Timor-Leste Legal News February 2007
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE Same, 27-02-2007 From: Agent Joao Martinho With respect to: 1. The Minister of Interior (Dr. Alcino Barris) 2. The Prosecutor General (Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro)
Based on the Government of RDTL’s accusation made against Major Alfredo Reinado in the referred Tunubibi, in the post of Turiscai (Indonesia Republic – RDTL border) that the Major and 10 of his elements assaulted and kidnapped the members of the BPU’s (Border Patrol Unit) equipment (armed weapons), I, the undersigned, Agent Martinho, who am currently here with Major Alfredo, would like to declare that the abovementioned accusation is wrong. In order for better clarification I would like to declare the following:
On the 25th of February 2007, at approximately 13:00 HTL, Major Alfredo and 10 of his elements arrived in our post, Turiscai.
The Major held discussions and negotiations with the Turiscai Post Platoon Commander, by the name of Ortegio da Costa in regards to the HK33 weapons that were in the Turiscai post.
The objective of this negotiation was to ask if these weapons could be given to the Major in order to defend the people’s sovereignty, reason being that we did not want that these weapons to end up in the hands of the radical Maputo group to be used to kill people.
During this process of negotiation, which went very well, we were able to come to a mutual agreement, and we ourselves out of our own consciousness, wanted to hand over these weapons to Major Alfredo because the Major is a Military Police Commander and has the right to assume the responsibility to these weapons as the peoples wealth/resources.
In reference to the above written point 4 (four), I Agent Joao Martinho, would like to declare that the accusation of kidnapping is not correct because:
PD Swears-In New Members
Members of Partido Democratico (PD) new structures were swore-in on the weekend during the party’s consolidation gathering. Fernando Lasama, PD President said the party is ready for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
Alkatiri’s Case Not Archived Permanently: Monteiro
Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro told the media upon his return from Australia on the weekend that the case of Maril Alkatiri can be re-opened if strong evidence emerges, adding that the case has been closed due to insufficient information to condemn him. On the same occasion, Monteiro stressed that he does not want to work on Alfredo’s case due to political interference in the justice sector. As a police officer, I also have the same principles as Major Alfredo, who wants to fight for the truth in order to defend the people from the interest of the Maputo group.
I am now affiliated/integrated with the Majors group, and this is something I have done via my consciousness because I want to contribute to defend the people and the truth. I would like to strongly state once again, that my affiliation/integration was not done so due to any pressure (physical or physiological) but because of my own willingness, that is filled with the spirit of moral responsibility for the wellbeing of this nation and its people.
Therefore, I demand that all of the sovereign organs of RDTL, be aware that this incident is another signal for those who are governing to carry out justice that is truly just in order to combat the injustice that is being committed in very part (political, social, economical and security) which has consequently caused a big crisis in our country.
This is my statement, which I have done so truthfully, and I am ready to take full responsibility under the law.
THANK YOU, VIVA TO THE TRUTH.
Agent Joao Martinho
East Timor rebel asks for talks as troops close in Agence France-Presse Thursday, March 1, 2007 An East Timor rebel leader asked to negotiate with authorities Thursday as an Australian-led international force surrounded his hideout, but rejected calls to hand himself in, a witness with him said. Major Alfredo Reinado was holed up in Same, 50 kilometres (25 miles) south of the capital, Dili, as troops using tanks and helicopters closed in on the rebel and his men.
The renegade soldier, a persistent thorn in the side of the government in East Timor, one of the world’s newest independent nations, had vowed to fight to the death. “He has sent a message to the general prosecutor and presidential staff… that this current situation be settled through dialogue and negotiations,” an East Timor lawmaker, Leandro Isaac, who is with Reinado, told AFP.
Isaac said Reinado did not want to surrender. “For him there is only one option: It is better to die than surrender,” the lawmaker said, contacted by telephone, adding that Reinado was still vowing a fight to the death if necessary. He did not say how Reinado communicated his message to the authorities. Isaac added that people in Same, which has been sealed off, had started to suffer a shortage of food and clean water.
East Timor President Xanana Gusmao has accused Reinado of stealing firearms from police posts on the border with Indonesia and has given the international force the green light to capture him. The government had been trying to negotiate with the rebel, who is partly blamed for deadly unrest last year that prompted the dispatch of international troops.
Meanwhile Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said the troops would use “appropriate force” if they agreed to capture Reinado. Any such operation “will be conducted with the usual professionalism and appropriate use of force that the Australian Defence Force always applies,” he said. Brigadier General Mal Rerden, the Australian in charge of the international force, told reporters in Dili that Reinado would bear responsibility for what could ensue. “He has one option. He can help the people of Timor-Leste by surrendering himself and removing the threat of the weapons,” he said, referring to the country by its formal name. “If he cares about the people of Timor-Leste, if he cares about the people with him now, he would give up his weapons and surrender. Anything that happens from now on is his responsibility.” Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Thursday also urged Reinado to surrender. “It’s of concern to us that he is still on the loose and I think he, appropriately, should surrender himself to the East Timorese authorities,” Downer told reporters.
The renegade soldier reportedly said he took the weapons from the police posts to stop them being misused by East Timor’s ruling Fretilin party. Neighbouring Indonesia, which occupied East Timor between 1975 and 1999, sealed their border at Dili’s request following Reinado’s raids. The rebel led a band of breakaway soldiers last April and May when battles between security factions degenerated into rampant gang violence.
Around 37 people were killed and more than 150,000 fled their homes. The government then asked for international help and Australian-led peacekeepers were dispatched. Reinado was arrested but escaped from jail with more than 50 other inmates.
East Timor is scheduled to hold presidential elections on April 9 and there are concerns security could deteriorate ahead of the vote.
Terjemahan (atas jasa “Kataku”): http://188.8.131.52/cgi-bin/terjem.rex?East_Timor_Rebel_Asks_for_Talks_as_Troops_Close_In-70228001
UNMIT Daily Media Review 1 March 2007
Veterans will Stand UP and Detain Authors of Crisis – Former Falintil commander, Cornelio Gama, also known as L7 has reportedly said that former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and Former Ministers Rogerio Lobato, Roque Rodrigues and the current Minister of Finance, Madalena Boavida must be responsible for the military political crisis due to their incapacity to govern the nation. L7 further said that the veterans would all stand and ask the UN to detain the authors of the crisis if they continue to play around with the Timorese people. He is of the opinion that plans to capture Alfredo and his group may result in the population becoming the victims. Commenting on the actions of Alfredo at the border, L7 said whoever gave the guns to Alfredo has to be accountable.
The former Falintil commander stressed that the veterans do not want to see their fellow countrymen continuing to suffer and if more people become victims they will stand up and detain the leaders of the country. Gama met with the Secretary of State for Veterans Affairs Wednesday to discuss ways the veterans could contribute to find a solution to the current crisis. (STL)
Alfredo Still in Contact with F-FDTL Brigadier General – Alfredo has reportedly said he continues to be in contact with F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak despite his distancing from the institution following the crisis. He said that he still respects the General and tries to communicate with him on a regular basis even if at times he does not pick up his phone. Alfredo claims he is trying to get close to the Defence Force General to try and find a solution within
F-FDTL. He accuses those who want the elections to go ahead as ‘traitors who would easily forget the needs of the people once they are in power’, claiming that the military political crisis should be resolved before stepping into elections. He is of the opinion that elections should be postponed and the priority should be on resolving the crisis and then holding a referendum on the Constitution and the type of government that the people see suitable for the country. (STL)
MP Rejects Joining Alfredo – MP Leandro Isac (Independent) has said via a telephone interview with Timor Post Wednesday that he has not joined Major Alfredo and his group as the reason for his presence in Same was to follow the protest organized by MUNJ which was cancelled by the authorities. Isac said he was already in Same before Alfredo and his group moved into the area, claiming that the accusations are intentionally against him politically. He said he was due to return to Dili a few days ago but could not due to the road block by the ISF between Dili-Same. (TP)
RTTL News Headlines Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Major Alfredo Affirms he Took Weapons to Protect the Population – Speaking to the national television, Major Alfredo Reinado said, an investigation should be established to ascertain the reason why he took the weapons from the posts. He said there were plans by a BPU officer called Antonio da Cruz to attack him following a meeting a week ago with members of Fretilin.
International forces close in on E.Timor rebel leader Wednesday February 28, 01:33 PM DILI (AFP) – The international security force in East Timor have begun closing in on wanted rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado’s hideout with tanks and helicopters, a witness with the renegade soldier said Wednesday. “Australian troops are closing in with tanks and breaking barricades,” lawmaker Leandro Isaac told AFP by telephone. “They also use Black Hawks,” he said, referring to a type of military helicopter. “The situation now is tense.” Isaac said the rebel leader, who was surrounded by the security force Tuesday in an area in Same, about 50 kilometres (25 miles) south of the capital Dili, was waiting for the troops. “If they come in with guns then he will also use guns to defend independence of the country,” Isaac said. “He said it is better to die than be Australian slaves.”
Access to Same has reportedly been restricted. East Timor’s Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta met with Brigadier General Mal Rerden, the commander of the international security force, earlier Wednesday but they refused to comment to journalists. President Xanana Gusmao has accused Reinado of stealing 25 firearms Sunday from police posts on the border with neighbouring Indonesia and has given the security force the green light to capture him.
But Reinado, who has been partly blamed for deadly civil unrest last year that prompted the dispatch of international troops, said he took the weapons to stop them being misused by East Timor’s ruling Fretilin party, a report said. “I was only borrowing them to safeguard them from the evil intentions of the Fretilin leaders, who want to use those weapons for their political interests,” Reinado was quoted by the Suara Timor Lorosae newspaper as saying. The government had been trying to negotiate with Reinado, but appears to have lost patience with him. Reinado has been a thorn in the side of the government in East Timor, one of the world’s newest independent nations, which was occupied by neighbouring Indonesia between 1975 and 1999. He was arrested in August on charges of weapons possession despite promising that his group had surrendered all their arms to the international peacekeeping force. He soon escaped from jail with more than 50 other inmates. Reinado also led a band of breakaway soldiers last year in April and May when battles between security factions degenerated into rampant gang violence in the streets.
Around 37 people were killed and more than 150,000 fled their homes. The government then asked for international help and Australian-led peacekeepers were dispatched.
Diggers blockade Timor rebels – The Age Lindsay Murdoch, Dili March 1, 2007 AUSTRALIAN soldiers have blockaded a town in East Timor’s central mountains, trapping rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and up to 150 heavily armed men who are refusing to surrender. Reinado angrily told The Age by telephone that he would shoot any soldier he sees. “Tell the Australian troops to stick surrender up their arse,” he said.
Reinado’s defiant stand has prompted fears of civil war after he was joined in the town of Same by Gastao Salsinha, the commander of 600 mutineering soldiers sacked from East Timor’s army last year. Salsinha told a Timorese journalist that he decided to bring 100 of his men to join Reinado because “I’m still in the military and I have a job to do”. Reinado and his men have a large cache of sophisticated weapons, including at least six rocket launchers of the type used by the Australian army, residents of the town say. Reinado, a cult hero wanted for murder and rebellion, said the men with him and opposition MP Leonadro Isaac were “all here ready to share a coffin”. Reinado, whose wife lives in Perth, told The Age: “Let my family in Australia know that I love them so much.”
The presence of Mr Isaac and an unknown number of civilians in Same makes it difficult for Australian soldiers dug in at the town’s edge to attack Reinado and his men. The commander of the Australian-led force in East Timor, Mal Rerden, demanded on Tuesday that Reinado and his men surrender unconditionally after President Xanana Gusmao ordered that the Australian-trained former head of East Timor’s military police be hunted down. Mr Gusmao made the order after Reinado led raids on several police border posts last Sunday, seizing 25 high-powered weapons and a large quantity of ammunition.
The raids shocked the Government in Dili because officials had been negotiating a deal under which Reinado would hand over his weapons and testify at a special hearing about his role in violence in Dili last year.
East Timor’s Government sent a letter to Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Tuesday authorising the Australian troops in East Timor to use lethal force to capture Reinado, who has been on the run since leading a mass escape from Dili’s main jail in August. East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta told The Age yesterday that Australia had made it clear that if East Timor requested more troops to help secure the country ahead of elections, then they would be sent. Australia has 800 soldiers in East Timor, most based in Dili where security forces have been unable to stop street gang violence.
Mr Isaac, whose party has urged Reinado to stand in presidential elections due on April 9, told journalists yesterday that the word surrender was not in Reinado’s vocabulary. Asked what he thought would happen if the rebels were attacked, he said: “Civil war.”
About 100 of the residents of Same, the centre of a coffee-growing district, have fled into the bush since the Australians blockaded the town. Reinado, on a mobile telephone in the town’s centre, said an Australian army officer had called to demand his surrender. Reinado said he had asked the officer if he had authorisation from the country’s prosecutor-general to arrest him. When he got no reply, he said he “rejected the offer”. A Government source said Reinado had asked to resume negotiations to surrender but the request was bluntly refused.
