced that they are not acts perpetrated by the Armed Forces but by members of the terrorist group,' and added that the Command responsible for the Emergency Zone would carry out an exhaustive investigation in this regard and would study AI's briefing.

A series of statements have been made to the Peruvian and international news media by the Peruvian Prime Minister, Luis Percovich. On 23 January he reportedly declared that the government would investigate AFs allegations and 'give precise and public reports of this'. Later that day he is reported to have said that 'isolated' excesses by the security forces had taken place and that those responsible had been handed over to 'the appropriate authorities' .

On 25 January, the Prime Minister told reporters in Lima that Pervian officials with information from the police and military would answer AI's charges at the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva in February and March.

On 5 February the international news agency Reuters reported that the Prime Minister had told reporters that 'widespread errors' had been found in Amnesty International's briefing, affirming that:

' ... 53 of the 1,005 people Amnesty alleged to have disappeared in a government anti-guerrilla crackdown before last October had applied for voter registration cards after that date.'

On 1 February, AI cabled the Prime Minister welcoming the promise of an investigation into unresolved 'disappearances' in Peru and requesting his intercession to ensure the safety of three young Peruvians reported detained and 'disappeared' on 25 and 28 January in the Ayacucho Emergency Zone.

In a second cable on 7 February, AI expressed great interest in the Prime Minister's statement affirming the reappearance of 53 people previously reported 'disappeared'.

AI's cable also stressed its hope that most or all of the individuals reported to have remained 'disappeared' after detention at the time the briefing was prepared would reappear alive.

• AI has sent the Peruvian Government case outlines on another 70 people reported to have 'disappeared' in the Emergency Zone on whom it has received dossiers. It also sent the names of 16 people reported to have 'disappeared' whose bodies have since been found.

AI Newsletter March 1985


Peru's Attorney General, Alvaro Rey de Castro, examining Amnesty International's Peru Briefing, which was published on 23 January 1984. He is reported to have said the briefing provided 'a call for reflection by the forces in charge of the suppression of terrorism', and by the government itself. The Attorney General heads Peru's Public Ministry, which has continued to make determined efforts to bring the facts of extrajudicial killings and the country's 1,000-plus 'disappearances' out into the open. Public Ministry representatives regularly and publicly protested about the obstruction of their work by police and military authorities in Peru's Emergency Zone.




When individuals expose the crimes of the state they are often punished as though they were criminals. A petition calling for the release of all political prisoners in Yugoslavia was sent to the Presidency in November 1980. One of those who had collected signatures for it was Dobroslav Paraga, a 19-year-old student of law and theology. The State Security Police arrested him without warrant on 21 November 1980 and at his trial in May 1981 he was found guilty of 'hostile propaganda' and 'participating in hostile activity'. His first sentence of three years' imprisonment was increased after more legal proceedings to four years. He was released on 21 November 1984, and wrote this letter to Amnesty International:

'During that time of persecution and suffering, I came to know your generous hearts, full of sympathy, full of solidarity, fraternal affection and ideal support. Your constant care for my fate and the efforts you took to publicize this ... did not permit injustice to triumph. My only crime was my concern for humanity.

'I passed 271 days in solitary confinement, often without the right to read or rest. Because of that my eyes have become weak. However for me that is all nothing in comparison with the great happiness of being able to feel authentic human solidarity and to gain, in you, such devoted friends. I pray that God enables you to feel my great gratitude and friendship. We are united by the same ideal: to do well for all people. You defend human rights, for me this is the greatest duty of every person. Unfortunately my rights are very limited, even annulled: I no longer have a passport and cannot travel outside Yugoslavia. This is why it is not possible for me to thank you in person and to make the direct acquaintance of those to whom I owe so much. However, I wish to remain your grateful brother who would like to give you more than possibilities and circumstances permit...'
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Re: Voices for Freedom: An Amnesty International Anthology

Postby admin » Tue May 10, 2016 8:39 am


Allegations that political suspects were routinely tortured in the custody of Iraq's security forces to extract confessions for use in evidence in court or to force detainees to renounce their political affiliations and join the ruling Ba'th party have long reached Amnesty International. In 1979 and 1980, 15 Iraqis who alleged that they had been tortured were interviewed and medically examined by a panel of Amnesty International doctors: their case histories were published in 'Iraq: Evidence of Torture' in 1981. This extract is from the paper 'Torture in Iraq 1982 --1984', published in 1985.

Ali Hama Salih, a 12-year-old Iraqi Kurd from the village of Ja'afevan in Sulaimanya Province. He was arrested on 25 February 1981 and detained for interrogation at Karadagh Security Headquarters. His corpse was subsequently handed back to his family badly marked by torture.

A former prisoner, aged 44, who was held in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib Central Prison between May 1982 and March 1984 submitted a testimony to Amnesty International in July 1984. He was one of 114 persons who had 'disappeared' since reportedly being arrested between 1979 and 1982 by Iraqi security forces. When approached by Amnesty International about these cases, the Iraqi Government had claimed that the names submitted by the organization were fictitious. However, the person concerned had apparently been arrested after refusing to collaborate with the secret service, and the report he submitted to Amnesty International regarding his places of detention, conditions of imprisonment and use of torture, was consistent with reports received by AI in the past.

