Timor-Leste Legal News March 2007 (Part 1)
JSMP Press Release Rogerio Tiago Lobato Sentenced to 7 Years 6 Months Prison 8 March 2007 – As planned, the proceedings to hear the verdict in the case of the illegal distribution of weapons by the former Interior Minister of Timor-Leste Rogerio Tiago Lobato and associates took place on Wednesday07/03/2007 at 14:30 hrs Timor-Leste time.
The proceedings were accompanied by very heavy rain but this did not lessen the intentions of members of the public to attend the hearing because they filled the court room, including the former Prime Minister of Timor Leste Dr. Mar’ie Alkatiri as well as his wife listening attentively to the reading out of the decision by the Presiding Judge DrIvo Nelson de Caires Rosa Batista. Certainly, the attendance by the former Prime Minister was to give moral support to his accused compatriot Rogerio Tiago Lobato and associates who were sitting in the dock to hear the verdict.
Judge Ivo read the decision out himself, which was more than a hundred pages long, and explained the decision in the case of the illegal distribution of weapons to the civilian population on the basis of assisting the police who were already in a state of disintegration at that time, according to the accused. At the conclusion of the decision, the Judge sentenced Rogerio Tiago Lobato to seven (7) years and six (6)months imprisonment.
Upon hearing the verdict, the lawyers for the accused Rogerio Tiago Lobato, headed by lawyer Dr Paulodos Remedios, through lawyer Dr Luis, immediately appealed to the court not to put the decision in to effect straight away.
The judge sentenced the accused Francisco Salsinha dan Marcos “Labadie” Piedade to approximately 6 months imprisonment but he was released to serve the sentence outside for 1 (one) year. In relation to Francisco Salsinha and Marcos “Labadai” Piedade, the judge applied Article 4paragraph 4.7 of UNTAET Regulation No 5/2001 on illegal possession of weapons. In relation to the accused Francisco Xavier Viegas, the judge imposed no penalty because he could find no evidence that the accused was in illegal possession of weapons in the same way as were the accused Francisco Salsinha and Marcos “Labadai” Piedade so in the end, the judge unconditionally released the accused Francisco Xavier Viegas.
In view of all the decisions that have been made in relation to all of the accused, JSMP very much respects the judges because in making those decisions, the judges acted very professionally and did not pay regard to the social position or strata of the persons accused even though there were some who were dissatisfied with the decision because it was not in accordance with their expectations and, in the opinion of JSMP, this is avery positive step for the future development of the judicial system in Timor- Leste.
JSMP appeals to all layers of the community to respect the court’s decision that has been made by the Panel of Judges in respect of the accused so that the further process can be continued in accordance with the expectations of the community as the process in this case must becontinued because the lawyers for the accused Rogerio Tiago Lobato immediately appealed the court’s decision.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 10 – 12 March 2007
Remove direct capture before prepare to dialogue with Major Alfredo (Youth supports the church mediation) – The dialogue between government and Major Alfredo may be held since the mandate of arresting or shooting on him stopped, said Marcelino Magno, a researcher on political and social affairs on Friday (09/3), the day of launching the candidacy of Fernando ‘Lasama’ to run for the president. Furthermore, he stated that for some time the two Bishops (Mgr. Basilio and Ricardo) urged dialogue not violence, and to avoid using weapons to shooting. Spokesperson Front Mahasiswa Timor Leste (FMTL) Julio Soares reportedly said on Friday 09/03/07 at Campus FASPOL Caicoli Dili that Youths support the Church Mediation to dialogue with Major Alfredo Reinado. As a Timorese, to create stability in this newly born country we need a best way to prepare dialogue with Major Alfredo Reinado to resolve problem. (TP,)
Violence will not resolve problems – Member of National Parliament João Gonsalves reportedly appealed to all youths to stop violence saying that violence will resolve nothing. He called for all youths to remain calm and follow the best ways to develop this new country. He said that the upcoming elections will resolve and reduce current problems with a new Government with a confident Political Party. On the Judicial Process, he said that all problems will be resolved all the way through Tribunal, based on the legal laws in existence. This is the best way to resolve problems, he said. (STL)
Australian 200 Armed Forces increment – To stabilize East Timor Security in upcoming presidential Election, ISF Australia reportedly added 200 Personnel Armed Forces yesterday. With these increments the initial 800 Personnel has become 1.000 Personnel. These troops arrived on two planes from the Philippines. According to Brigadier Mal Rerden, these Armed Forces will reinforce the current Australian and New Zealand troops. (STL)
Morning Flight–Clementino: people have to have its clarification from the Government – Vice President Committee B (Security, Defence and Foreign Negotiation), National Parliament Clementino dos Reis Amaral reportedly called for Government to clarify the three morning flights at International Airport Nicolau Lobatu Comoro. He said that the State has to clarify for people regarding from which country the plane is coming. He said that people are now traumatized and shouldn’t be further terrified. (STL)
