Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shirley Shackelton and the shocking story of the Balibo 5

Photo Source AFP

 For nearly 40 years Shirley Shackelton has been fighting the Australian and Indonesian Governments to uncover the truth about what happened to her husband Greg Shackleton and other members of the Balibo Five who were murdered by Indonesian forces in the town of Balibo in October 1975.

Shirley Shackleton's efforts have shone the light on the Australia Government's complicity in the murders. A earlier blog piece about Shirley Shackleton is here

Australian news sources report today that Shirley Shackleton's efforts to bring her husband's remains home from Indonesia continue to be ignored by the Australia and Indonesian Governments. Just what are the two Governments hiding?
Shirley Shackleton, who has been seeking the return of the remains of her husband Greg since his killing 37 years ago, fears that unless the saga is ended soon she may not live to see his body returned.

Greg Shackleton is buried in the same grave as four other journalists - two Britons, another Australian and a New Zealander - who were killed when Indonesian troops overran the East Timorese town of Balibo in October, 1975.

His remains cannot be removed from the grave at a Jakarta cemetery without the prior agreement of relatives of the other four, prompting his widow's call to the capital's governor to order the exhumation of the site.

"They only have to exhume the grave to find out if it's possible to bring my husband home. We can discuss what happens after that, once we know the condition of the remains," she told AFP from the cemetery.

"Nearly four decades have gone and it's still very hard for me to come back here. But I want my husband back in Australia, I don't think he should stay here."

An Australian inquest into the deaths of the so-called "Balibo five" accused Indonesian forces of killing the group in cold blood in an effort to stifle their reporting on abuses committed during Indonesia's brutal occupation of East Timor.

Jakarta has always maintained that they died in crossfire as Indonesian troops fought East Timorese Fretilin rebels, and refused to cooperate with an Australian war crimes investigation launched in 2010.

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