Tag Archives: Timor Leste

Australia/Timor Leste: Australia urged to return $5bn to Timor-Leste and launch royal commission

October 18, 2019

Senate inquiry told Australia should also drop prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery

Australia’s negotiations with Timor-Leste should be the subject of a royal commission, and the government should return $5bn unfairly taken from the impoverished nation, a parliamentary inquiry has been told.

It should also drop the prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery, who revealed the now infamous bugging of Timorese delegates during negotiations on what became the CMATS treaty.

A Senate standing committee is examining decisions made by Australia in 2002, amid fractious maritime border negotiations with Timor-Leste, to withdraw from the jurisdictions of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Among the seven published submissions – none of which come from the Australian government – high profile Timorese organisations, allies and academics, supported the return, and called on Australia to be held accountable for its conduct.

Submissions also called for the government to drop the prosecutions of Witness K and Bernard Collaery.

Bracks and academic Clinton Fernandes noted it occurred around the time that Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists bombed Australia’s embassy in Jakarta.

“Surely our Asis resources should have been targeting the ‘war on terror’, and not facilitating Australia’s economic exploitation of a friendly, desperately poor and recently traumatised neighbour?” Bracks said.

Timor-Leste later sought to have the CMATS treaty terminated by the Hague after the bugging operation was revealed in 2013, but Witness K was prevented by Australia from attending the hearing to give evidence, and both he and Collaery have faced charges in extraordinarily controversial circumstances.

Bracks said he had “no doubt” that Xanana Gusmao would not have signed the treaty had he known Witness K and Collaery would be charged soon after.

Submissions to the inquiry have closed, although requests for an extension can be made. A report is expected on 28 November.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/19/australia-urged-to-return-5bn-to-timor-leste-and-launch-royal-commission

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6443314/amicus-bid-dismissed-in-spying-case/

https://7news.com.au/news/crime/court-stops-amicus-bid-in-bugging-case-c-508237

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/east-timor-prosecutions-public-forum-tickets-73219101303

https://sakibawan.com/human-rights/the-case-against-witness-k-and-bernard-collaery

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/oct/21/australian-newspapers-black-out-front-pages-to-fight-back-against-secrecy-laws

https://www.smh.com.au/national/with-greater-powers-must-come-greater-accountability-20191018-p5323k.html

https://honisoit.com/2019/10/murdoch-university-sues-staff-whistleblower-over-four-corners-comments/

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/oct/21/australian-newspapers-black-out-front-pages-to-fight-back-against-secrecy-laws

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/22/witness-k-lawyer-warns-many-whistleblowers-have-nowhere-to-go

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/lawyers-risk-jail-in-press-freedom-fight/news-story/5337fc9356ed72d2af36f57797b05af2

https://7news.com.au/politics/afghan-whistleblower-case-back-in-court-c-521807

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Collaery

https://www.change.org/p/christian-porter-drop-the-charges-against-bernard-collaery-witness-k (SIGN THE PETITION!)

Indonesia/Australia: One of Indonesia’s most wanted people says she won’t be silenced, despite daily death threats

October 4, 2019

Veronica Koman in Sydney.

EXCLUSIVE: As violence in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia reaches its “darkest” point in 20 years, Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman says she will continue to speak out despite daily death threats.

A pro-Papuan lawyer who has been threatened with an Interpol Red Notice says she receives daily rape and death threats as the uprising in the Indonesian provinces ramp up.

Veronica Koman, a respected Indonesian human rights lawyer, now lives in Australia but continues to be pursued by the Indonesian government for allegedly disseminating evidence of security forces carrying out violence in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.

“I started to receive death threats two years ago and it’s almost like a daily experience now to receive death and rape threats online,” the 31-year-old told SBS News in an exclusive interview.

“They’re trying to kill the messenger. They cannot refute my data, all the footage they cannot refute that so they’re trying to destroy my credibility.”

 

Ms Koman became involved in the West Papuan struggle for independence in 2014 after five protesters were allegedly killed and another 17 injured by the Indonesian military in an event known as the Paniai killings.

“I thought at the time … ‘wow, why is there no outrage? School children are killed by security forces,'” she said.

“It has become my personal mission to expose what’s happening in West Papua.”