SMH: Hunt continues for East Timor’s rebel leader – Lindsay Murdoch in Dili February 28, 2007 Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has taunted Australian soldiers hunting him in East Timor’s mountains, telling them he is not afraid to die.
“They can get my dead body but not my soul,” said Major Reinado, who has threatened to kill Australians if they attack him and his group of more than 20 heavily armed men.
As Australian soldiers set-up roadblocks and surrounded Major Reinado’s base yesterday, Australia’s peacekeeping commander Mal Rerden called on him to surrender unconditionally.
“Reinado has one action open to him – that’s to surrender and put himself before the justice system of Timor Leste (East Timor),” Brigadier Rerden said.
Brigadier Rerden had secretly sent scores of troops to the central Same district hours before Major Reinado learnt that president Xanana Gusmao had declared war on him in a televised address to the nation on Monday night.
Mr Gusmao declared that the government in Dili had cut all negotiations with Major Reinado and asked the Australian-led International Security Force to mount an operation to capture him after he and his men had raided several police border posts, seizing 25 high powered weapons and a large quantity of ammunition.
Yesterday, knowing he was surrounded with road access to his base blocked, Major Reinado told a journalist from the Timor Post newspaper that he would hand-over his weapons if he could reach a deal with East Timor’s Proscutor-General Longuinhos Monteiro on charges of murder and rebellion. But Brigadier Rerden ruled out any further negotiations, saying Mr Gusmao made his declaration because of Major Reinado’s own actions.
“He has carried out attacks which have jeopardised the security and safety of all the people of Timor Leste,” Brigadier Rerden said.
The operation to capture Major Reinado is high risk for Australia’s 800-strong soldier contingent in East Timor. Australian-trained Major Reinado and his men have a large cache of sophisticated weapons, including at least one rocket launcher of type used by the Australian army.
The group is holed up in rough terrain where Major Reinado grew up and where he has the support of the local population. For months Major Reinado, who fired the first shots in an attack on troops loyal to the government last May, has vowed to kill Australian soldiers if they attempt to capture him, saying he and his men, like them, are well trained.
“My promise is, whenever you bring the thousand (troops), I will take some with me,” he said last month. Major Reinado has become a cult-hero figure throughout that country since he led a mass escape from Dili’s main jail in August.
His death in an Australian-led operation would further inflame anti-Australian sentiment in Dili caused by an Australian soldier shooting dead two Timorese men during a disturbance at a refugee camp last Friday. Since then rock throwing street gangs have stepped up their attacks on vehicles being driven by foreigners in Dili, prompting the Australian Government to warn that Australians and Australian interests could be specifically targeted.
East Timor’s ruling Fretilin party said yesterday that Major Reinado’s attacks were an attempt to spread panic and stop presidential and general elections that are due by mid-year.
Fretilin’s former prime minister Mari Alkatiri said in a statement that Major Reinado’s arrest would not only improve the country’s security situation but “also help to reveal the true causes of the crisis in Timor Leste and identify the people behind the crisis.”
UNMIT Daily Media Review 27 February 2007
State Empowers ISF to Capture Alfredo – Timor-Leste government, President of the Republic and the National Parliament have empowered the ISF Forces to urgently capture Major Alfredo and his group in relation to the attack and the removal of weapons at the border police posts of Maliana and Suai on Sunday. Addressing the nation on Monday evening, the President of the Republic who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said there is no other way to resolve Alfredo’s problem since he has clearly shown that he does not respect the State or its institution by dismantling the Police Force. The President appealed to the population to sit quietly and cooperate in order for the operation to proceed smoothly. The President said everything had been done to resolve the problem of Alfredo through passive means in an attempt to avoid a military solution. He said that Alfredo has manipulated the situation by being inconsistent with what he says.
In relation to the attack, Minister of Interior Alcino Barris said an investigation will be carried out on the commander of the Border Patrol Unit (BPU) and his elements regarding the ransacked weapons. He said that he wants to know why the police didn’t react to the attack. Barris said, according to information he received, 18 men carried out the attack, which resulted in the loss of 25 weapons from the posts of Maliana and Lolotoe. He refused to further comment on the issue.
In the meantime, contacted by phone on Monday, Major Alfredo Reinado said that he did not steal weapons. He said he asked nicely for them from BPU officers to defend the population and that this can be confirmed with the police officers at the border. Alfredo said he has 16 weapons and not 18 as has been claimed by the Minister of Interior.
According to Timor Post, a source that refused to give a name, confirmed that three weapons from Salele-Suai were taken in an amicable way and not stolen. The source said that when Major Alfredo and his group arrived at the Salele post there were six BPU officers. Upon Alfredo’s request for the weapons to defend the population, three of the officers left their posts and guns behind which were then confiscated by Major Alfredo and the remaining three ran away from their post with their guns, the anonymous source said. (DN, TP, STL)
CNRT Party to Deceive the People: Alkatiri – Speaking in Oecussi during the swearing-in of Fretilin Special Region Monitoring Electoral Commission for Oecussi enclave, the party’s Secretary General Mari Alkatiri stated the he doesn’t want the party to sleep and take for granted that they’ve won the elections because some people who want to put down Fretilin are working on strategies to create a new party called the Timorese National Resistance Council (CNRT) which would also be a party to deceive the people. Alkatiri further said that right from the start the war against Timor-Leste was to make Fretilin disappear by killing Nicolau Lobato and his colleagues but despite that Fretilin continued to grow. He also underscored that the party no longer supports independent candidates for the presidential elections as they have their own. (STL)
Fretilin Gave Me a Three Leg Chair: Ramos-Horta – Ramos-Horta described his power in office since taken over the Premiership position as a three legged chair given to him by Fretilin to sit on. He asked how can one sit on a three-legged chair trying to balance without falling and with hot coal beneath the chair. He said that he had accepted the responsibility as Prime Minister due to the crisis and because the President of the Republic, Fretilin Central Committee (CCF) and the two Bishops had bestowed their trust in him. Speaking during a gathering in Laga to announce his decision to run for the Presidential elections Ramos-Horta told the people present in Laga, in Baucau District, that following the crisis of 28 April 2006, he alone traveled along the roads to see the situation, that he traveled to the airport to meet with the IDPs at different times of night, he persuaded people on the streets to return to their residents, visited the wounded from both UIR, PNTL and F-FDTL in the hospital and traveled to all the districts to reassure the presence of the State not seeking power or a seat. Ramos-Horta said some people have asked him to be accountable for his work as Foreign Minister and Cooperation to which he replied that the whole government must be accountable for the people. He said that under his leadership he had established good cooperation with Asia, Africa, Europe and North America and diplomatic ties in 101 nations. The Minister also praised the people in the districts for their maturity for not getting involved in the crisis that had only affected Dili. (STL)
RTTL News Headlines Monday, 26 February 2007
Peaceful Funeral Convoy – Plans to carry the bodies of the deceased men involved in the shooting incidents by the Australian Forces on Monday through some areas of capital Dili was not authorized by security. The bodies of the two people were taken back to their districts of Ossu/Viqueque and Baucau. About two thousand people participated in the march, chanting words against the Australian Forces
ISF Investigates Incident
Australian Forces commander Mal Rerden said the forces are carrying out their own investigation into the shooting incident and are also fully supporting UNPOL and the government investigations.
Republican Party Conference
The Republican Party held its first conference in the Manufahi on the weekend with the aim to elect members for its structures and prepare for the up-coming legislative elections.
E Timor gives Aust forces go-ahead for rebel manhunt – ABC News Online February 27, 2007 East Timor’s President, Xanana Gusmao, has authorised the Australian-led international stabilisation force to hunt down renegade army major Alfredo Reinaido. In a national television and radio address in the local Tetum language, President Gusmao described yesterday’s raids by Alfredo Reinaido’s group on police border posts as stupidity. He said Reinaido’s men now had another 25 weapons. President Gusmao said every effort had been made to prevent the East Timor authorities from having to seek a military solution to what he called ‘the Alfredo problem’. However he said Reinaido had now stepped over the mark.The President said he had met with the Prime Minister, the United Nations special representative and the Australian Brigadier, Mel Rerden. He said the East Timorese Government had authorised the international forces to conduct an operation to capture Reinaido. President Gusmao appealed to his people not to react with emotion and regard Reinaido as a hero, but instead to co-operate with the
UNMIT Daily Media Review 24 – 26 February 2007
FI Shot To Defend Themselves: Rerden – The commander of the International Security Forces, Brigadier Mal Rerden reportedly said the forces acted in self-defence on Friday when they were attacked, leaving one Timorese dead and two injured. Rerden further said two soldiers were involved in the shootings, one has been injured and an investigation is being undertaken. Meanwhile MP Antonio Ximenes (PDC) said he totally rejects the attitude of the Australian forces in the shootings of IDPS, adding that the people of Timor-Leste have many times become victims of the Australian Forces as a result of their actions. Members of Commissions A, B and F of the Parliament have begun their investigation and according to Alfredo da Silva, a member of Commission B, families of the victims claim that the Australian forces were patrolling the area in the airport and started shooting as a provocation to the population. They said the victims were in the process of moving to dryer grounds within the camp due to the rain when they were shot by the forces. According to MP Antonio Ximenes the youth killed was a university student in his fifth semester. (DN, TP)
UNPOL and GNR Tortures Students – Students University of UNPAZ have condemned the actions of UNPOL namely GNR and the Royal Malaysian Police for allegedly torturing two UNPAZ students detained during the protest in front of the government palace on February 20. In a joint press conference held Friday, representatives of UNPAZ, UNTL, UNSIL and UNMAR said they held the demonstration in a peaceful manner to call the attention of the leaders the problem of rice shortages which was affecting the population. (STL)
Major Alfredo Group Attack Police Post In Maliana – The border post of Maliana police, southeast of Timor-Leste, was attacked today by a group of men, headed by Major Alfredo Reinado, a source investigating the incident told Lusa. According to the same source, the attackers removed at least 17 weapons from the police post. It is unknown whether there were injuries or deaths during the incident. Major Alfredo, former commander of Timorese military police, was the relevant figure of the military-political crisis of April/May 2006 in Timor-Leste.
On 30 August, last year, he escaped from Becora prison, Dili where he was detained for illegal possession of war materials. Three weeks ago, the Prosecutor General of the Republic and Alfredo Reinado signed “an explicit agreement’ in Gleno to resolve the situation of the military, Timorese Prime Minister Ramos-Horta revealed to Lusa Saturday. He said there was an explicit agreement signed by the two in which for the first time, Reinado compromised to be heard on the weapons case, Ramos-Horta said at the time. Still in agreement with the Prime Minister, Alfredo Reinado had also agreed to appear before Justice in the case of shootings which occurred on May 23, 2006, in which allegedly one member of F-FDTL [Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste] was killed by him.
During the interview with Lusa Saturday, Ramos-Horta added, “I hope that the agreement will have a logical conclusion with the arrival of Reinado in Dili.” (DN)
Lawyer Denies Allegations Involving Lobato – The Lawyer representing Rogerio Lobato has condemned rumours of Rogerio’s getaway to another country as irresponsible, stressing that his client continues to be in his residence in Farol. Nelson de Carvalho said such rumours are spread to further damage the reputation of his client. (TP)
If Fretilin Wins Justice Will Be Put in order: Alkatiri – About 10,000 people attended Fretilin’s gathering on Saturday in Oecussi for the swearing-in of members for the monitoring commission as well as to present Francisco Guterres “Lu-Olo”as the new presidential candidate. Speaking during the event, Mari Alkatri, the party’s Secretary General said if Fretilin wins both Presidential and Parliamentary elections the priority would be to adjust the justice system. In the meantime, it was reported that the Ferry’s first trip to Oecussi was delayed by a few hours due to an overload with Fretilin leaders, militants and members of the government who were participating in the Fretilin gathering. Some of the population from IDP camps who wanted to return to Oecussi managed to get in the ferry. Following a heated argument some people had to leave the boat, reported the media Monday. (DN, TL, STL)
Population Attacks Chefe Suco – A group attacked Chefe Suco of Vila-Verde on Wednesday disagreeing with the government program to sell rice. According to Andre Fernandes, chefe suco of Vila-Verde, a group of people who disagreed on buying rice from the government attacked him by throwing a spear missing him but hitting the door of his house following an agreement by the community to have rice on sale in their area. Fernandes is of the point of view that these people do not want to pay for the rice saying the rice from the government should be free of charge and not for commercial purposes.
