Gregório Saldanha was an organizer of the 12 November 1991 rally which preceded mass killings by the Indonesian army at Dili’s Santa Cruz cemetery. He was influenced as a child by listening to Xavier do Amaral, founder of the Fretilin independence movement.
In 1989 he was imprisoned, tortured and held without trial for 6 months (at SGI Colmera in Dili) for his part in a demonstration during Pope John Paul II’s Dili visit.
In 1991 Gregório was shot in the buttocks at the Santa Cruz demonstration and detained at Lahane hospital. Interrogated by red-beret special forces at a POLWIL post in Dili, he was later charged with subversion and sentenced to life in prison. His sentence was served incommunicado in Dili’s Balide prison and then in Semarang, central Java, where he was transported without his family’s knowledge. He was freed over a year after the fall of Suharto, on December 10, 1999.
This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States
Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Place of Interview: Balide Prison, Dili, East Timor (Timor-Leste)
Credits: Interviewer: Jill Jolliffe, Cinematographer: Sophie Barry, Editing Michelle Soohoo,
Transcription: Meno Ferreira, scanning Elvis Sarmento Guterres, archival database Maria da Silva Benfica and Olga do Amaral.
Date of Birth: 1962-11-06; Prisons: Dili, East Timor (Timor-Leste); Other Prisoners: Captain, red-beret unit (Boinas Vermelhas : KOPASSUS / KOPASSANDHA); Perpetrators: SGI Colmera, Dili; Hospital Militar, Lahane; POLWIL, Dili; Comarca Balide; Becora prison, Dili; Semarang prison, cenral Java; Cipinang prison, Jakarta.