Australian government cites ‘chilling effect’ on cabinet in bid to block release of papers in Timor-Leste spy case



a man and a woman standing in front of a microphone: Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


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Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Government lawyers have invoked cabinet confidence in an attempt to stop Bernard Collaery and his team from viewing a briefing to the prime minister relevant to the Timor-Leste spying case.

Collaery, a barrister and former ACT attorney general, has been charged over his role in exposing details of a 2004 Australian intelligence operation to bug the Timor-Leste government during commercial negotiations to carve up oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea.



a group of people standing in front of a microphone: Bernard Collaery outside the ACT supreme court last year. Protesters gathered outside the court on Wednesday in support of Collaery and Witness K in the Timor-Leste spying case.


© Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Bernard Collaery outside the ACT supreme court last year. Protesters gathered outside the court on Wednesday in support of Collaery and Witness K in the Timor-Leste spying case.

It is alleged that Collaery, while representing intelligence whistleblower Witness K, illegally shared protected information about the operation.

Related: Australia’s attorney general Christian Porter accused of abusing powers in whistleblower trial

Collaery faces jail time if found guilty.

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Amnesty International to stop work in India, cites government harassment and threats

Amnesty International announced Tuesday it would close its operations in India after its bank accounts were frozen and its executives were interrogated following the publication of two reports by the group that criticized the government’s human rights record.

The group said it has been a victim of an increasingly aggressive Indian government that has pounced on anyone who speaks negatively about it.

Critics of government policies have faced threats and arrests made by the leaders of the world’s largest democracy.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, a woman walks past the Amnesty International India headquarters in Bangalore, India. The Human rights watchdog said on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, that it was halting its operation in India, citing reprisals from the government and the freezing of its bank accounts. Its announcement comes at a time amid growing concerns over the state of free speech in India where critics accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist government of increasingly brandishing laws to silence human rights activists, intellectuals, filmmakers, students and journalists. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)

FILE – In this Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, a woman walks past the Amnesty International India headquarters in Bangalore, India. The Human rights watchdog said on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, that it was halting its operation in India, citing reprisals from the government and the freezing of its bank accounts. Its announcement comes at a time amid growing concerns over the state of free speech in India where

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