The following details on prison conditions and torture methods are extracted from his testimony.

Description of prison conditions and alleged torture

In Baghdad Central Prison, 'the cells are 2 x 3.5 metres, very dark and completely covered in red/brown tiles. These cells were really intended for one person and for short periods of interrogation but in fact are used for long periods with up to 18 people at one time. In some of these small cells, people have been detained for several years ... a shower and open toilet are built in to each cell ... cold water is turned off and only turned on once a week for a couple of hours ... there are no visits from relatives, no correspondence and absolutely no information for the relatives of the whereabouts of the prisoners.

'There are some large cells with an area of approximately 50 square metres. One of these is specifically for female prisoners. With mass arrests or shortage of space the long corridors on both floors are also used. Steel poles are welded between the cell doors on both sides of the corridor at a height of about 20cm from the floor (this first happened in 1983) and the prisoners are handcuffed by one hand to this pole. In each of these large cells there are 80-130 prisoners, sometimes as many as 200. There is only one shower and an open lavatory for all of them. The air is foul and in order to sleep prisoners have to periodically swap places with one another.

'Medical treatment is very poor. Sick prisoners only receive medical treatment when they have reached a critical point. I have heard of many cases of death as a result of torture or appalling living conditions. In the large cellwhere I spent several months, we actually saw a man die in front of our eyes. It was the summer of 1983, there were approximately 130 people in the room, the air was very bad and extremely warm. An Iraqi prisoner fell unconscious, which often used to happen. We banged on the door to alert the guard. In the meantime, a prisoner (a doctor) tried to help him. When the guard and the doctor finally arrived it was far too late and he was already dead. He was about 30 years old, an electronics engineer, married with a small daughter.

'Approximately 50% of the prisoners were tortured. There are different methods of torture carried out in the torture chambers in the basement. At the entrance to the torture chamber there is a doormat with 'Welcome' written on it in English. Torture takes the form of: electric shocks, gas and cigarette burns; electric hot plates; hanging from the ceiling -- handcuffed; being stretched on a special machine with hands and feet bound; beatings with a heavy cable or high pressure hose/tube. The tortured prisoners who are usually unconscious are then simply carried back to their cells and dumped on the floor in full view of their fellow prisoners.

'The prisoners are treated very badly by the prison officers ... anyone who does not completely submit, or protests about anything, eg by going on hunger-strike, gets severely beaten with cables by the guards in front of the other prisoners ... the guards consider all the prisoners to be spies, traitors and dangerous elements.

'Occasionally (approximately twice a month), the prisoners are taken to an area without a roof (approximately 80 square metres) for fresh air and sport. It lasts about half an hour. The guards give the orders, whip in hand. The prisoners have to endure unbearable 'sporting activities'; the whole 'sports time' turns into a series of beatings and insults.'

Abu Ghraib Khassa (Abu Ghraib Special) 'is an extension for the secret service of the main Abu Ghraib prison, with a separate entrance. Abu Ghraib Special is extremely closely guarded by the secret service personnel ... There are four lavatories in the hall which have cold, filthy water. Three times a day the cell door is unlocked and you are allowed to go to the lavatories for a few minutes during which time you have to wash the bowl and fill up the water container. There are no showers, if you want to wash, or wash your hair, you are only allowed 10 minutes extra twice a month and again only cold water. If there are more than four in a cell the prisoners have to go to the lavatory in pairs. If they stay too long they are whipped and beaten by the guards. They make no exceptions, if a person needs to go to the toilet in the night they have to use the water containers in the cell ... From 7am to Ipm sleeping and speaking to other prisoners is strictly forbidden; anyone who breaks this rule and gets caught is severely punished. It is unbearably hot in summer and extremely cold in winter, particularly at night. There is no heating whatsoever. A mercury lamp burns constantly in each cell (even at night) ...'

Another case

An Iraqi doctor of medicine testified to Amnesty International in 1984 that he witnessed and was forced to participate 'in the taking of blood from prisoners which resulted in their death. According to his testimony, he was aware of approximately 1000 such operations having taken place during 1982 and 1983. The operations are reportedly directly controlled by Security Headquarters (Ri'asat al-Mukhabarat) in Baghdad, and carried out with the co-operation of a prison director and personnel of the Blood Bank Institute in Baghdad.

The following are extracts from his testimony:

'At Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad ... where I was told there are ... donors who want to donate blood '" the prison doctor took me to the prison hospital. I found there two persons in a shock state, immobile and who exhibited air hunger with rapid thready pulse and cold clammy skin. The prison doctor told me that those two prisoners were criminals and that he bled them under the influence of hypnotic drugs in order to benefit from their blood before they are executed. This doctor also told me that he has directives from Security Headquarters to use this method with important political persons so as to give the reason for the subsequent death as 'heart failure'. The directive also applies to criminals sentenced to death.'

On another occasion at the same prison:

'The prison doctor ... told me that he will bleed three persons and asked me to help him. When I refused, he told me the Security Headquarters demanded that this operation must be done under my supervision and that if I refused, they will jail me.

'Whenever there was a 'blood shortage', especially during the war, Blood Bank Mobile Units collected blood from secondary schools, colleges, factories and prisons. The collection of blood during the past three years was non-voluntary on many occasions and without full medical examination, especially in the factories and prisons. In these cases, the normal quantity allowed by the regulations is collected, however.'

