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Maria at the STP CAVR office where she was one of many Timorese detained and tortured.

Maria Imaculada

Maria Imaculada has said enough.

Maria supported the resistance by transporting food and clothes to the guerilla forces in the forest.She was arrested, detained, tortured and repeatedly raped for over two years. She bore a child as a result of her rape. She was later sent to Atauro, where they were given only a small amount of rotten corn to eat, and her baby died from the lack of nutition.

In 1982 Maria married a fellow prisoner and they had a son. When the boy was 11 months old Maria was sent back to Balide prison in Dili. She was taken to court and sentenced to another five years, which she served in Becora prison. She was released in 1988 after Amnesty International conducted a campaign on her behalf. Maria relished the feeling of freedom.

When I was released from prison I felt better, I can go everywhere freely, earn my living and no one has control over me. My family is also free, we can walk together.

She worked hard to restore her life and sustain her family, running a small kiosk and sewing. She also receives a veteran pension, and her husband is working in the United Kingdom. Maria is happy because she is independent and well established but is aware that not everyone is as fortunate as her.

I want to help my friends, the victims and fellow inmates, who also fought and sacrificed but have not received anything in return. There must be justice and an improvement in the lives of those who are vulnerable…. For this country, we suffered for a long time, but we also feel happy. I think the suffering we experienced must not be repeated.

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