Last week, the provinces – which share a border with Papua New Guinea – suffered one of their bloodiest days in 20 years, with at least 33 people killed in the central town of Wamena.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/one-of-indonesia-s-most-wanted-people-says-she-won-t-be-silenced-despite-daily-death-threats

https://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the-world/2019-10-03/this-is-bigger-than-us-:-activist-vows-to-keep/11572810

https://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/article.aspx?id=298535

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/threats-against-and-judicial-harassment-human-rights-lawyer-veronica-koman

https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4733800/veronica-koman-buka-suara-di-media-australia-kemlu-anggap-tak-pantas (INDONESIAN)

https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4734501/tampil-di-media-veronica-koman-diingatkan-soal-beasiswa (INDONESIAN)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20191004085943-20-436653/buka-suara-veronica-koman-sebut-terima-ancaman-pembunuhan (INDONESIAN)

https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronica_Koman (INDONESIAN)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/profile/veronica-koman (FRANCAIS)

Australia/Timor Leste: Australia’s quest for national security is undermining the courts and could lead to secretive trials

October 2, 2019

Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery. Picture: Jamila Toderas

This is part of a new series looking at the national security challenges facing Australia, how our leaders are responding to them through legislation and how these measures are impacting society. Read other stories in the series here.


In August, the intelligence officer known as Witness K indicated he would plead guilty to a conspiracy charge under section 39 of the Intelligence Services Act. That section prohibits the disclosure of information acquired or prepared by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

His lawyer, Bernard Collaery, will contest the same charge in the ACT Supreme Court.

Concerns have been raised about the use of the National Security Information Act (NSIA) in the Collaery trial. Anthony Whealy, a former judge who presided over several of Australia’s recent terrorism trials, said

This could be one of the most secretive trials in Australian history.

Both cases will be back in court this month. A hearing is also scheduled to consider how national security information will be dealt with in the Collaery trial.

There has been significant media discussion around the ASIS bugging that Witness K and Bernard Collaery exposed, but less about the NSIA.

So what is the National Security Information Act? Why was it introduced and how could it lead to secretive trials?

https://theconversation.com/australias-quest-for-national-security-is-undermining-the-courts-and-could-lead-to-secretive-trials-122638

https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6418831/unattractive-orders-on-bugging-case/

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/oct/02/judge-handling-witness-k-case-risks-10-years-jail-if-he-breaches-secrecy-provisions

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6418503/judge-raises-concerns-about-ags-proposed-orders-in-east-timor-spying-case/?cs=14264

https://www.hrlc.org.au/news/2019/10/6/witness-k-case-in-court-tomorrow

https://7news.com.au/politics/timor-spying-case-returns-to-act-court-c-492142

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6443314/private-citizens-bid-to-be-heard-in-east-timor-bugging-case-shut-down/

https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6443452/court-stops-amicus-bid-in-bugging-case/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Collaery

Australia/Timor Leste: Australia: Drop the Collaery prosecution: an interview with Greg Barnes from Australian Lawyers Alliance

September 18, 2019

Sydney Criminal Lawyers

As Australian barrister Bernard Collaery is set to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court over charges of conspiring to communicate secret information, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has stepped forward and called for his prosecution to be dropped.

With the approval of attorney general Christian Porter, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) laid charges in May 2018 against Collaery and his client, Witness K, over revealing information regarding an ASIS operation that involved the bugging of the Timor Leste government.

Under the cover of an Australian aid refurbishment program, Witness K was charged with bugging the Timor Leste-East Timor cabinet office, so Australia could gain the upper hand in treaty negotiations over oil and gas fields in the Timor Gap.

An ever-broadening reach

As the recent Four Corners investigation explained, while Witness K has decided to plead guilty, Mr Collaery will fight the charges in a trial conducted in partial secrecy, under the provisions of the National Security Information Act 2004 (Cth) (the NSI Act).

Ostensibly designed to prevent prejudicing national security without interfering with the administration of justice, the NSI Act sits amongst a great pile of counterterrorism-national security legislation passed post-9/11, which has gradually whittled away at citizens’ rights.