His medical opinion is:

'When a person is bled (usually in each of the cases 3-5 pints of blood):

1. he becomes acutely anaemic and loses consciousness, due to insufficient blood supply to the brain. The state of unconsciousness is treated by feeding the person with salt water in a quantity equal to the amount of blood taken. This procedure prevents the immediate death of the person.

2. despite the fact that the body is compensated for the loss of liquids, the amount of haemoglobin remains very low (2-4ml per 100mm), which is insufficient for the functioning of the vital organs.

3. As a result of this, and after 3-5 days, the heart fails and the person suffers from a sharp drop in the heart's activities, which leads to a heart attack and death. Diagnosis shows death by heart attack, and the families of the dead person are officially informed of his death due to this reason.'

Published 1985



In the Philippines, a group of church workers planning a symposium on human rights were arrested by the police in 1981 and charged with 'subversion'. Among them were Purificacion and Rolieto Trinidad, both involved in peaceful community development work. Purificacion was taken to a regional police headquarters. Her husband was taken to an unidentified place of detention known in the Philippines as a 'safehouse', where he was reportedly ill-treated during interrogation. Both were refused access to family and lawyers. They were charged with possessing subversive materials and held for months awaiting trial. Both were adopted by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience.

In October 1983 Amnesty International issued a special medical appeal on behalf of Purificacion Trinidad after she had been transferred to hospital suffering from nervous depression and acute stomach pains. She was eventually released in December 1983 and reunited with her two young children. However, the Presidential Commitment Order which authorised her continued detention pending trial was not lifted. Rolieto was allowed to go home for Christmas and New Year.

However, he was not finally released until 28 February 1984, the day on which he and his wife were acquitted. In a card and poem from prison, sent to the Amnesty International members working on their behalf, the two prisoners wrote: 'Strong flexible bamboos do not fear the storm. They bend with the wind even as they stay firmly rooted to their grounds... '

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Re: Voices for Freedom: An Amnesty International Anthology

Postby admin » Tue May 10, 2016 8:39 am


Amnesty International works for the release of people imprisoned because of their refusal, on conscientious grounds, to perform military service. The following extract is from a paper issued in 1985 on the imprisonment of conscientious objectors to military service which included details and cases from 14 countries: Cyprus, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and the USSR.

1985 has been designated by the United Nations as International Youth Year. Its themes are: participation, development and peace. It seems appropriate, in this context, to draw attention to the plight of imprisoned conscientious objectors to military service. Hundreds of young people, in more than a dozen countries, are currently in prison because of their refusal on grounds of conscience to perform military service.

During the past decade, there has been a marked increase in tolerance towards conscientious objectors to military service. It has been many years since the last conscientious objector was sentenced to death. While legislation in some countries still prescribes severe sentences, imposition of such sentences is now rare. Many governments have liberalized their laws by broadening the grounds on which conscientious objection may be accepted, by simplifying recognition procedures and by increasing the possibilities for alternative service.

The present paper contains details on Amnesty International's concerns in 14 countries in which persons nevertheless continue to be imprisoned because of their conscientious objection to military service: Cyprus, Finland, France, Democratic Republic of Germany, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and the USSR. This is not an exhaustive list of countries where conscientious objectors are imprisoned but it is intended to illustrate Amnesty International's concerns in this area.

In some of these countries, there is no legal provision at all for conscientious objection to military service: persons objecting to military service on whatever grounds are routinely imprisoned. In other countries, only certain grounds for refusal (e.g. religious motives) are considered acceptable. All others lead to imprisonment. Prison sentences imposed on conscientious objectors vary from several weeks to four or five years in some cases. In some countries, conscientious objectors are again imprisoned if, after having served their sentence, they persist in refusing to perform military service. This may lead to several consecutive sentences for the same offence. Amnesty International is also concerned that in some countries the alternative service which recognized conscientious objectors are required to perform may be up to twice as long as ordinary military service. The organization opposes periods of alternative service which must be considered as a punishment for a person's conscientiously held convictions.

The right to refuse. military service for reasons of conscience is founded on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18) which provides for freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 18), the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Article 9), the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man (Article 3), the American Convention on Human Rights (Article 12) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Article 8) each provide for freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Limitations on the right to act in conformity with one's conscience can, under Article 29, paragraph 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, only be imposed 'for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedom of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.'

With a few exceptions, however, inter-governmental organizations have so far been reluctant explicitly to proclaim the right to refuse military service on conscientious grounds. On 26 January 1967 the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe -- an advisory body composed of members of parliament -- adopted Resolution 337 (1967) which sets out the basic principles of the right to conscientious objection to military service. The Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, however, has repeatedly refused to urge member-states to bring their legislation into line with these principles and to introduce the right of conscientious objection to military service into the European Convention on Human Rights. Nevertheless, the Council of Europe's Steering Committee for Human Rights is now elaborating a draft-recommendation on conscientious objection to military service for adoption by the Committee of Ministers.