IDPS OF AIRPORTO PRESIDENTE NICOLAU LOBATO 26 February 2007
The current violent incident in IDPS camp of airport president Nicolao Lobato, Dili indicated that the Australian troops have bad intention against the IDPS and the Timorese people. They over reacted by arresting and killing IDPS that have become victims of the political crisis that have been taken place within 8 months in Timor Leste. The Australian troops has captured IDPS of Comoro airport without showing any clearly evidence that those refugees are committing crimes or make violence against their colleague, or even Australian troops.
We demand the Australian troops should take responsibility over those killed and others are being injured when they military action against mass civilians on Friday, 23th February 2007. We condemned their military action, because the Australian troops were using tank and other war equipments to attack and terrorize IDPs. Two tanks assaulted into by hitting the door barricade that still locking then fired tear gas with automatic guns against civilians as if they were in a battle against enemies in the battlefield.
Over all these attitudes as a provocation acts to create instability in Dili and be more dangerously to extend this political crisis into interest of Australian Troops in Timor Leste.
Chronology of the Incidents
Exactly on Friday, 23rd February 2007, at 07.40 (Time Timor Leste) the Australian troops were so violently runs after our colleague who was still waiting for transportation to go to school, work and some wanting to hospital. They blockaded until the front of IDPS maindoor, then Manuel Soares was captured and then laid him down to the ground and bit him by using stick until bleeding.
IDPS was shocked with these attitudes of mal- treatments of Australian troops. There fore, some other IDPS wanted to come and witness their colleagues who were being arrested by Australian troops.
The airport IDPS who became victims in that incident. Their name as fallows.
Manuel do Carmo from District Baucau, Sub-District Laga, violently arrested by the Australian troops in front of the IDPS door, laid him down to the ground, beaten him by using guns and all his body was wounded, and also puling him as animal and they threw him into Australian patrol vehicle.
Delfin Sarmento from District Viqueque, sub district Uato-lari he was arrested, but then he escaped and he did not get into Australian vehicle, however the Australian troops pulled his T-shirt out of his body.
Julio da Siva and Viriato Soares, from District Viqueque sub district Uato – Lari and Dilor they are both then went back into IDPS camp and spontaneously reacted against the Australian troops that were brutally assaulting into IDPS camp and at the time the Australian. Troops arrested Manuel do Carmo.
This incident got strong reaction from people and came out of the tent, against those attitudes of Australian troops in front of the entrance door.
Australian forces drove two tanks into by hitting IDPS door barricade which still unlocked and fueled the situation. The children, old man and women be suffered of tear-gas and resulted two seriously injured and two others were lightly injured and one got shot dead right away under IDPS tent by the Australian troops. The troops wanted to hide the dead bodies assuming he was shot outside of the camp so they then pulled out of barbed wire and his hair stickled at the barbed wire. Then the Australian soldiers cover up the dead –body with black plastics and thrown into maize field. However, many of IDPS were seeing and shouted at them, and then they taken back the dead –body put into Australian military vehicle. Complete name of those who were killed and wounded as follows:
Jacinto Soares From district Viqueque, subdistrict ossu, lia-ruka village got shoto death on the spot by Australian forces under tent of IDPS.
Antonio Dasi From District Baucau, sub-district, wailili village, shot byustralian troops, at his chest and his side of left stomach in IDPSamp, unfortunately, he died in the next day in national hospital Guidoaladares at 11.20 on Saturday 23 Th February 2007.
Geraldo Guteres From district Baucau, sub-district venilale, Uai-Oli village, shotat both of his knees and all broken.
Cris Lopes From district Lospalos, shot at his log with heavy injured.
Julio da Silva From district viqueque, sub-district Uato-Lari, shot at his thigh–with heavyly injured
This is not the first Australian brutal attitude against IDPs. Theyave carried out a systematic efforts and systematic discriminationgainst Timorese people.
Due to the above facts of all IDPS of Presidente Nicolau Lobato demandedtrongly and urge to the government of RDTL , UNMIT and internationalorces in Timor Leste to take necessary measures basedn international law prevails over the world against the forces asollows ;
Immediate withdrawal of Australian troops out of Timor Leste.
Request the sovereignty state of RDTL to take on immediately measurest pull out the Australian forces from Timor Leste.
Requested the sovereignty state of representative UN security inimor Leste, attention for responsibility to the problem, because he isead in UNHCR under canvas.
Request the representative of the United Nations forcesin Timor Leste to take responsibility on family of victims and bring up actors of the Australian forces to international tribunal.
We totally reject the news broadcasted on TVTL, that the information was not based on facts taken place in IDPS Comoro.
We totally reject information that Australian forces have been delivering through internews that we shot at them with Ambon-Arrow that was totally false to cover up their bad attitude on us of innocent IDPS.
Over these above demands if it is unrealized, thus, we all IDPS will take a strike and action in Dili and particularly in President Nicolau Lobato Airport Comoro Dili.
A simpatico appeal to all Timorese to provided necessary support to depend IDPS human dignity.
Demand the RDTL government and the UN representative for a closely cooperation to serve Timorese people.
We demand the UN forces to take action in Timor Leste with impartial and not to get involve to a group or a political party.
1. Carlito daSilva
2. Jose daCosta
4. Mateus da CostaBelo
5. Domingos R.Guterres
7. Serafim AlbuquequerBelo
9. Diamantino daCruz
11. NunoSares ( KORKA )
12. Vicente DaSilva PSHT
13. Agustinho DaSilva 77
14. AfonsoPinto MELATO
15. AlbertoCosta PANTAI KELAPA
16. Salvador AGomes IDPS FAROL
17. JulionGuterres IDPS AEROPORTO DILI
18. Kiliberio DosSantos IDPS OBRIGADO BARAK
19.Rosito IDPS HOSPITAL BIDAU
20 Luis Dos SantosBelo IDPS SIONAL
21. Sebastion ZecaXimenes ALDEIA MORIS FOUN
22. Sergio da SilvaReis ESTUDANTE
1. Presidente RDTL
2. Presisdente Parlamento
3. Premeiro Ministro RDTL
4. Tribunal Recurso
5. Representative UNMIT.
6. Ambassador Australia
7. Diocese Dili ho Baucau
8. Ministry of security
9. Ministry Interior
10. Ministerio Transport and Telecomunication.
11. and exetra
Demands CC to
1 To Ministry NegotiationEstrange Rio and Cooperation RDTL.
2 To International HumangRight.
3 To International HumanRight in Geneva, which represent in Timor Leste?
4 To .President Provedor Direitos Humanus RDTL.
5 To ATUR KHAREResponsible UNMIT in Timor – Leste
CAMPAIGNER FOR ACCOUNTABILITY Insider lashes ‘lip service to human rights’ By JEFF KINGSTON Special to The Japan Times: Sunday, Feb.25, 2007 Written laws are like spiders’ webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful. Anarchis, 6th century B.C.
‘How can we talk of human rights in East Timor? Respect for human rights requires the proper context and we do not have that.”
Thus spoke Joaquim da Fonseca, a thirtysomething with piercing eyes, longhair pulled back above his strikingly angular face and the slight frame of an ascetic. He has the air of a poet, speaks enigmatically like a philosopher and works as the human-rights adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office in East Timor’s capital of Dili, where he has been learning the political ropes since he accepted the post last summer.
Leaning back in his chair, Fonseca observed that his transition from being an NGO activist to a government actor had been frustrating — and it is clear where he would rather be. But he also has a sense of duty, and so he finds himself in the corridors of power looking in.
Fonseca admits to having felt more influential as an outside critic, from where there are many channels to exercise influence, than as a governmentinsider constrained in what he can say and isolated by his lack of political ties. He also rues the weakness of his office in the face ofother ministries asserting their competing agendas and claims on the limited resources available.
Moreover, in trying to promote greater attention to humanrights issues atCabinet meetings, he confesses frustration at hearing “the echo ofone hand clapping.” Blatant political manipulation of the justice system discredits it in thepublic’s eyes. Fonseca laments that, saying, “Equality before thelaw is not fully observed. Those with political importance are givenprivileged treatment.”
And so a jaded public grows more jaded, hoping for a justice that doesnot come. Fonseca describes the high-profile case of former Interior MinisterRogerio Lobato as a “golden opportunity” for the government torestore the credibility of the judicial system. “If the ruling classcan convict one of its own, it would go a long way in reassuring thepeople that justice is not only for the poor and powerless,” hesaid. However, the case was postponed in November under dubiouscircumstances, fueling skepticism and rumors. The proceedings againstLobato concerning his role in transferring weapons to a hit squad resumedearlier this year.
Fonseca, like everyone else in Dili, seemed to expect that Lobato’salleged co-conspirator, ousted Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, would not beprosecuted. Alas, in the court of public opinion, Alkatiri had been foundguilty, so the justice system received yet another black eye byexonerating him in early February. He says that “the number-one human-rights problem affecting EastTimor is the lack of justice and accountability. It is so serious that itweakens public administration.” There is no deterrent to crime andso it spirals out of control because “the culture of impunity hasentered people’s consciousness.”
Fonseca complains that there is no sense of urgency. Parliament, he says,has shown that it is more concerned with increasing its own members’pensions than in addressing the severe human-rights problems in EastTimor, exhibiting a selfishness that “smears the reputation ofdemocracy.”
Backlog of cases
The problem is that the process of establishing a judicial system fromscratch is being overtaken by events, and is burdened with a growingbacklog of cases. The court system provides no redress to victims, and itthus has a long uphill battle to regain public trust. He admits thatdetainees are poorly treated and often languish in prison waiting for atrial date that never comes. The routine denial of lawyer visits and dueprocess are also breaches of their constitutional rights. In addition,police frequently abuse their powers of detention. Fonseca asserts that the breakdown of law and order in 2006, theprevalence of vigilante justice and the escalation of gang violence areall symptomatic of a failed judicial system. “Time is runningout,” he says, “and the government has to give more than lipservice to justice and human rights.”
PM – Investigation begins into East Timor civilian death
[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2007/s1855782.htm%5D ABC Online PM – Friday, 23 February , 2007 18:14:00 Reporter: Sean Dorney
MARK COLVIN: To East Timor where investigations are underway into the shooting death of a Timorese civilian by an Australian soldier.
The Australian Defence Force says the soldier opened fire when his unit was attacked with steel arrows near a refugee camp close to Dili airport. Authorities have been trying to tackle an upsurge in street violence between rival youth gangs. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has issued fresh travel warnings, saying the security situation in East Timor is volatile and could deteriorate without warning. The ABC’s Sean Dorney is in Dili and he joins me now.
MARK COLVIN: Sean, what are the conditions in this refugee camp? What was the situation when this incident took place?
SEAN DORNEY: There are several thousand people living in this camp Mark. It’s right next to the airport, it actually backs on to the airport.
The people are living in white tents provided by the United Nations. They’re amongst the tens of thousands of people who were displaced in the troubles just about 12 months ago in East Timor.
Now we don’t know the full details of exactly what the Australian unit was involved in this morning but they did go to that camp and in response to an attack this Australian soldier opened-fire killing one person and injuring two. Those two are seriously injured and I believe one of them is undergoing surgery at the hospital in Dili at the moment.
MARK COLVIN: Now, the accounts from the Defence Department say that they were attacked with steel arrows. Are those darts? Have you seen those in operation?
SEAN DORNEY: No I haven’t and I haven’t seen anyone firing darts in the last day or two that I’ve been here, but it is a common weapon in East Timor.
Apparently they fire these darts from slingshots and they can be quite lethal and it’s something that has been around in East Timor, I think, right through the troubles with Indonesia as well.
MARK COLVIN: A sharp metal projectile fired from a catapult could really do some damage. Do we know what the army has been doing in relation to this camp in recent days, or, in relation to the camps in recent days?
SEAN DORNEY: Well over the last few days there has been an increase in violence.
Last weekend there was an escape of five prisoners from the prison here in Dili. There was also sporadic fighting between these martial arts gangs, which are alleged to be associated with different political parties. And we’re in a party-political mood here at the moment because two elections are coming up, an election for president and then the parliamentary elections.
Apart from that gang warfare, there’s a huge food shortage and two days ago people raided one of the warehouses that was housing rice from the World Food Program, some 700 bags of rice were stolen.
And when the United Nations Police, who are here in quite large numbers, moved in on that, the United Nations Police vehicles were stoned and seven United Nation’s Policemen were injured. Quite a number of vehicles were damaged. I’ve seen shattered windows and damage and two burnt out United Nations and Government vehicles. So, there’s been trouble here for the last few days.
Since this morning’s trouble I’ve driven out to the airport four or five times. There hasn’t been any further trouble that I’m aware of, certainly nothing that we could see, whereas over the last few days a lot of vehicles have been stoned, not only United Nations vehicles. Yesterday, when we were picking up our hire car yesterday afternoon, three or four vehicles came in that had been hired but had been smashed by people throwing rocks at them.
MARK COLVIN: Well that leads me to the obvious question that I was going to ask which was has the shooting inflamed things or made them easier?
