Private event: “Who killed Sander Thoenes of the Financial Times? – Murdering journalists with impunity in Southeast Asia”

Talk Monday 26th October, 2009

Moderator: Rodney Pinder – director, International News Safety Institute.

This event is held to:
¨    commemorate ‘Financial Times’ journalist Sander Thoenes, murdered in Timor-Leste (East Timor) on 21 September 1999;

¨    invite the authorities in Timor-Leste, in Indonesia, in the Netherlands and the UK to work to end impunity for the murders and atrocities listed on the indictment against Indonesia’s now disbanded Battalion 745—including the murder on 21 September 1999 of ‘Financial Times’ journalist Sander Thoenes;

¨    invite Timor-Leste’s President Ramos-Horta to go beyond his view that Timor-Leste’s hard won independence is sufficient justice for its people.

President Ramos-Horta accepts, by contrast, that legal action for justice for western journalists killed in Timor-Leste is a practical possibility. Those 6 journalists are: Sander Thoenes, killed in 1999, and the British and other ‘Balibo Five’ journalists killed in 1975 (whose deaths are now, at last, 34 years later, the subject of a war crimes investigation by police and of a major film, ‘Balibo’, to be shown at the London Film Festival on 20, 21 & 22 October).

Invitations have gone to: the FCO, to the Dutch and the Indonesian Embassies in London, & the Ambassador in Geneva of Timor-Leste. The invitations invite them, or their representative, to attend the whole event and to ask questions in the Q+A section.

Opening remarks (3pm): Vaughan Smith (Frontline Club founder and former combat cameraman)

Session 1: “Journalists under attack and the murder of Sander Thoenes in East Timor”.

Statement from Sander Thoenes’s brother. Your speakers are: senior representative, ‘The Financial Times’; Jon Swain of ‘The Sunday Times’, the journalist Irena Cristalis, and Anthony Mills (press & communications manager, International Press Institute).

15 min break: to allow people to sign our letter, to buy publications, etc. A collection box, with any proceeds split half and half between the Club’s Fixer’s Fund / our campaign, will be available.

Session 2: “Impunity for past crimes in Timor-Leste persists”.

Speakers: Dr Clinton Fernandes (Senior Lecturer at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales @ ADFA), and Isabelle Arradon (Amnesty International/ International Secretariat researcher on Indonesia & Timor-Leste).

Questions + Answers.