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Pakistan Should Be On Trial: Will Asia Bibi Get a New Day in Court?











By Lydia Goodman
December 2, 2014

An Interview With Bernadette Kero

“... She is trying to stay strong but it is taking it's toll on her the longer this continues. She told me, "the monotony of prison life is getting to me. Every night I wake up with nightmares. I guess it is good that the lights are never turned off, at least I can do things in the middle of the night. I'm not sure if the nightmares at night or my waking nightmares are worse. I can not believe this is happening to me..." (Bernadette Kero, reprinted with permission)

Three months. That’s how long Stacey Addison, a 41-year-old former Portland veterinarian, has been imprisoned in Timor-Leste without a trial, much less an explanation. A former Portuguese colony north of Australia, Timor-Leste, previously known as East Timor, formally gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.

An avid traveler, Stacey had worked for ten years in Portland, Oregon, at a pet hospital. For the last two years, Stacey had planned and saved to make her dream trip around the world a reality--even going so far as to sell her home and car to fund her wanderlust. A dedicated and caring veterinarian, her passion for animals compelled her to volunteer as a vet in Peru and Ecuador during her around-the-world trip. While in Indonesia, Stacey needed to make a supposedly “quick” trip across the border into Timor-Leste to renew her Indonesian visitor visa. Asked by the cabdriver to share a cab to the capital city Dili, she agreed. (By the way, don’t judge.

Transportation can be hard to find and sharing a cab is a standard practice in many countries.) Along the way, another passenger asked to pick up a package at a DHL office. Police, acting on a tip from Indonesian authorities, were watching the cab. Before the cab could continue its route, police quickly surrounded the car and to no one’s surprise but Stacey’s; they found methamphetamine in the other passenger’s parcel. Police searched Stacey and her belongings and gave her a urine test, which she said came back clean. But Addison was held for four nights in a detention center before being conditionally released by a judge.

She was conditionally released Sept. 9 but wasn't allowed to leave the country. Prosecutors told her she was needed as a witness for an investigation that could take a year. But the terms of Addison's release prevented her from leaving East Timor while the investigation into the case continued. Addison appeared in court Oct. 29, hopeful of getting her passport back. She'd found an attorney, Paul Remedios, who'd been recommended to her mother by José Ramos-Horta, Timor-Leste's Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president. But unknown to Addison and Remedios, prosecutors had filed a petition to have her imprisoned without explanation or forewarning.

Addison was again detained and moved to a women's prison about an hour outside Dili, where her long blonde hair was cut and where she spent five days in solitary confinement. Attorney Paul Remedios said the court had detained her again because there was a warrant for her arrest -- although the reason for the warrant remains unclear. He said her arrest, in which she was deprived of the rights to a defense and to be heard before a judge, hadn't followed due process.

"We consider this to be a violation of human rights," Remedios said, but he warned that under East Timor's criminal procedure law, an individual can be held in detention for up to a year while there is an ongoing investigation.

It appears that Addison is trapped under a new and sometimes turbulent judicial system. Timor-Leste has a criminal law code that is only five years old. Its parliament, in late October, voted to fire the country's foreign judges and legal advisers, who'd played a key role in establishing the rule of law there. The U.S. Embassy has been involved and has stayed in close contact with Addison, but there was no U.S. Ambassador until the recent confirmation of Karen Stanton to Timor-Leste. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon have been working tirelessly to free Addison. Merkley has met with the ambassador of Timor-Leste la to discuss Addison’s case, and his staff has been working with the State Department to offer assistance to Addison and her family.

In an exclusive interview for NewsWithViews, I spoke with Stacey’s mother, Bernadette Kero.

LG: First of all, Bernadette, I am also the mother of two daughters. I cannot even begin to imagine what Stacey’s imprisonment must be like for you.

BK: I am holding up, as well as I can, but the longer this goes on the harder it becomes. This has been going on for three months now and the longer it continues the more agonizing it is.

LG: Can you describe the circumstances of Stacey’s arrest?

BK: Since her Indonesian visa was expiring, Stacey had to leave Indonesia and cross over to the bordering country of East Timor. She entered East Timor on September 5th. Her intention was after obtaining her visa there, she would tour the country for a week, just a quick visit, and then be able to renew her Indonesian visa and continue on her Asian leg of the journey.

LG: Were there any witnesses or collaborating evidence that supported the claim that Stacey might have known about the package of drugs when she was arrested?

BK: No. It is important to note that in addition to being searched after the initial arrest that both the driver and the passenger who picked up the package both told the police and later testified before a judge that they did not know Stacey.

LG: Are you encouraged by the confirmation of Karen Stanton as U.S. Ambassador?

BK: Absolutely. Senator Merkley will be meeting with the ambassador this week. There have been meetings with the Timorese ambassador but he’s meeting specifically with the new ambassador to emphasize the priority Stacey’s case must take.

LG: A petition has been started to free Stacey...

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BK: Yes, it has only been up for two weeks but already we have received tremendous support--over 2000 signatures. But, we need more people to sign.

LG: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

BK: I think of her every minute and am just praying that this nightmare will be over and Stacey will be home with us soon. The holiday season is going to be tough and we are praying she will be home. I only want my daughter free to come home...

How you can help:

1 - Visit and like Please Help Stacey on Facebook for updates.
2 - Sign the petition to Free Dr. Stacey Addison! on

© 2014 Lydia Goodman - All Rights Reserve

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As a writer and commentator, Lydia Goodman is passionate about speaking out against progressive policies that threaten to erode our personal rights, freedoms, and traditions. Lydia has also written numerous articles on world human rights issues, in an effort to focus attention on the atrocities perpetuated against people of faith.

Follow Lydia on Twitter @lydiawgoodman




It appears that Addison is trapped under a new and sometimes turbulent judicial system. Timor-Leste has a criminal law code that is only five years old. Its parliament, in late October, voted to fire the country's foreign judges and legal advisers, who'd played a key role in establishing the rule of law there.