Anito Matos is a well-known Timorese pop singer with a social conscience. He was arrested in 1991 during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor, in the wake of the 12th November massacre of unarmed student protesters in Dili's Santa Cruz ceremony, during which around 200 young people died.
At that time he was studying at a private university in Denpasar, Bali, where he belonged to RENETIL, an underground organisation of student nationalists led by Fernando La Sama (appointed East Timor's parliamentaty Speaker in 2007). Most of its members in Indonesia, including Anito Matos, were captured in thepolice round-up which followed. They were subject to extreme psychological pressure during interrogations, including deprivation of food and sleep. Anito and others were freed after two months because La Sama took legal reponsibility for his colleagues' actions, serving a term of 8 years in Cipinang prison, Jakarta alongside guerrilla commander Xanana Gusmao.
After Indonesia's 1999 withdrawal from East Timor, Anito Matos's nationalist songs had a surge of popularity. He continues to sing, and became a senior official in the Ministry of Social Affairs in 2007.
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: Dili, East Timor (Timor-Leste)
Credits: Interviewer: Jill Jolliffe, Interview Transcription: Filomeno Ferreira, Archivist: Maria da Silva Benfica
Date of Birth: 1962-05-08; Prisons: Dili; Other Prisoners: Col. Suntoro, Forças Inteligentes Indonesios; Perpetrators: Quartel General das Polícias, Polda Nusra, Denpasar Bali, Jacarta Polda Metro Jaya.