The ALA has raised concerns about the scope of this legislation, which hasn’t been accompanied by any corresponding rights protections. And the alliance has long warned about the application of the NSI Act, as it leads to a lack of transparency and accountability in proceedings.

http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/845700/Terrorism+Homeland+Security+Defence/Drop+the+Collaery+Prosecution+An+Interview+With+Australian+Lawyers+Alliances+Greg+Barnes

https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/26403-ala-says-charges-against-act-a-g-must-be-dropped-as-tensions-build

http://honesthistory.net.au/wp/willheim-ernst-the-saga-of-bernard-collaery-and-witness-k-continues/

https://monitor.civicus.org/newsfeed/2019/09/13/authorities-restrict-peaceful-protest-timor-leste/

https://www.9news.com.au/national/east-timor-bugging-cases-return-to-court/f3adad0c-5cf4-4034-8e97-abd4de474898

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Collaery

https://www.plataformamedia.com/pt-pt/noticias/politica/interior/a-pedra-no-sapato-com-a-australia-11304796.html (PORTUGUES)

http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/19/9/17/n11528381.htm (CHINESE)

 

Australia/Timor Leste: Jose Ramos-Horta urges Australia to drop Witness K, whistleblower charges

August 30, 2019

Timor-Leste had moved on since the spying scandal and so should Australia by dropping charges against the whistleblowers who exposed it, says Jose Ramos Horta.

Lawyer Bernard Collaery addresses the media outside the Supreme Court in Canberra earlier this month.

Timor-Leste’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning former Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta says Australia “should get over it” and drop charges against two whistleblowers who revealed covert spying.

The criminal charges relate to whistleblowers lawyer Bernard Collaery and former spy Witness K revealing in 2013 that Australia had bugged government offices during negotiations over the sea boundary.

It was seen around the world as a rich nation stealing from an impoverished one.

Mr Ramos-Horta, who will on Friday attend Timor-Leste’s 20th-anniversary celebrations of its vote for independence, compared the Australian government’s pursuit of the pair to the novel Les Miserables and Inspector Javert’s obsessive pursuit of the convict Jean Valjean.

“I would never as leader of a country prosecute someone if we spied on some country and they came to us or the media and said I have just been asked to do something that is completely unethical and has nothing to do with the national interest,” he said.

“I would apologise to the nation if I were leader, apologise to the gentleman, the spy.”

Mr Ramos-Horta was shot at his home in Dili in an assassination attempt in 2008.

The scandal began in 2004 when the Australian Secret Intelligence Service planted covert listening devices in the Timor-Leste cabinet office to gain an upper hand in negotiations over the rich Greater Sunrise oil and gas fields.

 

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/jose-ramos-horta-urges-australia-to-drop-witness-k-whistleblower-charges

https://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/6357083/drop-timor-whistleblower-charge-horta/

https://www.miragenews.com/ala-calls-for-collaery-prosecution-to-be-dropped/

https://www.lawyersalliance.com.au/news/ala-calls-for-collaery-prosecution-to-be-dropped

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/aug/29/witness-k-lawyer-alleges-extraordinary-unexplained-roadblock-funding-case

https://7news.com.au/politics/morrison-to-help-east-timor-celebrate-c-424992

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/australian-spy-denied-legal-aid-east-timor-bugging-case-190829061353911.html

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/witness-k-controversy-could-affect-timor-leste-gas-deal:-patrick/11463842

http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/840952/Human+Rights/Protect+our+eroding+rights+An+interview+with+Human+Rights+Law+Centres+campaign+director+Tom+Clarke

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/pm-bats-aside-questions-over-prosecution-of-witness-k-and-lawyer-20190830-p52mjj.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/01/suppression-and-secrecy-how-australias-government-put-a-boot-on-journalisms-throat

https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/31/thousands-celebrate-east-timors-20th-anniversary-but-the-scars-remain

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Collaery

https://mapdow.com/des-milliers-celebrer-le-20e-anniversaire-du-timor-oriental-mais-les-cicatrices-restent/ (FRANCAIS)

http://www.dailyviewsonline.com/cultura/Australiano-spia-di-carica-con-intercettazioni-perdita-negato-il-patrocinio-h20452.html (ITALIANO)

Australia/Timor Leste: Xanana Gusmao offers to give evidence that could embarrass Australia in Witness K trial

August 26, 2019

Seven protesters stand with signs urging for the "real criminals" to be charged for people to "tell the truth".

The former prime minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao, says he wants to travel to Canberra to give evidence in court on behalf of former spy Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery if their prosecution continues.

Mr Gusmao has told Four Corners his evidence is likely to embarrass previous Australian governments in relation to the 2004 intelligence operation in which the Dili offices of the prime minister Mari Alkatiri were bugged by Australian foreign agents during treaty negotiations over oil and gas in the Timor Sea.