SEAN DORNEY: An observation of mine would be that it’s sent a shock wave through Dili. I’m told by a Portuguese journalist who has spoken to some of the people from the camp that things are very tense, but you can travel freely along the road today whereas yesterday that was not possible. But Mark you know in these situations things can fester and explode.
MARK COLVIN: And a lot will depend on the investigation into this incident.
SEAN DORNEY: Yes, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, an Indian diplomat, Atul Khare, has actually been out to the camp today. He’s been visiting a lot of these hot spots in the last few days and at a news conference he held yesterday, he said that 148 East Timorese had been arrested by the United Nations Police in the last few days.
So, relationships between the authorities and the population, especially the people in these internally displaced persons camps, is not all that good.
MARK COLVIN: Sean Dorney, thank you very much. Sean Dorney in Dili there.
AUSGOV: Entry into Force of Greater Sunrise Treaties with East Timor
http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2007/fa019_07.html The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA Media Release
23 February 2007 I am pleased to announce that today in Dili, Australia and East Timor conducted a formal exchange of notes to bring into force the two treaties which settle arrangements in the Timor Sea between our countries.
The International Unitisation Agreement (IUA) and the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS) Treaty together provide stable legal and fiscal regimes for the exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources in the Timor Sea between Australia and East Timor to the benefit of both countries.
CMATS puts on hold the Parties’ claims to jurisdiction and maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea for 50 years. Australia has agreed to share equally with East Timor the upstream revenues from the Greater Sunrise reservoirs, a move which will help underpin the economic independence of our neighbour.
The IUA will enable the development of Greater Sunrise, a large gas field that straddles the eastern border of the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) in the Timor Sea. Equal sharing of the upstream revenues from Greater Sunrise under CMATS could result in Australia and East Timor each receiving up to US$10 billion over the life of the project.
The new maritime arrangements agreed with East Timor under these treaties are on top of the already generous sharing arrangements within the JPDA under the existing 2002 Timor Sea Treaty, where East Timor receives 90% of revenue from production of petroleum resources, which may be worth as much as US$15 billion. East Timor’s Petroleum Fund, set up to receive and administer the revenues it receives from oil and gas sales, now has a balance of over US$1 billion from exploitation of resources in the JPDA.
Under the new agreements, Australia will continue to exercise continental shelf jurisdiction outside the JPDA and south of the 1972 Australia-Indonesia seabed boundary. East Timor will be able to exercise fisheries jurisdiction within the JPDA. A Maritime Commission will also be established to enable high-level dialogue on a range of important issues facing Australia and East Timor in the Timor Sea, including the management of security threats to offshore platforms and cooperation in managing fisheries resources.
UN Investigates Deadly Violence Near Camp For Displaced Persons
UN New Service New York, Feb 23 2007 6:00PM United Nations police today in Timor-Leste are investigating deadly violence that erupted at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near the capital’s airport, in which one Timorese was killed and two injured.
“The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Atul Khare, has moved to reassure the people of Dili that the security situation at the IDP camp is under control,” the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) said in a statement.
According to the International Security Forces (ISF), when they responded to a disturbance at the airport IDP camp, one ISF soldier “was attacked and defended himself by shooting the attacker, resulting in the death of one Timorese national.”
The UN Police (UNPOL) immediately deployed officers from the Malaysian, Pakistani and Portuguese Formed Police Units to the area, which was later deemed secure. Mr. Khare “urged people to remain calm” and to cooperate with UNPOL, the Timorese Police and ISF soldiers.
In another development, the head of UN humanitarian assistance in Timor-Leste today announced a large-scale delivery of rice in Dili, which has been plagued by shortages and price increases. “In order to alleviate this situation, the Government has requested the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide 300 metric tonnes of rice and WFP has responded positively to this request,” said Finn Reske-Nielsen.
Department of Defence Media Mail List CPA 043/07 Saturday, 24 February 2007
SHOOTING INCIDENT AT DILI AIRPORT UPDATE – The ADF can confirm that one of the two Timorese nationals wounded during the incident at the Dili Airport Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp yesterday, has passed away in the Dili Hospital this morning as a result of his injuries.
The third Timorese national that was wounded yesterday continues to receive treatment at the Dili hospital. The ADF has been advised that his condition is stable.
The ADF regrets any incident that involves the loss of life.
While responding to a disturbance at the Dili Airport IDP Camp at approximately 8.50am on 23 February, ADF soldiers were attacked with steel arrows, which are potentially lethal weapons.
On two occasions during the incident, ADF soldiers were required to defend themselves by firing at the attackers.
ADF personnel in Timor-Leste operate under strict rules of engagement. These rules allow our soldiers to defend themselves, and other persons whom they are assigned to protect.
The incident will be fully investigated by Defence in cooperation with the United Nations Police (UNPOL) and Timor-Leste authorities.
Media contact: Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664
Issued by Coordination and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 6265 6946
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA E and OE 23 February 2007
Doorstop – Adelaide Subjects: East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, David Hicks
MR DOWNER: First of all, today we have finally concluded all of the procedures to bring into force the Timor Sea Agreements on oil and gas exploration. The final agreement, the agreement in relation to the Greater Sunrise field, will give Australia and East Timor an expected $10 billion each over the years. Also we have given East Timor 90% of the revenue from the Joint Petroleum Development Area. So this has been a long time coming and it is an exciting moment that the procedures are complete and we can exchange letters – which we expect will happen this afternoon – and bring into force the Timor Sea Agreements. So I’m delighted, as the Minister who has presided over all of this – over some years of time – to be able to bring all that to a happy conclusion.
Of course not in every respect, a happy day in East Timor. We obviously regret the fact that a soldier from the Australian Defence Force shot and killed an East Timorese. The soldier was attacked by the East Timorese with steel arrows and the soldier – in self defence in a life threatening situation – shot the East Timorese youth. In these circumstances there will of course be an investigation. The Australian Defence Force will investigate the incident. The United Nations Police and the East Timorese authorities will also co-operate with that investigation so once that investigation is complete, we’ll have a fuller picture of what has happened. But this is a function of what has been happening in East Timor for the last few days. There has been a quite considerable upsurge of violence in East Timor and serious security incidents. We are just going through a period now where the security situation is not good in East Timor. So despite it being a happy time in terms of the Timor Sea Agreement – and they are very important for East Timor’s future – nevertheless, this incident is a very sad incident and it’s a concern. But the Australian soldier was acting in self defence and they are part of the rules of engagement.
JOURNALIST: What’s the situation with the soldier? Does he remain on active duty (inaudible)?
MR DOWNER: That’s a matter for the Australian Defence Force. I gather the defence force are investigating the incident in cooperation with the United Nations Police and the East Timorese authorities. But what he’ll actually do during that – the investigation – is a matter for the defence force. We won’t get involved in that.
JOURNALIST: Do you know if he was (inaudible)
MR DOWNER: I can’t tell you that, no.
JOURNALIST: What details and circumstances lead to this – was there some kind of a metal barb that was fired?
MR DOWNER: Arrow – steel arrows. He was being attacked with steel arrows, I understand. And in an act of self defence – which is consistent with the rules of engagement – he fired on the assailant who was killed.
JOURNALIST: How would you classify the violent situation there? Is it escalating, stable?
MR DOWNER: No, escalating – it has got worse during the last week. Some of it may be politically motivated, some of it has been associated with discontent with food distribution in the displaced persons camps out near the airport. This incident occurred in that area I believe. But actually the security situation in East Timor has not been good in the last few days. We’ve been quite concerned about it so that the some incident like this should occur, doesn’t come as a great surprise. There’ve been – I think – three occasions in the past where the Australian Defence Force have opened fire in circumstances where they’ve been attacked so it’s not unprecedented but of course in this particular case, the assailant was killed.
JOURNALIST: Can we expect a response to this upsurge – whether it be politically or militarily?
MR DOWNER: Well – I don’t think – in all honesty. The East Timorese Government, the Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta and others have been kept abreast of the situation. Look, I can’t say what will happen but we obviously have to be prepared for a continuation of violence over the next few days and we’ve adjusted our travel advisory to reflect the concerns we have about the current levels of violence and the possibility it could get worse.
JOURNALIST: So you would welcome though now that the US, the UN has extended its presence for another year?
MR DOWNER: Yes.
JOURNALIST: What’s your comment on that?
MR DOWNER: The United Nations Security Council yesterday passed a resolution to extend the life of UNMIT – the United Nations Mission in East Timor – for another 12 months. We’ve obviously been involved in the negotiations that have lead to successful passage of this resolution and we warmly welcome that. That’s good – that provides a stable environment in terms of the international presence in East Timor and sadly I think we will need an international presence there – particularly during the course of this year – leading up to the Presidential elections which will be in around April, and the Parliamentary Elections in June/July – the middle of the year. So it’s going to be a difficult year with the elections – both Presidential and Parliamentary – and coming on top of what is inherently a fairly volatile environment, there needs to be a strong United Nations presence there and that’s what we’ve got through this security council resolution.
JOURNALIST: Minister, can we say – particularly with the election this year – there will be personnel changes, personnel increase in any way to support those elections with this upsurge?
MR DOWNER: Yes, the United Nations Police will be reinforced with a rapid reaction capability so the United Nations Police will be strengthened through this difficult period. Whether we will change the number of defence personnel we have there, that will depend on the evaluations made by the Commander. My judgement isn’t really the issue here – it is the Commander’s judgement. The Defence Minister, the Prime Minister and I – we don’t make that decision – we’ll take advice by the Commander.
UNMIT Press Statement on Airport IDP Camp Incident
Statement from UNMIT on incident at the Airport IDP Camp
23rd February, 2007 – UNPol is investigating this morning’s incident in which a Timorese national was fatally injured, and two others were injured, at an internally displaced persons’ camp near the Dili airport.
UNPol advises the area is secure after officers from the Malaysian, Pakistani and Portuguese Formed Police Units were immediately deployed to the area.
According to a public statement released this morning by the International Security Forces, the ISF responded to a disturbance at the Airport IDP camp and during that incident an ISF soldier was attacked and defended himself by shooting the attacker, resulting in the death of one Timorese national.
The ISF also stated it will fully cooperate with the UNPol authorities in investigating the incident. It will also conduct and internal investigation.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General Atul Khare has moved to reassure the people of Dili that the security situation at the IDP camp is under control. He thanked the people of Timor Leste for having maintained peace in Dili over the past 36 hours.
SRSG Khare urged people to remain calm and to cooperate with UNPol and PNTL officers and ISF soldiers who are working to provide security across Dili.
For additional information, please contact: Allison Cooper, Spokesperson at +670 723 0453
Australian soldier shoots East Timorese to dead
CANBERRA (AP): An Australian soldier shot East Timorese during a clash between Australian peacekeeping troops and East Timorese refugees sheltered near Dili international airport on Friday left one civilian dead and three people injured.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the soldier killed the youth in self defense, adding that the Australian Defense Force, UN police and East Timorese authorities were investigating the incident.
East Timor or Timor Leste, a tiny nation that claimed its independence from Indonesia in 1999, was plunged into crisis last April and May when factional fighting broke out between police and armed forces. The clashes spilled onto the streets, where looting, arson and gang warfare left at least 37 dead and sent155,000 people fleeing their homes.
“The soldier was attacked by the East Timorese with steel arrows, and the soldier, in self defense in a life-threatening situation, shot the East Timorese youth,” Downer told reporters in Adelaide.
Downer said the shooting “doesn’t come as a great surprise” given how unstable Dili has become in the past week.
“We’ve been quite concerned about security,” he said. Downer welcomed the U.N. Security Council’s decision on Thursday to extend the U.N. mission in East Timor for a year and beef up the international police force ahead of presidential elections in April and parliamentary elections in mid year.
Downer said the death Friday was the third occasion since Australian military forces arrived in May last year that they had to shoot in self defense. It was the first confirmed fatal shooting by an Australian soldier.
Downer said he did not know if the soldier would remain on duty while the shooting is investigated. (**)
Australian soldier shoots dead East Timorese civilian in Dili
Agence France-Presse Friday, February 23, 2007An Australian soldier shot dead an East Timorese civilian Friday after being attacked with steel arrows, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) said.
The ADF said the soldier, in East Timor as part of an international peacekeeping force, was responding to a disturbance at a refugee camp at Dili’s Comoro airport when the shooting took place Friday morning.
“During the incident an ADF soldier was attacked with steel arrows which are potentially lethal weapons,” the ADF said in a statement. “He defended himself by shooting the attacker, resulting in the death of one Timorese national.”
The ADF said it regretted any incident involving loss of life and the shooting was being investigated by the International Security Force (ISF) and United Nations police trying to bring peace to the tiny nation. “ISF soldiers operate under strict rules of engagement. These rules allow ISF soldiers to defend themselves, and other persons whom they are assigned to protect,” the ADF said.