High level committee keeps mouth (keep silent) to Journalists – A meeting in relation to Major Alfredo Reinado Alves, was held with the fifth meeting of High Level Committee. In attendance was the Special Representative of Secretary General (SRSG) Atul Khare, Brigadier General Mal Rerden, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta, President of National Parliament Lu-Olo, Attorney General Longinhos Monteiro and President of Republic Xanana Gusmão. There is no result from the meeting reportedly and the High Level Committee did not provide any comment to Journalists despite the fact that the meeting is very important for people pending the responsibilities of the State and Government to the current situation concerning Major Alfredo Reinado’s. (STL)
Violence in Dili Reduced after the State Using Forces – TP observed that actions of burning tires and government vehicles in Dili has been reduced after President Xanana gave his approval to International Stabilization Forces (ISF) to step up efforts against the violence by supporters of Alfredo. (TP)
Failed Detaining Alfredo, ISF Cooperated with People – After the operation to detain Alfredo Reinado failed during the last week on 04/03/07, ISF asked for cooperation from all Timorese for the current and upcoming operations. ISF Brigadier Mal Rerden reportedly said that ISF would appreciate if all people of Timor Leste contributed to providing information about Major Alfredo. He said that when Alfredo Reinado with his group took weapons from BPU on the border and afterwards moved to Same, UNPol provided information to ISF and after gaining that information, ISF urgently relocated to Same to maintain Security. The Special Representative of Secretary General Mr. Atul Khare also appealed to Major Reinado Alves to surrender if he positively loves Timor Leste, Justice and stability in this new country. (TP,)
CCF will not suspend Rogerio Lobato: Lu-Olo – The President of Fretilin, Francisco Guterres (Lu-Olo) said although former Interior Minister and Fretilin member, Rogerio Lobato, had been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, Fretilin would not suspend his party membership because the sentence would be appealed. Rogerio’s verdict was reached by the panel of three international jurists, led by Judge Ivo Rosa Batista, after a three-month trial. Lobato’s lawyer, Paulo Remeidos said the verdict was not fair and that his client would appeal the sentence. Lobato was tried for arming a civilian hit squad, one of the key triggers for country’s recent political crisis. (DN)
Government will not give Rogerio Lobato special treatment in jail – Ex-Interior Minister, Rogerio Lobato would be imprisoned like an ordinary person and the government would not provide him with special treatment, said the Minister for Justice, Domingos Sarmento. The Minister was speaking to journalists Friday (9/3) about the preparation of detention facilities for Lobato. Rogerio was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison Wednesday (7/3) by panel of three international jurists, led by Judge Ivo Rosa Batista, after a three-month trial. (TP)
Australian black hawk helicopters damages people’s houses – Sixteen houses in Babulu village in the southern district of Manufahi were damaged during the Australian-led international forces military action in pursuit of ex-Military Police Commander, Major Alfredo Reinado, last Thursday (8/3). A Timor Post correspondent reported that the houses were damaged by fire from the black hawk helicopters. Alfredo and his men are on run after Australian forces raided their hideout in southern town of Same last weekend, killing five of Alfredo’s men. The Australian forces undertook the operation to capture Alfredo, on President Xanana Gusmão’s authorization, after Alfredo raided two Border Police Units last month, seizing 18 firearms. (TP)
Press Release JSMP Regrets the Statement by Xanana Gusmão About Declaring a State of Emergency that has Caused Dissensions to Emerge in the Community – 09 March 2007 His Excellency the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, announced to all the media on 05/03/2007 that the State will declare a state of emergency if the present circumstances continue. This has caused much apprehension in all quarters because aspects of life whether in the economic sector, the government sector and others have experienced many threats from the vandalistic actions committed by some of the youth in all corners of Dili as a form of moral support for Major Alfredo Reinado Alves who was besieged and attacked by the International military forces who were tasked by the UN to protect and stabilize Timor-Leste after the turmoil on 28 May 2006.
The State, in this instance, the President of RDTL, Xanana Gusmão, stated his anger about the present circumstances by threatening to declare a state of emergency if indeed these circumstances continue and left open the possibility that the State will continue to try to suppress these circumstances by granting power to the security agencies to implement methods to combat the vandalistic actions that are occurring in Dili in accordance with the applicable law of Timor-Leste, such as the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code Articles 52-56 and Law No 47/2006 on Terrorism and Crime.
