The federal government is pursuing criminal prosecutions against a former secret agent and his lawyer for allegedly revealing Australia had bugged East Timor cabinet meetings during negotiations over the Timor Sea boundary. Paul Oboohov spoke to Timor Sea Justice Forum's Susan Connelly about the case.
East Timor bugging
The Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT), a Timorese activist group based in Dili, condemned the Australian government on August 9 for its ongoing prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery, over the exposure of Australian secret service bugging of Timorese government offices, labelling it as an "attack on freedom of expression and democracy".
The federal Attorney General’s case against a defendant dubbed “Witness K” began in the ACT Magistrates Court on September 12. Media reports say Witness K is a serving Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) officer.
Activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) are mobilising public support in Timor-Leste for former Australian spy "Witness K" and his lawyer Bernard Collaery, whose trial began in Canberra on September 12.
On July 29, activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (Movimento Kontra Okupasun Tasi Timor, MKOTT) held an overnight vigil for the "Death of democracy in Australia" outside Hotel Timor, in Dili, where Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop is staying during her official visit to Timor-Leste.
In an extraordinary and moving act, Timorese people have taken to Facebook to express their solidarity with Witness K, the Australian spy who exposed the bugging by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) of the Timorese PM's office during critical negotiations over the maritime boundary between these two countries, and his lawyer Bernard Collaery. On July 25, Timorese protestors will march on the Australian embassy in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste (East Timor).
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has called on the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to investigate the role of intelligence services in the bugging of East Timor's cabinet rooms while the two nations were negotiating a deal on accessing offshore oil deposits. Wilkie has the support of Tasmanian Greens Senator Nick McKim and South Australian Senators Tim Storer and Rex Patrick.