Australia, IO – In a bombshell investigation aired by ABC’s Four Corners titled “Ghost of Timor,” Australian soldiers of the Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment, a special forces unit of the Australian Army, were accused of torturing a group of 14 East Timorese prisoners, suspected of being pro-Indonesian militia. They were allegedly beaten, starved, stripped and deprived of sleep over roughly 72 hours.
The brutality was conducted at a secret interrogation facility at an abandoned heliport during Australia’s peacekeeping mission in East Timor in 1999 under the UN-mandated INTERFET (International Force for East Timor).
Speaking to the program, some of the men, met more than two decades later, recounted the abuse they claim to have received at the hands of their Australian captors. “They tortured us,” claimed one of the captives, Julio da Silva, who was 16 at the time.
“They hit me, punched me here and I fell backwards. Then my back was sore. I had cramps. If I bent forward … they would use a weapon to hit me in the back, kick me in the back, then I fell forward. They sat me up again.”