Articles 52-56 of the Criminal Procedure Code confers special authority on the National Police Force of Timor-Leste to take suppressive actions against all persons or properties that are suspected by the public authorities of planning crimes and it needs to be known that Articles 52-53 of the Criminal Procedure Code do not grant any authority at all to the military institution of F-FDTL to take measures such as those against the community let alone the International Military and the International Police (UNPOL) and if they are given authority to take such measures against the community then this is in direct violation of the law that is stated in the Criminal Procedure Code. Perhaps the MOU that has been signed with the countries that are presently on duty in Timor-Leste regulates this matter – we do not yet know but what is clear is that this cuts down the sovereignty of the State of Timor-Leste because it oversteps the provisions in Articles 52-56 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
What has become a question for JSMP is that if the government indeed does give the authority to the International military and the International Police to undertake such duties as referred to by His Excellency President Xanana Gusmão in the press release to all the media on 05 March 2007, then how will the professionalism of the International Forces be demonstrated in executing such an order, recalling that the International Forces are constituted from several countries and races who certainly do not yet understand the character of life in the Timor-Leste community itself. Thus, JSMP strongly disagrees with the statement about the declaration of a state of emergency. JSMP hopes that this is only an expression from the leaders of this country which is only a dream because, in JSMP’s opinion, the situation in the country is still very far from being an emergency and it needs to be known that the country’s circumstances are not yet the same as they were after the disorder on 28 April 2006.
JSMP recommends that the government think maturely before putting into effect the statement from His Excellency President Xanana Gusmão who wants to declare a state of emergency because, as explained above, there is not yet any indication that our country is heading towards total destruction – all the vandalistic actions are occurring because of the incapacity of the government to resolve a problem and to sacrifice sovereignty to other countries on trivial grounds, as a matter of fact, does not need to happen.
In principle, His Excellency President Xanana Gusmão has the competency to declare a state of emergency as referred to in the press because the RDTL Constitution clearly gives the authority to the President, principally, by the provisions contained in the Constitution Chapter II “Competencies” Article 85 paragraphs B, G and H. However, it is clear that this must be done through a long process because, before publicly declaring a state of danger or emergency, there must be a decision from the Parliament, the Council of State and the Superior Council for State Security as well as the security agencies themselves so that in the end new problems do not arise again in the community because of the emergence of panic and even frictions that will ultimately cause more victims to fall again.
JSMP requests the country’s leaders to think wisely in making a decision because such a decision will impact on all of the weak in the community if such a decision is executed by the security agencies and it is certain that this would authorize several methods to suppress vandalistic actions that have been occurring up until now because our Police and the Military both mentally and psychologically have not yet been properly trained.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Dr.Timotio de Deus Director, JSMP Telephone: 332 3883 Email: email@example.com
SAME: 25 civilians detained, houses and crops destroyed, by Australian forces in Serena village at 2am yesterday (Sat 10th 2am) – 11 houses shot up in Nularan, Same, all deserted, just civilians, no rice, refugees, priest won’t take refugees. I also heard there was shooting from helicopters in Dili area. Rob Wesley-Smith affet Darwin 61 8 89832113 0419 807175 Sun 11 Mar 2007 03:13:08 AM EDT
“Bombings Fiasco in East Timor” affect PR Sat night 10th March 07 Rob Wesley-Smith 61 8 89832113 0419 807175
“Total fiasco” describes the impatient botched attempt to capture Major Alfredo Reinado resulting in the ADF (as the ISF) shooting dead 5 East Timorese patriots and wounding others.
This action, combined with the unfortunate shooting dead of 2 refugee camp residents, has turned a 60+ year tradition of Australian military protecting East Timorese, to the notion by many that the ADF is just like the TNI, coming to East Timor and killing East Timorese.
This may seem harsh, but these events have singlehandedly made independent existence impossible for many Aussie NGO workers in Dili, and putting pressure on elsewhere.
This is so whether the ADF or perhaps the string pullers Howard and Downer think that is a fair thing or not. East Timorese must be understood and judged by who and what they are, not what Aussie political and military leaders may think they should be.
There has been no news of the hunt for Reinado and his men for a few days, conveniently for the ADF media attention has been drawn to the deaths in the Garuda crash in Jogyakarta. Five Aussies died there, by accident, with great concern and mobilisation of resources. Five East Timorese were shot by ADF with no evidence the Timorese fired any shots, and the incident is hushed up, and though most of the country is starving, no resources to feed people are being put in by the Australian government, only you can be sure of a continued lethal pursuit of a man who believes he is a patriot, and who many support.
We say that the military action against Major Reinado was precipitate, displayed impatience, and had not exhausted all negotiating possibilities, indeed the same characteristics displayed by the Coalition of the Willing in 2003. I made public information to cast serious doubt on the allegation that Reinado raided police stations and forcibly kidnapped police and seized their weapons, which was the basis for the order to capture him dead or alive. This was studiously ignored. So has been the report that a further negotiating team was blocked by the ADF from flying to Same on Friday night with a typed agreement, the evening before the attack. We do ask, who is ‘calling the shots’? – is it Australian or East Timorese authorities for a start, or has the ADF (ISF) been given carte blanche, is this now an training exercise, or what the hell is going on??
