20 September 2009

Timor Leste torture witness fears reprisals

Sydney Morning Herald CATHARINE MUNRO September 17, 2009 - AN ALLEGED victim of torture in East Timor says he regrets talking to the Australian Federal Police because he is now in danger after the man he accused flew out of Australia.

The journalist Jose Belo was interviewed in Dili earlier this year over his allegations that a fellow Dili resident, Guy Campos, had collaborated with Indonesian special forces when they tortured him in 1995.

''I put myself in danger by talking to the AFP,'' Mr Belo said. ''If Mr Campos comes back to this country I will come to him and reconcile with him and I will forget justice from a Western country … I am very, very disappointed with the Australian Government.''

Mr Campos left Australia on Monday for Indonesia having entered the country last year on a World Youth Day visa. He was identified in Sydney by the sister of 11-year-old Francisco Ximines, who Mr Campos had beaten to death in 1979 while trying to extract information.

Clinton Fernandes, Australia's principal East Timor analyst in 1998-99, told the Herald last year that Mr Campos was convicted of the crime in East Timor. A higher court acquitted him.

The Greens senator Bob Brown accused the Government of helping Mr Campos. ''It is not just remiss; this is by deliberation. It is a shameful day for injustice.''

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions had asked federal police to continue investigating Mr Campos but charges were not laid before he left. He had applied for refugee status and been granted a bridging visa which expired yesterday. Had he not left, the Attorney-General could have stopped him from being deported while the investigation continued.

The federal police said yesterday that it did ''not have sufficient evidence to proceed with any charge against Mr Campos at this time''.

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