17 Sep 2007

Coroner in Australia to release findings in November into journalist deaths in East Timor

6:24 am on 17 September 2007

A coroner in Australia is expected to hand down her findings in November into the deaths of five Australian-based journalists in East Timor in 1975 .

New South Wales deputy state Coroner, Dorelle Pinch, will give her conclusions on November 5 at an inquest, more than 32 years after Brian Peters, Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Malcolm Rennie and Tony Stewart were shot and killed in the East Timorese border town of Balibo.

Their families have urged the Coroner to find the Balibo Five were executed on October 16, 1975, by Indonesian soldiers including Captain Mohammad Yunus Yosfiah and Christoforus da Silva.

A lawyer assisting the inquest into the deaths of the men has asked the coroner to recommend war crimes charges against those responsible.

The eight-week inquest earlier this year was told that both Australian and Indonesian governments maintained the journalists were killed in crossfire during the invasion of East Timor by Indonesian troops.

Previous Australian inquiries have reached the same conclusion.

The lawyer for the family of Brian Peters has asked the coroner to recommend the men's remains be returned to Australia.