I once had a nightmare about being pulled aside for questioning by some shadowy officials regarding my research in Timor. Paranoid?
My last trip in Timor, I was asked for a copy of my passport to buy a SIM card. And I was required to give a full address. I thought that was bit excessive.
I recently read in a Timorese publication that all Timor Telcom SIM cards must be registered. Unregistered cards will be illegal.
And now the law for the Intelligence Service, approved by the Council of Ministers, only now reaching us over the ETAN list serve. (Was it passed by parliament or considered a Decree Law?)
It would be interesting an analysis of this law. I am hardly qualified to comment. Who are the intelligence agents mentioned in the law? (It sounds as though they are already working for PNTL and FDTL.)
It does feel to me that Article 19 could be potentially used against whistleblowers, like those who have been loading Wikileaks with fascinating documents over the past weeks.
State secrecy shall apply to data and intelligence the dissemination of which is susceptible of causing damage to the unity and integrity of the State, to the defence of the democratic institutions provided for in the Constitution, to the free exercise of their respective functions by the organs of sovereignty, to the internal security, to national independence, and to preparations for military defence.
Perhaps the debate on the Defamation Law is more immediate… But it all seems related.
Who is keeping an eye on civil liberties in Timor?
The images of the students being arrested at UNTL with taped mouths was powerful. But there is much more at stake than the right to protest within 100m of the Parliament!