“I already promised to them, if it was not a secret trial, I will go to be their witness,” Mr Gusmao told Four Corners.

When asked what he would reveal in court, Mr Gusmao said, “All the information that I know.”

Witness K is a former intelligence agent who was involved in the Dili bugging operation in 2004. Mr Collaery is his former lawyer.

The pair are facing potential jail sentences after being prosecuted for allegedly conspiring to share secret information with the government of Timor Leste over the spying operation.

Mr Collaery faces four further charges over speaking to ABC journalists about the matter following an ASIO and AFP raid on his home and office.

Senior lawyers and crossbench politicians have expressed concerns about the prosecution and the secrecy surrounding the trials against the two men which are being run under the National Security Information (NSI) Act.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-26/xanana-gusmao-offers-to-give-evidence-in-witness-k-trial/11436286

https://7news.com.au/politics/former-east-timor-leader-warns-australia-c-418755

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/xanana-gusmao-speaks-out-in-support-of-witness-k,-collaery/11447042

Collaery battles on, but who cares?

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/four-corners/series/2019/video/NC1903H029S00

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-26/brandis-had-misgivings-about-prosecuting-witness-k-and-collaery/11449758

What Four Corners left out of the Witness K story

https://www.smh.com.au/national/this-immoral-act-against-a-decent-man-diminishes-all-who-pursue-it-20190827-p52l54.html

https://www.theleader.com.au/story/6355489/east-timor-spy-case-lawyers-get-more-time/?cs=9397

https://www.smh.com.au/national/secret-whistleblower-trial-will-only-add-to-australia-s-shame-over-spying-cover-up-20190827-p52ldh.html

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/morrison-flies-into-a-storm-in-east-timor-over-witness-k-prosecution-20190828-p52lmc.html

The Witness K debacle can still end poorly for the government

https://law.anu.edu.au/sites/all/files/events/national_security_legal_professional_privilege_and_the_bar_rules_print.pdf

The Prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K: International and Regional Implications – Greg Barns

https://www.lawyersalliance.com.au/news/ala-calls-for-collaery-prosecution-to-be-dropped

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/07/23/australia-dont-prosecute-exposure-misconduct

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/community_petitions/Australian_AttorneyGeneral_Drop_the_charges_against_truthtellers_re_Australian_spying_on_Timor/ (SIGN THE PETITION!)

https://www.change.org/p/pm-morrison-drop-the-charges-against-bernard-collaery-and-witness-k (SIGN THE PETITION!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Collaery

https://internasional.republika.co.id/berita/pwtuj1/xanan-gusmao-bersedia-berikan-kesaksian-soal-kasus-penyadapan-timor-leste-di-australia (INDONESIAN)

Australia/Timor Leste: East Timor bugging lawyer returns to court

August 22, 2019

Bernard Collaery will face court over leaking information about the bugging of East Timor's cabinet.

A lawyer at the centre of a diplomatically sensitive bugging scandal involving Australia and East Timor has returned to court.

Bernard Collaery appeared before the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday for the last in a series of preliminary hearings.

Collaery will next face a “national security” hearing at court on December 11 to determine what documents are kept secret in his matter.

It is understood he will only then be able to explain the case to his own lawyers.

Outside the Canberra courthouse, his counsel would not elaborate on the proceedings, simply saying they were “getting somewhere”.

Collaery, who is accused of revealing information about the bugging of East Timor’s cabinet rooms in 2004, is fighting the charge.

However his former intelligence officer client known only as Witness K will plead guilty over his alleged role in the affair.

The pair’s cases are now being dealt with separately, with Witness K expected to be sentenced at a later date.

https://7news.com.au/politics/east-timor-bugging-lawyer-returns-to-court-c-411962

https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/6342217/east-timor-bugging-lawyer-returns-to-court/

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-11/bernard-collaery-speaks-about-being-charged-with/9982448?pfmredir=sm&section=business

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-26/xanana-gusmao-offers-to-give-evidence-in-witness-k-trial/11436286

https://www.change.org/p/pm-morrison-drop-the-charges-against-bernard-collaery-and-witness-k (SIGN THE PETITION!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Collaery

https://www.jornaltornado.pt/processos-judiciais-contra-o-sr-bernard-collaery/ (PORTUGUES)