At UN level, even less progress has been made. The question has been on the agenda of the UN Commission on Human Rights since 1971. Several questionnaires have been sent to, member-states and several reports have been prepared, but no UN body has ever adopted a comprehensive resolution proclaiming the right to conscientious objection to military service. On 20 December 1978 the U General Assembly adopted Resolution 33/165 by which it recognized 'the right of all persons to refuse military service in military or police forces which are used to enforce apartheid'. However, in March 1985 the UN Commission on Human Rights decided to defer until 1986 a draft-resolution which would have stated that 'conscientious objection to military service is a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.' The resolution would have appealed to states 'to take measures aimed at recognizing the right to be exempted from military service on the basis of a genuinely held conscientious objection to armed service.'

Amnesty International hopes that International Youth Year will provide an occasion for states to review their laws and practices and for inter-governmental organizations to make further progress with a view to ensuring respect for the right to refuse military service for reasons of conscience or profound conviction.

Published March 1985
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Re: Voices for Freedom: An Amnesty International Anthology

Postby admin » Tue May 10, 2016 9:16 am


In December 1975 Indonesian troops invaded East Timor. They have since systematically and persistently violated human rights in the territory. Amnesty International drew attention to this with its 1985 report 'East Timor, Violations of Human Rights, Extrajudicial Executions, 'Disappearances', Torture and Political Imprisonment' from which the following extracts come.


'No one who had links with Fretilin is safe; at any time people can be taken without their family knowing and put somewhere else: put in prison camp; or sometimes they just 'disappear.'' Father Leoneto Rego, a Portuguese priest who left East Timor in June 1979, describing the situation at the time of his departure. Maria Gorete Joaquim 'disappeared' in early 1979.

Since the invasion of December 1975 Indonesian troops have systematically and persistently violated human rights in East Timor. Amnesty International has received reports from a variety of sources of the 'disappearance' and arbitrary killing of non-combatants; of the torture and ill-treatment of people taken into the custody of Indonesian forces, including their detention in cruel and inhuman conditions; and of the imprisonment without charge or trial of people most often held on suspicion of opposing the Indonesian occupation. Since December 1983, when a number of East Timorese charged with political offences began to be brought to trial, Amnesty International has been concerned about the lack of fairness of these trials.

• The reports received by the organization have included accounts of hundreds of killings of noncombatant civilians during and shortly after the invasion itself; the systematic execution of hundreds of people who had surrendered to or been captured by Indonesian forces in 1978 and 1979; the 'disappearance' or killing of more than 80 men and women in 1980; the reprisal killing of some 200 villagers in 1983; and the killing of about 100 men in one incident in 1984.

• Prisoners are reported to have 'disappeared' after arrest on suspicion of links with Fretilin [Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste, Revolutionary Front of East Timor) forces; after interrogation in centres in Dili; after being taken out of temporary detention centres or official prisons. The fate of many of these 'disappeared' remains unknown.

• Prisoners are reported to have been tortured in 'resettlement villages' all over the territory and in interrogation centres in the capital. Tortures reported have included the use of electric shocks, beatings and the near-drowning of prisoners. A number of the alleged victims are feared to have died as a result of their ill-treatment.

• Arbitrary arrests and detentions are reported to have been carried out on a scale massive by any standard but particularly in relation to the territory's relatively small population: in one operation in 1981 up to 3,000 people are said to have been rounded up and deported to the island of Atauro, to live in conditions of squalor, disease and malnutrition.

• The reported victims of all these abuses have come from virtually the whole spectrum of East Timorese society, although most have been villagers living in small highland settlements.

Access to information

Amnesty International's information on East Timor cannot be regarded as complete and it is not possible to assess the full scale of violations. The strict controls imposed by the Indonesian forces have limited access to the territory and the flow of information out of it. The violations described in this report have occurred in a situation in which the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, association and movement have not existed and in the absence of the constraints of legality. People have been detained and ill-treated for asserting their right to these freedoms. Movement and communication within and beyond East Timor have been tightly controlled. East Timorese permitted to leave the territory to be reunited with their families abroad have been routinely warned by Indonesian intelligence officers before leaving not to reveal information which might discredit the Indonesian occupation and have been threatened with reprisals against themselves and their relatives still in East Timor if they do so. Amnesty International has not been able to visit East Timor. In March 1984 it wrote to the Indonesian Minister of Justice asking to attend trials of political detainees then in progress in Dili. This request was refused on the grounds that the trials were a matter of domestic jurisidiction and were being conducted in accordance with international norms.

Despite these circumstances, Amnesty International has accumulated a large body of information on its concerns in East Timor. Some of this information has been documentary, comprising published reports, accounts written and passed on to Amnesty International in confidence and other confidential material, including copies of interrogation reports by the Indonesian authorities. Among these documents are official interrogation reports on prisoners taken into the custody of Indonesian forces.

Military manuals

In July 1983 Amnesty International received a set of military manuals issued to Indonesian troops serving in East Timor. These manuals, among other things, contain guidelines which appear to permit the use of torture and the issuing of threats on the lives of prisoners being interrogated. Although Indonesian officials have repeatedly tried to cast doubt on the authenticity of these documents, neither they nor anyone else has produced any evidence that might indicate that they are false. Indonesian officials have correctly stated that the Ministry of Defence and Security (HANKAM) never published the manuals, but Amnesty International is not aware of any claims that the Ministry did so. The manuals appear to have been written by officers of the Command for East Timor for local use and to have no application beyond East Timor.