The death comes amid attempts to clamp down on a recent resurgence of street violence in the East Timorese capital which left seven UN police officers injured Wednesday and led to 148 arrests. The violence, mostly between youths belonging to rival martial arts gangs, is some of the worst to hit Dili since major unrest in April and May last year left 37 dead. The UN has deployed some 1,300 police to help restore order, backed by the Australia-led International Security Force of about 1,000 troops.
ABC: Soldiers showed restraint in E Timor shooting: security chief ABC News Online Last Update: Friday, February 23, 2007. 10:36pm (AEDT)
East Timor shooting Soldiers showed restraint in E Timor shooting: security chief – The Australian Brigadier General in command of the international security force in East Timor has stoutly defended the actions of an Australian soldier who shot dead an East Timorese civilian this morning. Brigadier General Mal Rerden says the Australian soldiers involved in the confrontation showed great restraint. He told the media briefing in Dili they had tried to quell a group throwing rocks at vehicles on the only road to the airport.
They had tried teargas before they were attacked by steel darts fired from catapults. Brigadier General Rerden revealed that two soldiers had fired their weapons, killing one man and wounding two others. He said both soldiers had been debriefed and they were cooperating with the United Nations police investigation. He said they were being provided with legal counsel and they had returned to normal duties while the police investigation continued.
EAST TIMOR: AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS KILL TWO MEN CLAIM LOCAL SOURCES Dili, 23 Feb. (AKI) – Two East Timorese were shot dead by Australian soldiers in Dili, on Friday. Jacinto Soares, 32, and Atoy Dasy, 36 were killed, while a third man, Geraldo Martins, 40, is in hospital in critical condition, the director of Dili Guido Valadares hospital, Antonio Caleres, told Adnkronos International (AKI). “Jacinto [Soares] was shot with a semi automatic rifle on the head; Atoy Dasy on his chest while Geraldo [Martins] on his left leg,” Caleres told AKI. In a statement to the media, the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
said the soldiers acted in self-defence.
According to the ADF, the shooting happened when the soldiers responded to a disturbance at a refugee camp near Dili’s Comoro airport. However, in the statement ADF said that only one man died.
Atoy Dasy was the brother-in-law of Antonio Ximenes, a member of the East Timor National Parliament. Ximenes told AKI he regretted the accident and called for an investigation. “I do regret this incident because Australian soldiers killed civilians. The Australian soldiers should face our people with love and not with a repressive approach,” Ximenes said. “The parliament should establish an investigation team to look into this incident,” he added.
The Australian Defence Force said in its statement that “during the incident an ADF soldier was attacked with steel arrows, which are potentially lethal weapons. He defended himself by shooting the attacker.”
Ivan Benitez-Aguirre, an Australian military spokesman in Dili, told reporters that an Australian soldier and two East Timorese civilians were injured in the incident. He also said that the ADF would investigate the shooting in cooperation with local authorities. A statement released by the UN Integrated Mission in East Timor (UNMIT) Public Information office stated that UN Police (UNIPOL) has already started the investigating. The accident has exacerbated an already tense situation, and many fear Australians could again become the target of local ire.
Australians troops had already beeng targeted last October, after a full-page article published by the Suara Timor-Leste, the main local newspaper, accused them of having killed two East Timorese. The article was preceded by a comment by Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, the head of the armed forces of East Timor, who called for an independent investigation to verify Australian neutrality in the political crisis in the country.
Canberra has 800 troops in East Timor, as part of the multinational peacekeeping force it led last year to quell civil unrest in one of the world’s newest countries. About 1000 international police are also in East Timor as part of a United Nations mission. (Fsc/Ner/Aki) Feb-23-07 09:48
AUSGOV: Shooting Incident at Dili Airport
Department of Defence Media Mail List CPA 041/06 Friday, 23 February 2007
SHOOTING INCIDENT AT DILI AIRPORT 23 FEBRUARY 2007
Today at approximately 0850 hours the International Security Force (ISF) responded to a disturbance at the Dili Airport Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp.
During the incident an ADF soldier was attacked with steel arrows which are potentially lethal weapons. He defended himself by shooting the attacker, resulting in the death of one Timorese national.
The ADF regrets any incident that involves the loss of life.
ISF soldiers operate under strict rules of engagement. These rules allow ISF soldiers to defend themselves, and other persons whom they are assigned to protect.
The incident will be fully investigated in cooperation with UNPOL and Timor Leste authorities.
Media contact: Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664
UN New Service Security Council extends Timor-Leste mission for 1 year, boosts police – Security Council Security Council 22 February 2007 – The Security Council today extended the United Nations mission in impoverished Timor-Leste for another year until February 2008, while adding up to 140 extra police officers to help counter the increasing violence as the tiny nation gears up for this year’s elections.
The 15-member body voted unanimously on extending the mandate of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), due to expire on Sunday, as well as on an additional Formed Police Unit (FPU), made up of more heavily armed officers. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had called for both measures, which were also backed by Timorese leaders.
The resolution expressed the Council’s concern over the still fragile and volatile security, political, social and humanitarian situation in imor-Leste and welcomed “initial efforts made in the security sector.”
The FPU, to be comprised of up to 140 police officers, aims to supplement the existing deployment “particularly during the pre- and post-electoral period.”
The Council also expressed its “full support” for the International Security Forces (ISF) in Timor-Leste, and also urged the Government to continue working with UNMIT on a comprehensive review of the security sector.
On Wednesday, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Atul Khare, who heads UNMIT, urged the population to fully support the security efforts of the UN and local police, as well as those of the ISF, as they work to stop the recent upsurge in violence, particularly in the capital Dili.
The first round of the Timorese presidential election is scheduled for 9 April, with the parliamentary election to be held later. These will be the first polls held in the tiny nation since it gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.
The Council created UNMIT in August 2006 to help restore order after deadly fighting, attributed to differences between eastern and western regions, broke out in April and May and caused the deaths of at least 37 people and forced about 155,000 others – or 15 per cent of the population – to flee their homes.
148 arrested over Timor violence From correspondents in Dili February 22, 2007 09:14pm Article from: Agence France-Presse – UN police have arrested 148 people suspected of involvement in a resurgence of street violence in the East Timorese capital, the UN envoy to the troubled country said today. “In the past three days, the police have arrested 148 people, all related to the security situation in Dili,” Atul Khare said.
Seven international UN police officers were injured yesterday in fresh violence on the streets of Dili. Police had stepped up patrols to tighten security following the recent increase in violence, Mr Khare said.
“I do believe that … the people of Timor Leste (Easr Timor) will refrain from (violence), will introspect and will come to the conclusion that attacking the United Nations, which is here to restore peace and calm in their country, is not something which can be praised, it is something that must be condemned,” he said. Mr Khare warned of tough action against those involved in the latest street violence to hit Dili since major unrest in April and May last year left 37 dead.
The street violence, mostly between members of rival martial arts gangs, has beset Dili for the past two weeks.
Australia yesterday warned its citizens against travelling to East Timor due to the “volatile security situation.” “The situation could deteriorate further without notice and Australians could be caught up in any violence directed at others,” the department of foreign affairs and trade said.
“There is also an increasing likelihood that Australians and Australian interests may be specifically targeted.” Last year, a protest by disgruntled soldiers rapidly degenerated into clashes between rival security forces and gang wars on the streets of the capital that prompted the deployment of an Australian-led international peacekeeping force. The UN has deployed some 1300 police to help restore order.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 22 February 2007
Students Rejects CVA Program – University students from UNTL, ARY, UNDIL, Dom Martinho and UNPAZ held a meeting and called on the attention of the country leaders that the recent public hearing program of Comissão Verdade e Amizade (CVA) in Bali does not reflect the victims’ wishes and it has been a manipulation by holding the hearing in Bali rather than Timor-Leste. The students’ appealed to the government and the Parliament to pay more attention to the peoples concerns and problems stating that the time is not appropriate to discuss the demands of CVA but the friendship within the country to stop the violence here and that for justice to prevail there should not be amnesty. The sovereign bodies must focus on the basic necessities of the population. They also called on the abolition of the pension for members of the Parliament and lamented the action of UNPOL in detaining and torturing two of their colleagues from UNPAZ. The groups’ spokesperson said they rejected the CVA public hearing in Bali because they don’t want the involvement of the victims and their families, adding that the group will continue to fight for justice to the victims in a spirit of nationalism and patriotism. The group said it is not affiliated with any political party. (DN)
People Have Questioned UNPOL Operations: Barris – Minister of Interior Alcino Barris said the some actions of UNPOL have raised a few questions among the population for detaining members of one group and not the others. Based on this matter, Barris said he constantly meets with UNPOL and has brought the subject to their attention, adding that both the MI and UNPOL will be discussing operation strategies and he hopes that it will proceed properly in the long term.
President of Partido Democratico (PD) Fernando Lasama reportedly said UNPOL is already discriminating in relation to security by providing security to Mari Alkatiri who is no longer the Prime Minister. Lasama wants to know why so many numbers of UNPOL provided security to Alkatiri during a political activity in the District of Gleno. He said if that is the case then he would request UNPOL for security for PD political campaign but stressed that if his party would ask for security it would create a perception among the community that leaders are scared of their own people. Therefore, he asked UNMIT to look into this matter as it is not appropriate. He said that if this is the case then all parties are entitled to security and not only Fretilin. President of PMG, Hermenegild “Kupa” Lopes said his party considers the actions of the police discriminatory because Mari Alkatiri is not a member of the government or the prime minister. He said the government is also responsible for not removing the assets still used by Mari like the house he is staying, the car and the bodyguards. (DN, STL)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 21 February 2007
“I will assure Security and Stability”: LU-Olo – Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo said in a press conference held on Tuesday at CCF Comoro that he will together with the other Organs of sovereignty to work towards assuring stability. He said that he can’t use the law anyway he likes, because the law is above everyone, and it should be applied equally to all. ” If I become elected as President of the Republic I will follow the Constitution…it’s a democracy and I will accept whatever outcome will be, “said Lu-Olo. (Diario)
“Need to put post in areas of conflict”: Alcino Barris – Minister of Interior, Alcino Barris on Monday at the Ministry of Interior, told Diario that some police posts are already in place but in some areas the delay is due to the need for rehabilitation including water supply and the installation of toilets and electricity. He said that every day he requests the UNPOL to expedite plans as quickly as possible in order to put the posts in problematic areas like Fatuhada, Ailok laram, Bairro Pite, Matadouro and so on, to prevent conflicts from escalating.
The Minister of Interior, Alcino Barris said that, members of the Unit of Rapid Response (UIR), beginning next week will be able to carry pistols when responding together with UNPOL to any incident. (Diario)
“Criminal do not deserve security”: Sabino – The General-Secretary of Democratic Party (PD), Mariano Sabino said that Mari Alkatiri is a criminals and doesn’t deserve to have tight security in instances such as when the Fretilin party went to the District of Ermera for their consolidation. He said security is for the entire population and not just for leaders only, he told STL at Hotel Dili on Monday. He added, “Mari was afraid and that’s why he had security from UNPOL, GNR and the Pakistani forces because it was from his incompetence and the distribution of guns to civilians that made this crises escalate.” (STL)
Government doesn’t hire judges and Prosecutors from CPLP”-Domingos Sarmento – Minister of Justice Domingos Sarmento, on Monday at Hotel Timor, responded to the questions concerning the Judges and Prosecutes from CPLP countries that are working in Timor-Leste. He said that its not the Government that hires the judges and persecutors, its the UN. “He said they are here not representing a CPLP country; they are here as internationals judges and prosecutors, according to the law of Timor-Leste ” Code of Judicial Magistrate decree” which allows international judges and prosecutes to come and work together with Timorese judges and prosecutors in the Courts, Sarmento said. (STL)
Statement of father Maubere Irresponsible- Estanislau – Vice Primer Minister with Minister of Agriculture Estanislau da Silva talking to the journalist at the NP said that he considers the statement made by Father Domingos Soares Maubere as irresponsible because he accused the Government of keeping the rice and selling it to militants of Fretilin. “I say this because as a militant of Fretilin, I have not bought any rice from here. In my office I receive people from all other political parties such as Joao Goncalve, Clementino Amaral, Vicente Maubusi and others. The Government is making an effort to help the population. We have already contacted the Governments of Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and Vietnam regarding this matter and in a week or two rice will arrive here. Therefore, for I ask the priest instead of merely talking, to come to the Government for clarification,” Estanislau said. (Diario)
Population attacked cars and the MD building – Shortages of rice is the reason people of Dili threw stones at the MD building, while the Minister was having a meeting with the partners on possible ways to solve the shortages,on Monday morning. Some managed to break into the warehouse and by night hundreds of people where gathering there to see if they could get some rice. UNPOL was already deployed there to obstruct and made some arrests. According to TP, the presence of UNPOL there made the people angry and they started to throw stones at the UNPOL officers there.
