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28 October 2014
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BBC Bristol Online News: Audio/video coverage

Saturday 3 Febuiary 2001, 1215 GMT
Bristol journalist may have been murdered
The Indonesian government HQ at Dili
The Indonesian government HQ at Dili, East Timor

There has been a breakthrough in the inquiry into the death of a Bristol journalist killed in East Timor more than a quarter of a century ago.

The Indonesian Government has always insisted that cameraman Brian Peters, 26, and four other reporters lost their lives when they were accidentally caught in the crossfire of battle.

But now United Nations investigators are seeking international warrants to arrest three men over the deaths, an Australian newspaper said today.

The investigators in East Timor believe they have gathered enough evidence during a seven-month investigation to prosecute the trio, who include a former Indonesian government minister, for the deaths at Balibo on October 16, 1975, the Sydney Morning Herald said.

Britons Malcolm Rennie, 28, a reporter, and cameraman Brian Peters, 29; reporter Greg Shackleton, 27, and soundman Tony Stewart, 21, both Australian; and New Zealand cameraman Gary Cunningham, 27, were killed in the town of Balibo while reporting on a battle.

Australian investigators and the Indonesian government have said they were caught in a firefight between Indonesian troops and East Timorese defenders.

But former resistance fighters said the journalists were put to death by Indonesian invaders.

Investigators have asked the UN Prosecutor-General in Dili, Mohamed Othman, to organise the arrest of Mohammad Yunus Yosfiah, a former Cabinet minister; another Indonesian, Christoforus da Silva, and an East Timorese, Domingos Bere, according to the report.

The investigators have recommended they be charged with crimes against humanity under the 1949 Geneva Convention. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Othman told the newspaper prosecutors were reviewing the evidence. "Indications are that this will proceed as a war crimes charge," he said.

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Internet links:
The Sydney Morning Herald

Maureen Tolfree, sister of Brian Peters, writes about his death


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