Experts on Indonesia asked by Amnesty International to examine the documents were satisfied that they were genuine on the basis of the military terminology used, the nature of the charts and diagrams included, the format and style, the official stamps and their detailed comprehension of military organizational structure and tactics.

Indonesian officials have argued against the authenticity of the manuals largely on the grounds that it would, in the words of the country's Foreign Minister, Dr Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, be 'fantastic' that a manual prescribing the use of torture should have been issued. But the documents do not deal exclusively with torture. They are not 'torture manuals' and Amnesty International has never referred to them as such.

There are nine manuals in all covering a wide range of strategic problems, such as how to break up Fretilin support networks, the system of security in towns and resettlement villages, how to provide comprehensive guidance for villages, and procedures for interrogating captives. The reference to -- and clear acceptance of the use of -- torture is contained in a subsection of the manual on interrogation methods. Guidelines in the manuals on breaking up the Fretilin support networks and on the system of security in towns and 'resettlement villages' appear to permit interrogators to threaten the lives of prisoners.

First-hand evidence from other sources that military personnel have persistently resorted to torture and that people taken into custody by Indonesian troops have been arbitrarily executed tends to confirm Amnesty International's belief that the manuals are authentic. In any event, these manuals are only one part of the extensive evidence available on torture and other human rights violations in East Timor.

Other information has come from people interviewed by Amnesty International- they were generally unwilling to be identified by name. They included people who, because of work, position or family relationship, claimed to have knowledge of particular violations. Amnesty International also interviewed people who said they themselves had been the victims of human rights violations; they included former prisoners, people who said they had been tortured and others who gave accounts of how they had survived mass executions. Some of these informants have been affiliated with one or another East Timorese political grouping. However, Amnesty International has not relied exclusively on sources identified with anyone political party or social or religious grouping in East Timor ...

Offensives against Fretilin

After the Indonesian attack on Dili on 7 December 1975, Fretilin forces withdrew south to Aileu and, when that town fell, to Ainaro in the mountains. Official Indonesian sources reported in January 1976 that Indonesian forces controlled a third of the territory, although in April 1976 Fretilin claimed that its forces still controlled 80 per cent of East Timor. The available information suggests that Indonesian forces were slow to consolidate their position outside the main towns. A series of localized campaigns from September 1977 until early 1979, involving massive aerial bombardment of areas thought to be under Fretilin control, led to the capture and surrender of many thousands of East Timorese, who were often driven out of the bush by hunger. A delegation of diplomats and journalists which visited East Timor in September 1978 at the invitation of the Indonesian Government reported that captured and surrendered East Timorese whom they had seen in 'resettlement camps' were evidently suffering from serious malnutrition.

By November 1979 the Indonesian Foreign Minister acknowledged that the food situation might be worse than that 'in Biafra or Cambodia'.

In March 1979 Indonesian authorities proclaimed the end of Operasi Seroya (Operation Lotus), launched at the time of the invasion, and announced that thenceforth East Timor would be fully under civilian administration. However, resistance to the Indonesian occupation persisted, with continuing reports of attacks by Fretilin on Indonesian outposts. In an effort to eliminate this resistance, Indonesian forces launched dry-season offensives, involving the conscription of large numbers of the population.

The offensives included the April to September 1981 Operasi Keamanan (Operation Security), in which many thousands of civilians aged between 15 and 55 (according to the Indonesian authorities) are reported to have been deployed in human 'fences' to converge on remaining Fretilin positions. Hundreds of East Timorese reportedly died as a result of sickness or were killed during this operation.

A cease fire between the two sides was agreed in March 1983 but later broke down and in August 1983 large numbers of additional Indonesian troops were brought to East Timor in yet another operation Operasi Sapu Bersih (Operation Clean-Sweep) aimed at eliminating Fretilin. An Australian parliamentary delegation which visited East Timor in July 1983 was informed by the Indonesian military commander of East Timor that Fretilin had about 300 members under arms and a total strength of between 1,000 and 2,000, including members' relatives.

In late 1984 and early 1985 Fretilin was still reported to be launching attacks on administrative posts. The Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian armed forces, General Benyamin Moerdani, stated in December 1984 that 7,000 Indonesian troops were in the territory and that Fretilin had an estimated 700 members under arms, 1,000 'active members' and 3,000 to 5,000 'sympathizers'.

Estimates from a wide range of sources of the number of people who have died in East Timor since the invasion directly as a result of the armed conflict are as high as 200,000, about a third of the pre-invasion population. In April 1977 the then Indonesian Foreign Minister, Adam Malik, said between 50,000 and 80,000 people had died - this was before the worst of the bombardment and famine had begun. Those who had died included people killed during Indonesian bombardments, in armed encounters, as a result of famine and disease -- both in the bush and after surrender or capture -- as well as many hundreds reportedly executed after surrender or capture.

Published July 1985



All political prisoners were released in Sudan in April 1985 when the army overthrew President Gaafar Mohamed Nimeiri's government after several days of non-violent demonstrations and a general strike.

Crowds of people went to prisons which held political detainees who were freed at their demand. The new Transitional Military Council subsequently decreed a formal amnesty for all political prisoners. Many prisoners of conscience adopted by Amnesty International were among those freed, together with several hundred political opponents detained without trial over the past six years, and large numbers of others arrested in the recent demonstrations, including officials of organizations of lawyers, doctors, engineers, academics and students.

