Critic of Suharto's Timor policy harassed


By Sri Kristianti

JAKARTA — Well-known sociologist and lecturer George Aditjondro has publicly criticised the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Aditjondro, from the prestigious private Satya Wacana University in Java and a popular columnist in Tempo news weekly, told Kerry O'Brien on ABC's Lateline that 271 people were killed in the 1991 Dili massacre, not the 50 or so stated by the Indonesian government.

Aditjondro also told O'Brien that he was trying to break through the veil of secrecy on East Timor in Indonesia.

This is the first time an established and well-known Indonesian has publicly and unambiguously questioned government policy on East Timor. Some student and human rights activist groups, such as INFIGHT in 1991 and Progres magazine, have supported the East Timorese liberation struggle, but these groups, while growing in influence, do not have the media impact or influence of such a figure as Aditjondro.

Aditjondro made it very clear that his researches and visits to East Timor all lead to the conclusion that the East Timorese people did not support integration with Indonesia. "If the people support integration", he told O'Brien, "why are there eight battalions of Indonesian troops in East Timor? Why are there so many intelligence agents in Dili?"

On March 23, Aditjondro held a press conference at the Legal Aid Foundation in Jakarta where he repeated his claims. He stated that his findings on the massacre were based on information supplied by a Lisbon-based organisation which had the names, addresses and backgrounds of all the victims. The data was compiled by East Timor health and church officials in Dili.

The same day the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attacked Aditjondro, categorically denying all his claims.

On March 24 at approximately 11.00pm, Aditjondro's residence in Salatiga, East Java, was attacked by a mob who pelted his house with stones. According to activists here, incidents of this kind have happened before. Some years ago, the house of outspoken critic Arief Budiman was attacked under similar circumstances.

There are reports that the military is now applying pressure on Satya Wacana University for Aditjondro to be sacked.