East Timor bones affair 'embarrassing' for Australia

By Sara Everingham

Updated Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:22pm AEDT

East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta

East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta is critical of the amount of time it has taken to test bones believed to belong to his country's first prime minister. [File image] (Reuters: Mick Tsikas)

The President of East Timor says it is embarrassing for Australia that Northern Territory police took five years to test remains believed to be those of the country's first prime minister, Nicolau Lobato.

The remains were sent in 2004 but were not tested until recently and the results were inconclusive.

Northern Territory police say they will transfer the remains to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine for further testing.

East Timor's President, Jose Ramos-Horta, has told Fairfax newspapers it is puzzling to him and embarrassing for Australia that it took five years to test the bones.

An East Timor activist says Northern Territory police have not given enough importance to the testing of remains

Gregorio Saldana, who helps families identify the remains of people who went missing during the Indonesian occupation, says the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine will do a better job.

"The police in 2003 or [2004] took remains to laboratory but they didn't give enough importance," he said.

He says it is important for East Timorese to know if the remains belong to the country's national hero.

"I want to say that to the police and whoever including in the process they can support and can facilitate to identify the remains because it is important for our country for our leader our first Prime Minister and second President Nicolau Lobato."

The Northern Territory's assistant commissioner, Mark McAdie, has released a statement saying the samples have been tested on three separate occasions but the results were inconclusive.

"The fact that three separate tests have been conducted over this time is an indication of our commitment to try to identify the samples that were provided to us," he said.

"We note the comments of the President of East Timor ... it is with regret that he believes the samples have not been tested when in actual fact, three separate banks of tests have been conducted."

source: ABC News

1 comment:

  1. It was really a very embarrassing incident to hear, i was shocked to hear the incident and didn't believe at once until i read it myself.