In Khartoum some of the prisoners released from Kober prison celebrated in the streets, holding aloft the chains with which condemned prisoners were shackled for execution. A crowd gathered at the prison gallows, where Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, the 72-year-old leader of the Republican Brothers movement, had been hanged four months earlier after being summarily convicted of subversion and apostasy. The crowd destroyed the platform and chairs in the prison where over 100 prisoners convicted of theft during the previous 16 months had had either a hand or a hand and foot amputated.

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Re: Voices for Freedom: An Amnesty International Anthology

Postby admin » Tue May 10, 2016 9:17 am


Widespread civil unrest affected black townships in many parts of South Africa during 1984 and 1985. On 20 July 1985 the South African Government imposed a state of emergency throughout large areas of the country, which extended the powers of the security forces and granted them immunity in advance for any acts committed under those new powers. The following paper on detentions under the state of emergency was issued by Amnesty International to its members on 6 August 1985.

More than 1100 critics and opponents of the South African Government's apartheid policies, including former prisoners of conscience, were detained by security police in the first week following the imposition of a state of emergency throughout large areas of South Africa from midnight on 20 July 1985. Those detained are held incommunicado and are believed to be in solitary confinement. Their places of detention have not been disclosed and they may be held for unlimited periods. The security police are not required to bring charges against the detainees nor to provide reasons for their imprisonment without trial. Amnesty International fears that some detainees may be tortured or ill-treated: they are liable to interrogation by security police who have been granted immunity in advance against prosecution for any acts committed in connection with their use of emergency powers.

The state of emergency was imposed by State President PW Botha under provisions of the Public Security Act, No.3 of 1953. This empowers the State President to declare an emergency either nationally or in specific localities if, in his opinion, 'the safety of the public, or the maintenance of public order is seriously threatened' and 'the ordinary law of the land is inadequate to enable the Government to ensure the safety of the public, or to maintain public order'. In all, 36 magisterial districts were placed under a state of emergency. Eighteen of these are located in the Transvaal, incorporating Johannesburg and Soweto and areas to the south - the 'Vaal Triangle' - and the east - the East Rand. In the Eastern Cape, some 17 districts, comprising Port Elizabeth and the surrounding area, were placed under the emergency. In Orange Free State province, one district only - Sasolburg - was placed under the state of emergency. Emergency powers were not invoked in the Western Cape or Natal. However, in imposing the emergency, the government made it clear that it might be extended to further districts which might be affected by black civil unrest.

Once a state of emergency is declared, the government is empowered under the Public Security Act to issue special regulations which remain in force throughout the duration of the state of emergency. This was done by the State President on 21 July 1985 by proclamation R.121 of 1985. The regulations so issued extended police powers of stop and search and conferred on the police and other law enforcement personnel, including the military, wide powers of arbitrary arrest and detention without trial. Section 3 of the regulations empowers the police or other law enforcement personnel, of whatever rank, to arrest any person within the emergency area without warrant and detain them without charges for 14 days. Further detention on an unlimited basis may then be authorized at the end of this initial two week period by the Minister of Law and Order, at his discretion. Detainees are held incommunicado and are not permitted contact with other categories of prisoners or anyone other than state officials. The police are not required to charge them or produce evidence against them in court, nor do the detainees have any means of appeal against their detention. The authorities need not give any reasons for individual detentions, nor are detainees' places of imprisonment disclosed. Under the emergency regulations, it was also made an offence punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment for any person to disclose the name of any detainee without prior written authorization from the Minister of Law and Order or his representative.

The emergency regulations also confer on the police the power arbitrarily to impose curfews, control the dissemination of news, close any public or private place, control entry to and departure from particular areas, and remove from any area any person or section of the public in the interests of 'public order'. In addition, the Commissioner of Police and officers acting on his authority were empowered to take any action which they might consider 'necessary or expedient' in connection with the safety of the public or the maintenance of public order. At the same time, the government granted immunity in advance to all members of the police and other law enforcement personnel, government ministers and state officials for any acts committed 'in good faith' in connection with their use of emergency powers. In the case of any dispute, the onus of proof lies with the complainant to show that a particular act was not committed 'in good faith'.

A disturbing feature, given these immunity provisions and the past record of the security police with respect to physical and psychological abuse of detainees, is that all those detained under the emergency are liable to interrogation and may therefore be at grave risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment.

Security police raids on the homes of critics and political opponents of the government commenced shortly after the emergency took effect on Sunday, 21 July. More than 100 people were detained during the first day that the emergency was in force: by the end of July the total number of detainees had risen to more than 1300. Those arrested included many members of black student organizations, in particular the Congress of South African Students (COSAS), and community organizations in black townships throughout the Johannesburg and Eastern Cape areas. Many of these organizations are affiliated to the anti-apartheid United Democratic Front (UDF). This was formed in 1983 to campaign against government racial policies, in particular the constitutional changes which were effected in 1984 and which extended the vote to the 'Coloured' (i.e. mixed race) and Indian minorities but perpetuated the exclusion of the black majority population from any voice in central government. By the time of the declaration of the emergency, many DF leaders had already been imprisoned for 'political reasons or were awaiting trial on treason charges. They include a number of prisoners of conscience adopted by Amnesty International.

