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East Timor Remembers Dead Journalists

DILI, East Timor (AP) - Journalists marked World Press Freedom Day, by holding vigils Wednesday at the sites where two reporters were murdered in the capital during the turmoil that followed East Timor 's independence vote.

Foreign and local journalists lit candles and laid flowers where the body of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes was found in September.

Thoenes, who worked for the Christian Science Monitor and Financial Times newspapers, arrived in Dili on Sept. 21, the day after international forces landed to restore security. He was gunned down just hours later at an Indonesian military roadblock in the suburb of Becora.

An inquest into Thoenes' death found that he had been shot in the chest and brutally beaten. Part of his face was cut off.

Less than a kilometer away, East Timorese journalist Benardiao Gutteres was killed in a riot on Aug. 26, four days before East Timor went to the

polls and voted for independence from Indonesia in a U.N.-sponsored referendum.

Gutteres worked for Matebian Radio, in the leadup to the referendum.

The road which links both sites was renamed Avenida Liberdade da Imprensa, or Freedom of the Press Avenue, to mark the deaths of Thoenes,

Guterres, and seven other journalists who died in East Timor in the past 25 years.

Indonesian journalist Argus Mulyawan was killed by pro-Jakarta militiamen who ambushed a car he was traveling in near the town of Los Palos the day after Thoenes was killed. His body was found dumped in a river.

On Oct. 16, 1975 Gary Cunningham, Brian Peters, Malcolm Rennie, Greg Shakleton and Tony Steward, all employed by Australian television networks, were killed by pro-Indonesian forces in the town of Balibo.

Two months later, Australian journalist Roger East was executed on the wharf at Dili by the Indonesian troops.

The secretary of the East Timorese Journalists Association Otelio Ote called for international support for the local media.

"We want the people to support the local press because if there is no media, there can be no democracy," Ote said.


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