MP Antonio Ximenes said to TP that he doesn’t blame the population for behaving in this manner as it is the fault of the Government and UNMIT and if they don’t solve this quickly the population will break into other warehouses. (TP)
EAST TIMOR: POLICE CONTINUE SEARCH FOR PRISON ESCAPEES Dili, 20 Feb. (AKI) – The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has announced that police and international forces will continue the search for five people who escaped from Becora Prison in Dili, the capital, as law enforcement efforts continue across the small country. UN Police (UNPOL) and the International Security Forces (ISF) have set up vehicle check points across Dili. The ISF has also been conducting helicopter surveillance. In addition, “a cordon and search operation in Liquica and other anticipated hideouts is continuing,” UNMIT said in a news release.
The five men escaped the detention facility on Saturday afternoon after climbing over the perimeter fence. A sixth man failed in his attempt to escape. In other law enforcement news, UNMIT said over the weekend a total of 32 people were arrested across the country on a range of charges including assault, group fighting, arson, public disturbance and property damage. The Security Council created UNMIT in August to help restore order after the deadly fighting, attributed to differences between eastern and western regions, broke out and caused the deaths of at least 37 people and forced about 155,000 others – or 15 per cent of the population – to flee their homes.
The Council mandated a police presence of some 1,600 qualified UNPOL officers coming from various countries to support the Timorese National Police through interim law enforcement, training and institutional development. (Rar/Aki) Feb-20-07 09:20
UNMIT Daily Media Review 20 February 2007
Government Debating Alfredo’s Case: Monteiro – Prosecutor General, Monteiro said the government plans to advance Alfredo’s case by debating it this week in the Presidential Palace. The hearing process will be decided next Thursday. Monteiro said it would be a high level government meeting that would try and find a solution to the case. He refused to comment on any interference from the government. (STL)
We Cannot Deny Violence In Dili: Bishop Basilio – The Bishop of Baucau Diocese, Basilio do Nascimento said the problems in the country are mainly centered in Dili and not in the districts stressing that security should be a contribution from all the people. In a separate article in Diario Nacional, the Bishop reportedly told the media following a meeting with President Gusmão that it would be difficult to resolve the crisis in Dili and, therefore, he suggest all those responsible for the country offer the best option to overcome the problem. (STL, DN)
Parliament Ask Minister To Resign Following Escape – Members of Commission A of the National Parliament want the Minister of Justice to resign following the escape of six prisoners from Becora Prison on Saturday. Alexandre Corte-Real said the minister must be responsible as it is the second time prisoners have escaped from that prison, noting that the escape of the prisoners can be a threat to the community. Corte-Real said when Alfredo and other people escaped from Becora prison the Minister of Justice blamed the international forces that were providing security but the minister must ask himself what has gone wrong. MP Antonio Ximenes (PDC) argues that the prisoners are escaping because they have completed their temporary detention and their cases should already be processed in the court and that the Minister should resign based on lack of capacity to manage his ministry, as should the President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes for the prisoners’ pending court cases. He also blames the Minister of Interior for weak security measures within the jail. In the meantime, the Minister has announced the establishment of an investigation commission to look into the escape. (STL)
PNTL Still Inexperienced To Carry Operations Alone – Minister of Interior, Alcino Barris said PNTL is still not experienced in holding operations alone hence they continue to work with UNPOL. He said that only with time after all the PNTL officers are reactivated and the structures established, will PNTL take over the responsibilities and UNPOL will be in the role of advisors. Barris stressed that PNTL still cannot hold operations due to the conditions of the equipment but in the meantime some of the PNTL officers are now involved in various department like traffic or criminal investigation and soon they will also be stationed in vital areas like the courts, power stations, ports, etc. (DN)
15 Political Parties Contesting Elections – A total of 15 political parties have now registered in the justice Ministry and approved by the Court of Appeal, Minister of Justice Domingos Sarmento told the media Monday. According to the Minister, all the parties are contesting the 2007 legislative elections. (STL)
Members of Martial Arts Group Sentenced – On Monday, the court sentenced 17 members of the martial arts group PSHT to 10 months imprisonment for attacking the police squad in Bidau, Akadirihun in December.
RTTL News Headlines Monday 19-02-2007
Tilman Launches Public Campaign – Presidential candidate, Manuel Tilman launched his campaign to the public on Saturday. Not many people participated in the event due to the rain.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 17 – 19 February 2007
UN Considers Alfredo A Threat To Elections – All the media reported on SRSG’s press conference Friday. In Saturday’s headlines, Timor Post reported that the UN considers Major Alfredo a threat to the elections because he still has some heavy firearms and he is a fugitive. But the SRSG hopes that Alfredo will submit peacefully to justice. On Monday, STL reported that SRSG Khare reportedly said UNMIT would suggest the establishment of a pact for the political parties to abstain from violence and money politics in order to have successful elections, underlining that the election would be a unifying and not a divisive element for the people of Timor-Leste. Hence the people and the leaders must be committed to peace and stability and also in order to have a successful election, UNMIT is providing security. Mr. Khare also informed during the press conference that UNMIT’s mandate would be extended for another year due to the security situation in the country and that the UN Security Council has decided to increase the number of police to 140 and they would also monitor the situation in the districts. (TP, STL, DN)
Becora Prison Escapees – Six prisoners have reportedly escaped from Becora prison by climbing the back wall of the prison with a rope and escaping through the cornfield. According to DN, the prison area has been under the presence of strong security from the Australian forces which chased and captured one of the escaped prisoners. STL reported that the escape occurred on Saturday afternoon at around 15:30hrs. Manuel Exposto, Director of the prison, said the international forces and police have been notified and are taking over the case. (DN, STL)
Alkatiri Incites Situation – Fretilin’s consolidation gathering and the swearing-in of members for monitoring the 2007 election in Ermera was under tight security from the international forces and UNPOL, reported STL Monday. According to this daily, Gleno stadium was encircled with UNPOL security and only people with Fretilin membership card were allowed in. STL also reported that the presence of Alkatiri was seen as an incitement. According to STL, the numbers of Fretilin members from Ermera could be counted but adding the members from some nearby districts one could say that about 500 people participated in the gathering.
Alkatiri reportedly told the crowd Saturday that it is guaranteed that Fretilin will win 60% of the votes in the District of Ermera even though it is the opposition area, adding that he will return to campaign. (STL, DN, TP)
Cancellation Of Tourist Visit An Exaggeration: Guterres – Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Jose Luis Guterres reportedly said the decision of UNPOL to cancel the visit of about 1000 tourist to Dili was a bit exaggerated and was not in agreement with his office. Guterres further said he did not receive information and should be consulted on the decision about the cancellation noting that the decision gives a bad image to the country, reported Timor Post Saturday. In relation to the tourist visit, MP Elizario Ferreira (Fretilin) said any decision from UNPOL has to be in consultation with the government as the problem in the country is between Timorese people and not against foreigners. He cited as an example, traders from China and Indonesia who go everywhere without any problem.
Diario Nacional reported that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation was not happy with the decision of UNPOL’s SMS to about 1000 tourist, without notifying the government of their decision to stop the tourist from visiting Dili. In a separate article, the same daily reported SRSG Khare as saying that the UN did not cancel the tourists’ trip, but that the tourists refused to disembark when their demands for police personal security were not met. Timor Post Monday reported that SRSG Khare rejected accusations that UNPOL cancelled the tourist visit, adding that the tourists made the decision not to come to Dili.
Presidential Candidates – Partido Social Democrata (PSD) has nominated MP and founder of the party, Lucia Lobato, for the April Presidential elections. Lobato said she would focus on five points for her campaign, strengthening of the national unity, strengthening Timor-Leste sovereignty, equal rights for women and men, honouring the war veterans and strengthening the justice system.
The people from the districts of Manatuto, Aileu and Oecussi have elected and supported the President of Fretilin, Francisco Guterres ‘Lu-Olo’, for the April Presidential elections. Alkatiri reportedly said he fully supports Lu-Olo, but the decision needs to be made by the party’s National Political Commission.
Prime Minister Ramos-Horta told the media Saturday, upon his arrival from New York and Germany that it is very hard to run as a candidate for the presidential elections in Timor-Leste hence he needs to think whether to run as an independent or through a political party. The Prime Minister also said that the international community, starting from the government of Germany, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia and many countries in the Asian countries have asked him to take the responsibility as the President of the nation. He said a team has already started collecting signatures to candidate him but it is a decision he is yet to make, stressing that even if he does not run for the elections he will continue to work for the country in many areas such as ambassador, professor, within NGOs or preparing to be the candidate for the Secretary General post in 2012.
RTTL News Headlines Friday 16-02-2007, 19:15hrs
Brigadier Taur Gives Statement On Attack – F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak gave his statement to the Prosecutors on Friday about the attack on his house in May 24, 2006. Prosecutor Felismino Cardoso told the media that the Public Ministry required any information that the Brigadier General could give in relation to the attack on his house without commenting any further.
Donation of Houses To The Government – The Australian Community Housing Ltd donated seven prototype houses to the government which would use for the vulnerable people. Minister Arsenio Bano said the house would be a center for women and children that face violence abuses. The houses are situated in Tibar.
UNMIT: Prison Escapees – 19th February, 2007 – Efforts by United Nations Police (UNPol) and the International Security Forces (ISF) to find five people who escaped from Becora Prison in Dili on Saturday will continue across Timor Leste over the next few days.
Efforts to date have included UNPol vehicle check points across Dili and ISF helicopter surveillance. In addition, a cordon and search
operation in Liquica and other anticipated hideouts is continuing. Police in all of Timor-Leste’s 13 districts have been alerted.
Five men escaped the detention facility at approximately 2.20pm on Saturday the 17th of February when they climbed over the perimeter fence. A sixth man failed in his attempt to escape.
Internal security at Becora Prison is provided by the Ministry of Justice. External security is provided by the International Security Forces.
In other policing events over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of February, a total of 32 people were arrested across the country on a range of charges including assault, group fighting, arson, public disturbance and property damage.
UN Security Council resolution 1704, adopted on August 25th 2006 calls for a police presence of, at full force, up to 1,608 qualified UNPol officers coming from various nations to provide support to the PNTL through interim law enforcement, training and institutional development. They work in all capacities of policing operations including leadership, community-policing, investigations, traffic, public order and administration functions.
PNTL officers are working alongside UNPol officers in Timor-Leste’s 13 districts. In Dili, a total of 1114 PNTL officers are registered with UNPol for screening. Of those, 411 have completed the PNTL provisional certification course and are on duty with UNPol. Refresher courses for other screened officers are being expedited.
For additional information, please contact: Allison Cooper, Spokesperson at +670 723 0453 or Donna Cusumano at +670 723 0749.
Six prisoners escape from Dili prison – Posted: 18 February 2007 0215 hrs DILI – Six prisoners escaped from a jail in the Timor Leste capital on Saturday, although one was later recaptured, police said.
“This afternoon, six prisoners escaped from Becora prison, one of which was captured immediately,” UN police spokeswoman Monica Rodrigues told AFP.
“(We) are involved in the search for the other five, four of whom allegedly were in pre-trial detention concerning an arson case in Liquica,” she said.
In January, three women were killed and their house was torched in Liquica, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the capital Dili.
Rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado escaped from the same prison along with more than 50 other inmates shortly after he was then arrested in August last year on charges of possessing weapons.
Reinado led a group of 600 deserting troops, and was accused of sparking civil unrest in May.
The unrest triggered clashes among rival security forces and gang wars on the streets that killed 21 people, and prompted the deployment of an Australian-led international peacekeeping force. – AFP /ls
Up to 40 prisoners escape from jail in East Timor The Associated Press Published: February 17, 2007 DILI, East Timor: About 40 prisoners escaped from a jail in East Timor on Saturday, officials said, adding to security concerns in the tiny nation as it prepares for elections following political turmoil and violence last year.
Among those who broke out from the prison in the capital, Dili, were people arrested during the unrest in May that killed at least 30 people and led to the downfall of the prime minister, said prison guard Januario de Oliveira.
He said some of the other fugitives were arrested more recently for deadly gang fights that a U.N.-led peacekeeping force, deployed after last year’s violence, has struggled to contain. De Oliveira said police were hunting for around 40 escapees.
Minister of Justice Domingos Samento confirmed the breakout, but was not able to say how many inmates fled or how they escaped.
Gusmao’s new party shakes East Timor’s political foundations Sydney Morning Herald Hamish McDonald February 17, 2007 WHEN nominations close at the end of this month for East Timor’s April 9 presidential election, expect to see the start of a process aimed at shaking up the foundations of the new nation’s politics.
As he has consistently stated to widespread disbelief, the President, Xanana Gusmao, the hero of East Timor’s independence struggle, will not stand for another term. But don’t believe his story that he wants to become a farmer and grow pumpkins.