Others detained during the first week of the emergency included at least 11 black church ministers, several of whom had previously been active in attempting to calm the situation in the black townships and to reduce the level of confrontation between the black population and the police. Officials and members of predominantly black trade unions were also among those detained. For example, those detained in the Port Elizabeth area included most of the leadership of the locally-based Motor Assemblers and Component Workers Union of South Africa (MACWUSA), an unregistered black trade union deriving its support from black motor industry workers.

Political detainees held under the emergency powers have virtually no rights and may be subjected to a variety of punishments for what are termed 'disciplinary contraventions'. The contraventions, and the general conditions under which emergency detainees are to be held, were defined in a series of 'Rules' issued by the Minister of Justice on 21 July. They provided that detainees may be held either in prisons or police cells and required that they should be searched on committal. The Rules stipulate that the detainees should be held incommunicado and are to have no contact with other categories of prisoners. However, provision was made for individual visits to detainees if approved by the Minister of Law and Order or the Commissioner of Police. During such visits, no physical contact between the detainee and visitor is permitted and they must communicate in either English or Afrikaans, the official South African languages, neither of which is the mother tongue of most of those detained, or else have a police or prisons officer act as interpreter. There is no requirement that emergency detainees be visited on a regular basis by magistrates or the specially appointed inspectors of detainees who are required to visit other political detainees held under Section 29 of the Internal Security Act. However, the Rules imply that there may be some inspection of detainees' conditions and they do require that all detainees should be medically examined by a district surgeon, a government-employed doctor, on admission to their place of detention who should thereafter visit them 'regularly'. Provision is also made for ministers of religion to have access to detainees but the police may deny access to specific ministers.

Police disperse students demonstrating against the state of emergency, Cape Town, South Africa, August 1985.

Mourners on their way to a funeral in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, April 1985.

Detainees held under the emergency are not permitted to communicate with the outside world through correspondence. They may not receive or send out letters, except with the express permission of the officer in charge of their place of imprisonment and the Commissioner of Police. or are they permitted reading matter other than the Bible or other holy books such as the Koran. They are not permitted to study in detention and they may not use radios or record players, though 'they may be allowed to listen' where internal broadcasts of music or radio programs are arranged by the staff in charge of the place of detention. The Rules regulating detention conditions provide that detainees be permitted to exercise in the open air for at least one hour per day and permit them to wear civilian clothing. They are not allowed to receive food parcels, cigarettes or other articles sent in from outside, but small amounts of money may be received and credited to them, for use within the place of imprisonment for purchasing cigarettes and toiletries. There is no requirement that detainees work, except that they must keep clean their own place of detention, including the ablution facilities. To fail to do so would be to incur punishment for committing one of the 'disciplinary contraventions' as they are officially termed. In all, there are no less than 20 such contraventions listed in the Rules, infringement of which may led to detainees being subjected by the authorities in charge of the place of detention to a range of punishments including up to 30 days' solitary confinement in an isolation cell and corporal punishment.

The disciplinary contraventions include deliberately replying falsely to a member of the detaining staff, disobeying 'a lawful command or order' and being 'insolent or disrespectful' towards a police officer or other official. Detainees are prohibited also from communicating with any other detainee or other person when held 'at a place where it is not permissible for him to do so' or from leaving their 'allocated sleeping or eating place' without permission. A detainee who 'sings, whistles or makes unnecessary noise' or is 'a nuisance', is also liable to punishment under the disciplinary code, as is any detainee who 'disfigures or damages' any part of the place in which he is being detained or any other state property. Other provisions suggest that anyone who goes on hunger strike will be punished: it is a disciplinary contravention to act in any manner 'contrary to good order and discipline' or to cause 'discontent, agitation or insubordination' and participate 'in any conspiracy'. Those detainees who make complaints may also jeopardize their own situation further if the complaints are regarded by the authorities as 'false, frivolous or malicious'. Likewise, detainees who are considered 'idle, careless or negligent' or who refuse to clean the place where they are detained, including its sanitary facilities, are liable to punishment.

Punishments under the disciplinary code may be imposed either by a prison officer or the magistrate responsible for the district in which the place of detention is situated. The penalties for disciplinary contraventions include the requirement that the detainee should undertake 'certain specific work' in the prison for up to 14 days; solitary confinement with full diet for up to 30 days; corporal punishment up to a maximum of six strokes with a cane, but only when the victim is a man 'apparently under the age of 40 years' and when no other punishment has been imposed in respect of the same contravention. Detainees may also be sentenced to imprisonment in solitary confinement for periods up to 30 days during which they receive what is termed 'spare diet' on not less than 18 days, 'reduced diet' on six days and the full prison diet on the remaining six days.

