The sudden departure on May 29 of visiting Jakarta governor, General Sutiyoso, after being asked to give evidence at the inquest into the death of Brian Peters in East Timor in 1975, further incriminates him in the plot to kill five Australian journalists in Balibo, East Timor, in 1975. According to deputy NSW state coroner Dorelle Pinch, Sutiyoso had allegedly been part of Team Susi, one of the Indonesian military units in Balibo when the journalists were killed. It has taken 32 years for there to be an inquest into the murder of the Balibo Five. Mark Tedeschi QC, counsel assisting the coroner, told the court that eyewitness accounts provided incontrovertible evidence that the men were not caught in crossfire when Indonesian troops attacked Balibo, but were deliberately killed by Indonesian soldiers after they tried to surrender. Witnesses gave evidence that the Gough Whitlam government knew of the Balibo executions within hours of them being carried out. Below, SHIRLEY SHACKLETON, the widow of Greg Shackleton, one of the five who was murdered, recounts some of the bloody struggle for self-determination.
I held such hope for the Sydney Coroner's inquest into the death of Brian Peters, one of the Balibo Five in East Timor in 1975, because we were promised an open court. But now the rules have been changed to allow vital evidence to be given "in camera", which gives Commonwealth bureaucrats the opportunity to censor that evidence.