In parliamentary elections later this year, Mr Gusmao will stand for election at the head of a new, inclusive political party using the name of the National Council of Timorese Resistance, the CNRT. This is the coalition that achieved an independence vote in the tumultuous 1999 referendum. The aim is to knock the Fretilin party off its pedestal as the dominant political force and remove its majority in the parliament. This was formed from an earlier elected constituent assembly when the United Nations interregnum ended in May 2002 and
the new nation was declared.
Meanwhile, the current Prime Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, is expected to stand for president, in a job swap closely co-ordinated with Mr
Gusmao, according to sources close to the two leaders.
Mr Ramos-Horta was a founder of Fretilin in 1974 and Mr Gusmao an early member. However, both withdrew to a party-neutral position
during the Indonesian occupation out of disillusionment with Fretilin’s exclusive ways and some violent characters among its exiled leaders.
Mr Gusmao’s push into active politics means East Timor is heading into months of competitive electioneering. The risks of violence and
clashes are high.
Fretilin’s assumption that it would naturally rule the country for 50 years has already been shattered by last May’s violence. This led to
its prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, standing down and its home minister, Rogerio Lobato, facing charges of arming a party hit squad.
Even though prosecutors have recently declared a lack of evidence to charge Dr Alkatiri over the hit squad, they are demanding a
seven-year jail term for Mr Lobato. The stain hangs over Fretilin.
In any case, Dr Alkatiri is no great vote-winner, despite being a competent manager of government. Of Yemeni descent and one of the
country’s small Muslim minority, he spent the 24 years of Indonesian occupation in Mozambique and Angola, and has little affinity with the ordinary citizen. As prime minister he clashed with the powerful Catholic bishops.
Fretilin’s leadership is thus heading for a shake-up to counter Mr Gusmao, and perhaps position it to join a unity government after the elections. Moderates such as the Deputy Prime Minister, Stanislau da Silva, or the Foreign Minister, Jose Luis Guterres – who challenged
Dr Alkatiri at a party congress last May – are likely to make a move.
Mr Ramos-Horta, the Nobel Peace Prize co-winner, will play a critical role in holding East Timor together if he wins the presidency, as he
probably will, given his own popularity and Mr Gusmao’s backing.
The presidency would give him more leverage to engineer a solution to the split in the country’s small army that precipitated last year’s
troubles. Nearly 600 of its 1600 soldiers were sacked last March after protesting against alleged discrimination, and became a restive element. Known as the “petitioners”, they remain outside the army but are being paid salaries to keep them happy while their future is
sorted out. On the other side of the dispute is the army chief who sacked them, Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak or “TMR”.
As the revered former commander of the anti-Indonesian guerilla resistance after Mr Gusmao was captured, TMR is entrenched in his
job, although his standing is damaged by the split. He refuses to negotiate with the petitioners en bloc but has agreed to talk to them
individually about a return to the ranks.
It remains to be seen how TMR will address their grievance – that army leaders, mostly veteran “Lorosae” officers from the wilder eastern side of the territory, where guerilla activity was strongest, had discriminated against young “Loromonu” recruits from the western districts close to the Indonesian border.
However, the split runs much deeper in East Timor’s complex ethnic and linguistic make-up, going back to pre-colonial times, and spread from the army into gang clashes in Dili last year.
As president, Mr Ramos-Horta would use his role as commander-in-chief rather more “actively” than it has been so far. But getting TMR and the other ex-guerilla army leaders to take his guidance will be a big task.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 16 February 2007
Lobato Likely To Be Sentenced To Over 30 Years – Prosecutors have warned that based on the evidence from the witnesses, former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato is likely to be sentenced to over 30 years in prison. Prosecutor Bernardo Fernandes and Felismino Cardoso said that based on the accusations Rogerio Lobato has breached three articles of the penal code (Indonesia) and UNTAET regulations currently in force. He is being accused of using and distributing weapons to civilians, embezzlement or use of state properties without justification and tentative homicide. The accusations were made verbally in court and the case will resume on March 7 to allow the court analysis before presenting the final verdict. (DN, TP)
Horta And Taur Must Be Honest: Pinto – Political observer Julio Tomas Pinto said statements by Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak and Prime Minister Ramos-Horta were more of a political nature than based on justice. Pinto said both entities should speak on what they knew about the distribution of guns, noting that the declaration of Taur has left many people sad and pessimistic about the justice process. According to Julio Pinto the statement of the two Timorese leaders not only defends Rogerio Lobato but the elite politicians and can also be interpreted as saying that justice is only for the small/common people. He also said people who wanted to support Horta for the Presidential elections have now withdrawn following his court statement, and in the case of Taur’s statement, have left many involved in the justice process deceived as it can be assumed that Taur does not want confrontation with Rogerio Lobato’s supporters, and also his statement in court is totally the opposite of the statement he gave to the International Commission Of Inquiry. Therefore the political observer says it is imperative they are honest and state what they know about the distribution of weapons from Rogerio Lobato or face not having the trust of the people to take the nation forward. (TP, DN, STL)
Company Protest Cancellation Of Tourist Visit – About 400 tourists were scheduled to disembark in Dili on Thursday for a few hours to visit the capital and other symbolic sites but were stopped on orders from UNPOL due to security reasons. Zacarias Costa, the director of the tourism travel company Mega Tours protested at the cancellation of the visit which had been organized several months in advance in conjunction with the government’s tourism department, noting the company has incurred financial losses, not to mention discouraging future tourists from travelling to Timor-Leste. Da Costa said many UNPOL officers were at the port to provide security but could not do anything as the decision had already been made by some UNPOL officers and not further negotiation could take place as the captain of the cruise decided to continue with the voyage to Darwin. (TP, STL)
RTTL News Headlines Thursday 15-02-2007
Legislation Does Not Reflect Reality – Commissão Nacional Eleitoral (CNE), Fr. Martinho Gusmão said some of the legislation produced by the Portuguese advisors to CNE does not reflect the reality of Timor-Leste, hence, he questioned whether it was worth paying for them to come and work in the country.
ETimor seeks seven years jail for ex-MP ABC Radio Australia Last Updated 15/02/2007, 23:06:15 East Timor’s prosecutors are seeking a seven-year jail sentence for a former interior minister for allegedly giving weapons to civilians led by an army rebel during a wave of violence last year. Prosecutors say Rogerio Lobato distributed police uniforms, weapons and ammunition to a group of civilians led by renegade army major Alfredo Reinado without the knowledge of the government. Prosecutor Bernades Fernandes told a court trying the case in the capital, Dili the defendant did this not for public interest but for his own.
Violence broke out in the impoverished tiny country in May after the government sacked 600 members of East Timor’s 1,400-strong army. The chaos led to the deployment of an Australian-led international peacekeeping force. Prosecutors have dropped similar charges against former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri because of lack of evidence.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 15 February 2007
Public Audience On Project Bill – The National Parliament is holding public hearings on the proposed bill on clemency and amnesty with the various civil society institutions including international representatives to hear their opinions and suggestions on the bill. Vicente Faria, President of Commission A of the Parliament in charge of this matter, said the bill was previously proposed in 2001-2002 but was not passed. Faria said due to the current crisis it is important for the document to be legalized with the intention to find political and judicial stability to ensure that the law is not against the Constitution. He said that amnesty can only be given by the President of the Republic when someone has been already convicted.
Jose Luis Oliveira from HAK Association reportedly told Timor Post following his participation in the hearing that the irony of the proposed bill is that it focuses on amnesty for people involved in murder, distribution of guns, corruption, crime against public order and so forth but it does not cover the defamation crime. He agrees Timor-Leste must have amnesty laws but stressed it would not resolve the current crisis. (DN, TP)
Government Supports Demonstration – The peaceful demonstrations yesterday organized by 32 chefe de sucos, and sub-administrators of Dili have been reportedly financed by the Government Ministry of Labour and Community reinsertion. The aim of the event was to call for the population, namely the youth in Dili, to refrain from violence. Addressing the demonstrators, Minister of Education Rosalia Corte-Real said her ministry is concerned with the future of the nation’s youth and the general population as well but the country is in the hands of the youth to carry it forward. Minister for Labour and Community Reinsertion Arsenio Bano appealed to the population and the youth not to allow the capital Dili to be a place of violence and said that since the election is nearing, people should not bow to any political pressure and they choose who they want. He told the crowd that the government will resume the two dollar program, work for cash but reminded them not to use the cash to buy steel/iron to turn into weapons (rama ambon). Bano also appealed to the demonstrators not to let themselves be used by other people for their own political interest. He said they should work together in the neighbourhood to maintain peace in order to normalize the economic activities. (TP)
One Member Of F-FDTL Released – A member of F-FDTL has been released on conditional bail and three others including a member of PNTL continue on detention in relation to the shooting incident on May 25 2006, which killed 9 PNTL officers. The three F-FDTL members have been transferred to Baucau prison following complaints of security and problems with some the prison guards.
RTTL News Headlines Tuesday 14-02-2007
MUNJ And Veterans Meets President Gusmão – Movimentu Unidade Nasional Juventude (MUNJ) together with Falintil veterans met with President Gusmão Wednesday to request the head of the state to use his position to change the situation and stop the crisis. But according to MUNG coordinator, Augusto Trindade, the President underlined that as head of state he will follow the Constitution and changes can only occur through the democratic elections process.
Deputy Minister Of Interior Regrets Reactivation Of UIR – Jose Agostinho Sequeira, Deputy Minister of Interior said he regrets the reactivation of UIR as the international forces are not observing the agreement signed between the government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT. Sequeira stressed that his ministry is against the measures taken by the international forces.
Appeal and Declaration for the People of Dili
To all the people of Dili, we the elected Chefe do Suco (village chief) that were chosen by the people in the local election, want wholeheartedly to appeal to the people of Dili, to the youth, men and women, elderly, and to the children that “The People of Dili want stability, let the government do its work”. This appeal and declaration also takes into consideration the following things:
The crisis has caused the following:
1. Many residents have left their homes.
2. Many Dili residents have lost their homes and had their houses burnt or destroyed.
3. Many Dili residents have become victims of violence that has occurred in Dili.
4. Many students are not attending school because of lack of security.
5. Many children have become victims and are scared within their own neighbourhoods.
6. Many residents of Dili do not trust each other and hate each other.
7. Many youth fight against each other, throw stones at each other and kill each other.
8. The city of Dili has become insecure for the residents of Dili.
9. Economic activities have been disrupted in the Sucos (villages) and all of Dili.
10. Many schools have closed.
11. Government and the Organs of the State cannot
carry out normal activities due to ongoing problems.12. Presidential and Legislative elections are drawing near.
We, the elected Chefe Suco (village chiefs) therefore appeal and make this declaration to all the people of Dili as follows:
A. To the residents of Dili
1. Request all residents to stay calm and not to fight with each other or keep hate towards each other.
2. Request the youth to respect the elderly, women and children as well as other youth.
3. Request that youth organisations in all of Dili respect each other and talk to each other in order to resolve their problems.
4. Request all residents to work together with Chefe Aldeias (sub-village chiefs), Chefe Sucos, Sub-District Administrators, churches, government, police, law courts, parliament and the President of the Republic to bring Timor-Leste out of the current crisis.
5. Request all residents to respect the organs of sovereignty such as the court system to carry out their work in accordance to the laws and constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (DRTL).
6. Request to all fathers and mothers to remove their children from any violence.
7. Request all residents to prepare themselves well to choose the political party that they feel can rule and bring the nation of Timor-Leste forward.
8. Request all residents of Dili to stop the violence and to work together with the government so that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) can return to their homes.
9. Request all IDPs to work together with the government and all residents of Dili to return to their homes.
B. To all political parties
1. To support the government, police and all Chefe Suco to create conditions in Dili before the Presidential and Legislative elections in the next month.
2. Request political parties to carry on with their work and to prepare for the elections without resorting to violence.
3. Request the political parties to respect the constitution of Timor-Leste and to respect the organs of sovereignty that currently rule the country.
4. Request all political parties to organize and mobilize their members and supporters to follow the right path and to stay away from violence that is currently destroying the people and nation of Timor-Leste.
5. Request all political parties to respect each other, respect each of the party leaders and respect the peoples’ choice.
6. Request all political parties to respect Chefe Sucos and Chefe Aldeias including all of the Sub-District Administrators.
C. To the Religious Institutions and Civil Society Organizations
1. To work together with all residents, mostly with Chefe Sucos and Chefe Aldeias to create conditions of peace and stability in Dili.
2. Request the religious institutions not to look at the persons and parties that the people have chosen.
3. Request the church to always support the Organs of Sovereignty to resolve the current crisis.
4. Request all civil society organizations to work together with the Government and all residents to come out of the current crisis.