The imposition of the state of emergency follows widespread civil unrest affecting black townships in many parts of South Africa. The government asserts that this unrest has been provoked by political agitators but others maintain that its real cause is the sense of grievance many black people have over issues such as local rent increases, the poor standard of facilities available to black school students under the racially-segregated educational system and the constitutional changes put into effect in 1984. After simmering unrest in many black townships during the early part of 1984, serious unrest broke out in early September 1984 in the area south of Johannesburg generally known as the 'Vaal Triangle', in particular in the townships known as Sharpeville, Sebokeng and Evaton. They appear to have been sparked off by local rent increases and the arrest of black community leaders who had opposed the constitutional changes, which were in the process of implementation in August and September. There were attacks by township residents on local black town councillors and black police officers, who were identified popularly as representatives of the authorities. Substantial police contingents, and subsequently army units, were deployed in the area and there was a further escalation of violence which extended in late 1984 and early 1985 into the Eastern Cape and East Rand, in particular, and parts of Orange Free State province. Large numbers of black township residents were shot by police and many were killed. The most serious single incident of this nature occurred in the Eastern Cape on 21 March 1985, the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville killings, when police opened fire on a funeral procession near Uitenhage. This incident was subsequently the subject of a judicial commission of inquiry which found that 20 black people, including several children, had been killed and others wounded. The police, who had been equipped with firearms and lethal ammunition but no other means of crowd dispersal on orders from above, were exonerated by the inquiry although at least 15 of those killed were found to have been shot in the back. There have been many further police shootings of civilians since the Uitenhage killings on 21 March 1985, particularly in the Eastern Cape area, and many people have been killed as a result. Since early September 1984, the total number of deaths associated with the unrest is reported to number around 500. Most are as a result of shootings by the police.

Amnesty International has expressed great concern to the South African Government about the imposition of the state of emergency and the arrest and detention of large numbers of critics and opponents of apartheid, many of whom are believed to be prisoners of conscience. In particular, the organization has stressed its fear that those held may be tortured in detention or may 'disappear'. It is especially disturbing that detainees are being held incommunicado at secret locations by security police who are known to use torture on an extensive scale and who have been granted immunity in advance for any acts they commit. Amnesty International has urged the South African Government to withdraw immediately police powers of arbitrary arrest and detention without trial, remove the shield of immunity which has been extended to the police and other officials, and guarantee that all detainees are safeguarded against torture or other forms of ill-treatment. The organization has called also for the release of all prisoners of conscience and to bring to trial promptly or release all other detainees.

Published August 1985
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Re: Voices for Freedom: An Amnesty International Anthology

Postby admin » Tue May 10, 2016 10:36 pm



Lilian Celiberti was sent to prison in 1981 by a military court in Uruguay. She had been abducted from her home in exile in Brazil and, after being brought across the border illegally by security agents, was falsely charged with trying to enter Uruguay surreptitiously with 'subversive' literature. Her two small children, Camilo aged eight and Francesca aged three, were abducted with her. Tortured, and told she would never see them again, she signed a false confession in order to secure their release.

Amnesty International adopted Lilian Celiberti as a prisoner of conscience. Her case was allocated to an Amnesty International group in Italy. For five years the group worked ceaselessly on her behalf, sending around 600 letters and appeals to the Uruguayan authorities, to which they received not a single reply. They succeeded in contacting 66 Italian members of parliament to obtain their help in the case; having a question raised in the Italian and European parliaments; contacting an Italian delegation going to Uruguay; asking numerous Italian lawyers to intervene with the President of the Uruguayan Supreme Military Tribunal; having news of her case broadcast on Italian television.

The group also entered into regular correspondence with Lilian's parents. This enabled the group to keep track of the little children and to raise money for clothing and travel assistance so that the children could visit their mother in prison. On 17 November 1983 Lilian Celiberti was released after completing her sentence.

A month later she wrote to the Amnesty International group in Italy: 'You have been present during all these years with a constancy and dedication which has accompanied me in the worst moments, giving me strength and joy. I remember clearly the emotion I felt on returning to my cell after one of the fortnightly visits, the only time I talked to anyone, having learned about your letters. The solidarity that is expressed over oceans of distance gives strength and faith in one's solitude, and helps one confront the repressive apparatus by keeping one's human integrity and its essential values intact ...'.


If you are interested in learning more about the work of Amnesty International, you can contact the local section or group in your area, or write to the International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, London WCIX 8DJ, United Kingdom.

USA: Amnesty International USA
National Office, Publications Dept.
322 Eighth Avenue,
New York, NY 10001

CANADA: Amnesty International USA
Canadian Section (English Speaking)
130 Slater Street, Suite 800
Ottawa, Ontario KIP 6E2

Amnistie Internationale
Section Canadienne
3516 ave du Parc
Montreal, Quebec H2X 2H7


Front Cover: Brian Smith
Back Cover: Jean Claude Francolon Gamma
Alfred Gamma: page 55
Associated Press: pages 24, 25 (bottom), 51,73,77,88 (two), 93 (bottom), 97, 107 (bottom), 190,203 (bottom)
Camera Press: pages 34, 40, 43, 44, 82, 89, 119
Deutsche Presse-Agentur: page 35
Gamma: pages 70, 150 (three), 176
Chas Gerretsen: page 79
David Hawk, 1981: pages 155, 159
Tim Jarvis: page 203 (top)
Keystone: pages 32, 64
Magnum: page 116
Susan Meiselas Magnum: page 161
Ghislaine Morel Gamma: page 59
Network: pages 135, 136
Judah Passow Network: page 38 (left)
Press Association: page 162
Popperfoto: pages 21,22 (two), 25 (top), 28, 29, 53, 54, 101, 111, 149, 153 (top), 187
R. Sharma: page 14
Chris Steele-Perkins: page 180
Tass Popperfoto: page 185
The Guardian: page 66

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