Calls to reopen Balibo Five investigation

A relative of one of the ‘Balibo Five’ Australian journalists killed 40 years ago in East Timor is calling for the Australian Federal Police to re-investigate the case.

John Milkins, son of Channel Seven cameraman Gary Cunningham, said he hoped the AFP would reopen the investigation into the deaths of the young men.

“There are still untold stories,” he said.

“The issue is, of course, our Government doesn’t want them to be told.”

The five young men  – Gary Cunningham, Brian Peters, Malcolm Rennie, Greg Shackleton and Anthony Stewart – were killed during Indonesian incursion in 1975.

The group, employed by Channels 7 and 9, were lead to believe that because they were journalists, Indonesian soldiers would not target them.

This morning commemorations were held in Canberra to mark the 40th anniversary

Despite four decades having passed, family members of the five men said they still wanted answers.

Paulie Stewart, brother of sound recordist Tony Stewart, said he had been waiting a long time for action to be taken.

“They were deliberately targeted, shot, stabbed and their bodies were burnt,” he said.

“Action is what we want.”

In 2007 an Australian coroner ruled Indonesian special force soldiers had intentionally killed the five journalists.

According to the Indonesian Government the men were shot in cross fire.

Despite Mr Milkins recent plea to the AFP, he said he had little hope action would be taken.

“I have no respect at all for the Australian Federal Police and how they’ve dealt with my family over this issue,” he said.

Mr Milkins was five years old when his father was killed in East Timor.

Adopted as a baby, Mr Milkins had no idea about his connection to the Balibo Five until he met his birth mother at age 19.

“My birth mum told me (my) father was one of the Balibo Five and six weeks beforehand I’d just been studying it in a uni course,” he said

The AFP said in a statement that the authority sympathised with the families of the men killed in Balibo, but they had not received any new evidence to warrant reopening the investigation.

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