(News.com.au) - ALLEGATIONS that six Australian soldiers beat a civilian Timorese security guard are baseless and false, the Defence Department says.
Fretilin, an East Timorese political party that lost power earlier this year, today in the country's Parliament recounted the allegations of the beating that supposedly occurred last Sunday, October 14.
Fretilin MP Antoninho Bianco cited claims made by security guard Abilio Fatima, 41, that two ADF vehicles containing about 12 soldiers pulled up about 10.30pm at a Government warehouse in the Dili suburb of Kintal Bot.
Six soldiers got out and ordered Fatima and the neighbours he was speaking with to go inside, according to the allegations.
Fatima explained through the soldiers' interpreter that he was on duty and should stay at his post.
He claimed he was attacked after he asked why the soldiers were concerned with ordinary citizens instead of fugitive rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado, who deserted the East Timorese military amid political unrest in 2006.
"Mr Fatima alleged that after he mentioned Reinado he was immediately struck with rifle butts many times in the head, upper arms and back, and then bitten on the right upper arm by a soldier's guard dog," Fretilin said.
"Two of his neighbours were also assaulted and fled to their homes, but Mr Fatima stayed at his post.
"Next morning, Mr Fatima made a complaint to Fretilin MPs at Parliament House, and then went to the National Hospital for treatment, before going to the Dili Police Headquarters to register his complaint."
A defence spokesperson said the claims were not true.
She said the commander of the Joint Task Force 631 in Timor, Brigadier John Hutcheson, had spoken to the local media to refute the allegations.
"(He) has stepped out today to fully refute the claims," she said.
"The allegations ... are completely baseless and false."
Fretilin used the allegations to call in Parliament today for a review of Australia's military presence.
It claimed the incident was "one of a string of incidents of ADF maltreatment of civilians".
According to Fretilin, the President of the Parliament, Fernando Lasama Araujo, referred the matter to a parliamentary committee.
Fretilin MP Estanislau da Silva said the time had come to re-evaluate the presence of Australian soldiers, to make sure a sentiment of hostility that was building against the defence force did not "manifest itself in negative ways".
"We have to act to prevent this from occurring, as we have had a history of this occurring with occupying armies in the past," Mr da Silva said.