With the appeal and declaration as above, we as the Chefes Sucos, Chefe Aldeias, and youth of Dili, give our thanks to the people. Now is the time to say that the People of Dili want stability, let the State do its work.
1. Chefe Suco Motael : Cornelio de A. Lopes
2. Chefe Suco Colmera : Ricardo Guterres
3. Chefe Suco Bidau Santana : Martinho R. Pereira
4. Chefe Suco Meti-Aut : Julião da C. Xavier
5. Chefe Suco Becora : Antonio da Silva Soares
6. Chefe Suco Lahane Oriental : Armando Sequeira Cardoso
7. Chefe Suco Lahane Occidental : Bartolomeu de Araújo
8. Chefe Suco Santa Cruz : Antonio Goncalves
9. Conselho do Suco Camea : Mateus da Silva
10. Chefe Suco Bairopite : João B. da Costa Belo
11. Chefe Suco Vila-Verde : Andre dos Santos Fernandes
12. Chefe Suco Comoro : Eurico da Costa de Jesus
13. Chefe Suco Fatuhada : Justino Moniz G. Leite
14. Chefe Suco Gricenfor : Alexandrino Chaves
15. Chefe Suco Dare : Jose dos Santos
16. Chefe Suco Balibar : Antonio Pereira
17. Chefe Suco Kampung Alor : Agostinho G. da Silva
18. Chefe Suco Kaikoli : Domingos Dias dos Santos
19. Chefe Suco Mascarenhas : Rui I. de Araujo
20. Chefe Suco Kuluhun : Francisco M.M.Ribeiro
21. Chefe Suco Hera : Simão Pedro Ribeiro
22. Chefe Suco Bemori : Afonso da Cruz
UNMIT Daily Media Review 14 February 2007
Taur Does Not Believe Rogerio Involved In Guns Distribution – F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak told the court Tuesday he does not believe Rogerio Lobato distributed guns to civilians to destabilize the nation. During the testimony, the head of the national defence forces also said he learned of Railos group through the international media, and the issue of guns distribution was raised by Ramos-Horta in the former Prime Minister resident. Following the meeting, he issued a document to the then Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, the Court of Appeal and the President of the Republic asking for the inspection and control of guns for both institutions, F-FDTL and PNTL, but Paulo de Fatima Martins, then PNTL Commander General said the weapons were no longer in the storehouse as it had been shifted to Aileu, Liquiça and elsewhere. Taur said he was in shock to learn the storage was empty. He apologized to Rogerio adding that he was emotional at the time as he had learned Rogerio Lobato was taking over the post as Minister of Defence. The Brigadier General continued that on April 29 they held a cabinet meeting in Alkatiri’s residence to analyse the situation because PNTL command had lost control of the situation and were facing many difficulties and, it was thought, required F-FDTL assistance to deal with the violence that erupted from the petitioners’ demonstration. During another meeting, Taur Matan Ruak said he suggested to PNTL to be in charge of the security the capital while F-FDTL took over responsibility of the outskirts of Dili as the petitioners were moving out town. In relation to the attack in Tibar, Taur said he received information from the battleground that the people attacking F- FDTL headquarters were civilians, petitioners and PNTL, dressed in military and PNTL uniforms. He said he learned of Railos and his group through the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry and acknowledged the distribution of weapons to civilians namely the former veterans to reinforce against the systematic attack on F-FDTL by Major Alfredo, PNTL and civilian groups. Taur told the court the situation was aggravated on May 24 when Major Alfredo and a group of 10 URP from Aileu attacked F-FDTL in Fatuahi, his residence in Dare, the Military Police Headquarters and F-FDTL Headquarters in Tasi-Tolu. He said the attack was well planned and organized, stating it was a political conspiracy to destabilize the nation through the armed forces in order to have an outside intervention. The Brigadier said during the Council of Defence meeting it was decided to request international intervention to avoid further problems.
Rogerio Lobato’s defence lawyer, Paulo Remedios, told the court that early Tuesday, morning 13/2 a black car without plate numbers and with armed people threatened him at his residence. He asked the court to take measures but was told by the President of the Judges, Ivo Valente, to present his complaint to the Public Ministry.
Jose Edmundo Caetano, lawyer for the Justice and Peace of Dili Diocese, said the international authorities in the court needs to further learn the legislation of Timor-Leste rather than implement laws to confuse the people and contribute to the deterioration of the situation which can lead them not to believe in the laws of the country as a result of their irresponsibility. (DN, STL, TP)
UNMIT Ask Longuinhos To Re-Establish Contact With Alfredo – Acting SRSG, Eric Gim Tan and DSRSG Finn Reske-Nielsen met Timor-Leste Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro Tuesday and requested him to re-establish contact with Major Alfredo to continue with the dialogue process. According to Longuinhos, he is still undecided whether or not to contact Alfredo due to the many arguments it instigate. Deputy SRSG Tan has stressed that UNMIT wants strongly to continue with the dialogue in order to pursue Alfredo to peacefully follow the justice procedures. (TP)
One House Damage Following Police Search – One house and some of its contents were damaged when UNPOL searched for illegal weapons. According to Timor Post, GNR police searched the house in Palapaso, Farol, suspecting of having weapons. Eight people were detained but seven were released later. Elda da Costa the owner of the house said she’s not happy with the way the police, especially GNR, conducted the operations as they entered the property without a search warrant and authorization from the people living in the house. Da Costa said the police in a convoy of four cars entered her house while the family was asleep early in the morning. The family had moved to the state-owned house after their house in Ailoklaran was set on fire.
In the meantime, UNPOL spokesperson, Monica Rodrigues, said UNPOL has captured one person who was involved with the large group of people on Monday in attacks against police patrolling in the area of Comoro, resulting in broken windows. The person is under investigation. Another person was detained when they tried to stone two police in vehicles in that area as well, Rodrigues said. She said police continue to investigate and detain those involved in the violence. (TP, DN)
7-7 Not Involved In Violence – The General Secretary of the martial art group 7-7, Sanamia, said his group has not been involved in the confrontation in Bairro Pite. Sanamia said according to information he received, the organization 0-0, claiming not to be part of any martial arts group, were the ones involved in the violence. He further said the names of the two organizations are being used to put extra burden on the government’s work. He said that up to-date the leadership of 7-7 and PHST is going well and it continues to put efforts towards stopping violence that involves members of both organizations. He also asked for forgiveness to the people of Timor-Leste for the behaviour of some of his group’s members and appealed to other martial arts organisations to work together with the government, PNTL the international police and military to bring stability, freedom and peace to the country.
RTTL News Headlines Tuesday 13-02-2007
Parliament Must Be Responsible For Situation: Leman – MP Riak Leman (PSD) said the daily conflict is killing youths due to security absence and the Parliament must be responsible as it represents the people. He said that the government and the President of the Republic are pushing for reconciliation but the Parliament is not doing anything. He stressed that if the Parliament is inactive in responding to the security issues, then it is irrelevant.
Training for Notary Of Public – A two-month training has concluded for staff working for the Notary of Public. Lawyer Paulo Remedios provided the training which started in the month of November, for the staff of Dili and the districts.
Gusmao’s chief of staff misses Lobato appearance – Southeast Asian Times Tuesday, February 13, 2007 Darwin, February 13: Agio Pereira, chief of staff to East Timor’s President Xanana Gusmao, is in Darwin – where he spent most of the Indonesian occupation of his homeland – for medical treatment. The treatment is reported to have delayed him from answering a summons to give evidence at the continuing trial in Dili of former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato. But he is now expected to take the witness stand sometime this week. Defence lawyers want to question Pereira about telephone calls allegedly made on the president’s telephone to army mutineer Vicente “Railos” da Conceicao.
Railos’ allegations that both Lobato and then Prime Minister Dr Mari Alkatiri had instructed him to arm civilians for the assassination of their political opponents were used by President Gusmao to enforce the fall of East Timor’s first parliamentary government. Broadcast of the untested accusations also won the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship programme, Four Corners, Australia’s highest journalism accolade. Dr Alkatiri, who has since been exonerated by United Nations-appointed prosecutors, says he now intends to sue the ABC for damages.
Railos has since been reported as saying that he did not know it was the president’s phone number and that he had only called it to give thanks for telephone credit that had been sent to him via SMS.
A senior administrator has told that trial that that Railos had used the phone number to talk with President Gusmao before he – Railos – attacked East Timor’s army headquarters during last year’s disturbances. The exoneration of Dr Alkatiri has prompted rallies against the prosecutors in Dili.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 13 February 2007
It Would Not Be Easy To Replace Xanana: Tilman – MP Manuel Tilman said the replacement of President Xanana Gusmao would not be easy due to the problems the country is currently facing. Tilman said all the problems can be resolved following both Presidential and Parliamentary elections and Timor-Leste has been lucky to continue to have the assistance of the international community in terms of financial and humanitarian assistance. He said apart from the assistance of the international community, Timor-Leste has its own money but he classified the problem the country is facing, as a ‘weak state’ due lack of authority by the four main pillars of the State.
The Deputy President of Partido Democratico (PD) has stated that although his party has already elected a candidate for the Presidential election, they would continue to support Xanana if he changes his mind and decides to run for the second term. Jose Nascimento Buras said PD was the party that supported Xanana candidate in the last election hence it would be appropriate to consult with him first before presenting the party’s nominee.
Mario Carrascalão, President of PSD reportedly said the President of the Republic could take a drastic or preventive decision to overcome the security situation which the government has claimed to be back to normal but the situation is seen by the population contrary to the government’s claim. He said many problems remain unresolved, which according to the President of PSD is “opening the door to violence.” He is of the opinion President Gusmão can contain the situation by dissolving the Parliament and the government due to the undelivered promises. Mario Carrascalão said problems might increase with the Parliamentary elections and he cannot see anyone with a better ‘background’ to replace Xanana and able to deal with the problems since Xanana himself could not do it. (DN).
Vehicles Checkpoints – In preparations for the elections, PNTL and UNPOL established checkpoints for vehicles to ensure the ownership, drivers’ licences and to search for any illegal weapons. The checkpoint was requested by the government and is operated mainly in the capital Dili. (DN)
Court Rejects Priest Statement – In a last minute decision the court decided not hear Liquiça’s Fr. Giovani’s statement following a request by Lobato’s defence lawyers. According to Fr. Giovani, he was scheduled to testify in court on Monday as per the court letter but was told it was no longer necessary. The priest became angry and said the court was playing around with people’s dignity. He said on behalf of the Liquiça parish, he is writing a letter of complaint to the court to clear his name and the parish since a statement made in the court by the Liquiça Administrator alleged that he (Giovani) was involved with Fretilin Secret group, led by Railos. Lobato’s defence lawyer, Paulo Remedios, said they did not want Fr. Giovani to testify in court because they did not know what he was going to testify.
According to Timor Post, around 400 people in 20 trucks travelled to Dili to support the priest from Liquiça parish. Supporters of the priest were attacked by unknown groups in Comoro roundabout as they travelled to Dili, leaving 10 people injured and one dead. Marcelino Serao, 30 years of age, was hit on the head with stones and died when he fell off one of the trucks. He was taken to the hospital but passed away before reaching medical assistance. His body was taken back soon after to Liquiça. One of the priests who also took part in the convoy said the people travelled to Dili to show their solidarity with Fr. Giovani who was scheduled to testify in court and they are part of Liquiça parish and were not politically motivated. (TP)
ISF Support Government Dialogue With Alfredo: Mal Rerden – Malcolm Rerden, Commander of ISF says the forces continue to support the government on the dialogue with Major Alfredo to find a solution, adding that the government had requested the international forces to provide security and to support negotiations with Alfredo. Rerden stressed that the role of the ISF is to support the international police and assist the government of Timor-Leste to maintain stability and a peaceful environment to enable the Timorese people to resolve their differences. He said the international forces would provide assistance to find a peaceful solution. In relation to Alfredo’s comments that he moved from Aifu, Ermera District due to threats and interference from the ISF, Rerden said the operations of the international security are not limited only to one district but they assist the UN throughout the territory to create a secure environment conducive to the elections.
In relation to Alfredo’s hearing in Gleno, claimed by Francisco Guterres ‘Lu-Olo’ as unconstitutional, Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro suggested to Guterres’ advisor to carefully read the Constitution before giving advice to Guterres. Monteiro underscored that the hearing process in Gleno has been carried out in the past by the Court and the Public Ministry, noting that Dili District Court is responsible for the judicial areas in Dili, Aileu, Liquiça and Ermera. The Prosecutor further said the request for the hearing to take place in Gleno came from Alfredo but he would consult with relevant entities before making a decision. (TP)
RTTL News Headlines Monday 1-02-2007
PSD Will Candidate Woman – PSD will candidate a woman for the Presidential elections, said the party’s President Mario Carrascalao, adding that the country needs radical changes, as the current government focus is overseas.