Because tonight, however, I have been told the ADF is “bombing” civilians around Same. We demand to know if this is true, and that this stop immediately. The situation is out of control!
In the dire need to find another solution, Affet proposes that the ADF withdraws all aggressive actions, and instead we instigate another serious and innovative attempt at negotiations. Affet proposes that the East Timor Government employ a negotiator that Major Alfredo Reinado will trust, someone independent and with impeccable human rights credentials, known to all parties, someone like Darwin based QC Colin McDonald. After all, with an elite armed force hunting him and his colleagues with murderous intent, it is hardly a fair and reasonable proposition that Reinado surrender to them. He felt betrayed before by the judicial system, this must be addressed.
We have not canvassed that exact proposition with McDonald, but I know he is willing to help if possible, and he has represented Timorese, often at his cost, before.
Why NOT? The present course of action is only going to end in more grief and tears, and far from hastening a peaceful fair Presidential election on 9th April, will prevent it. The election date can and should be moved to a time when people are able to access the countryside, when their bellies are full, and when some of this unrest has been sorted out.
With all the resources available to the police and military, how come they cannot discover who is behind the unrest in Dili, or do they know and are protecting someone or some country – is this shades of the Balibo coverup again? We think we are entitled to some honest answers.
Rob Wesley-Smith affet Darwin
EAST TIMOR CRISIS REFLECTION NETWORK (ETCRN) REDE REFLESAUN BA KRIZE TIMOR LESTE Telp: 725-3877, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have the right to engage in politics, but we have an obligation and responsibility to not let politics become violent
Reflecting on the difficult situation in Timor Leste that the country now faces, and the importance of the Presidential Election next month, ETCRN calls on all Timorese to demonstrate our moral and political responsibility to repudiate violence. This is the time to demonstrate our responsibility to safeguard this country from violence and to restore the dignity of Timor Leste and its people, which has been lost in the recent crisis. We have the right to engage in politics, but we have an obligation also to be responsible not to let politics become violent. With this in mind, ETCRN wishes to make the following statement:
1. Congratulations to the leaders of Timor Leste who have shown responsibility and commitment to attempt to halt the violence in Dili by consolidating constitutional power to reduce the violence.
2. Congratulations to the youth of Dili who have shown responsibility in their respect for law and order by ceasing acts of violence over the last few days. We appeal to the people to maintain calm and give the nation time to resolve the crisis.
3. We give sincere condolences to all of our friends who have died and deep solidarity to the families of victims who have perished during the crisis.
4. We appeal to all groups who have contributed directly or indirectly to the escalation of the crisis to demonstrate responsibility in promoting peace for the people. We especially call on Alfredo Reinaldo and his followers accept the appeals from the state to surrender and to submit to the justice process of the state, to prevent further loss of life among his followers and further civilian deaths.
5. We proclaim our concern and condemn the violence in Dili, which has resulted in destruction looting and burning of private and state property, including recent attacks on the Ministry of Education. ETCRN believes that the development of education in Timor Leste is the route to our future. It is possible to criticize policies or to demonstrate allegiance to any political groups, but violence must cease.
6. We appeal to the state and our leaders to restore stability to the country and to guarantee democratic, free and fair elections in April 2007.
7. While considering their choice of a president for 2007-2012, we appeal to all citizens to contribute to the restoration of calm and peace and to the elimination of fear and threats before and during the elections. By encouraging open discussions and debates in families, schools, work places and generally in society, every voter can make the best possible choice among the presidential candidates in this coming election.
8. We appeal to the Ambassadors whose countries have decided to undertake emergency evacuation of their nationals to reappraise this decision in light of the continuing need of the important and valuable contribution to resolving the humanitarian crisis made by these individuals.
Dili, 9 March 2007
Jose Caetano Guterres, Coordinator of the ETCRN Committee (English Translation, Phyllis Ferguson)
UN Boosts Security in East Timor After Former Minister Jailed – By Paul Tighe March 8 (Bloomberg) — The United Nations boosted its police presence in East Timor’s capital, Dili, to prevent violence after a former interior minister was jailed for supplying weapons during last year’s civil unrest. Police units were stationed around the Court of Appeal building when yesterday’s hearing ended with Rogerio Lobato sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison, the UN said on its Web site. Two warehouses were attacked yesterday before Malaysian and Portuguese units intervened, the UN said, adding security in Dili was “stable.”
Police and defense force weapons were distributed to civilians during fighting last year among gangs and members of security forces, an Independent Special Commission of Inquiry found, according to the UN. Lobato by passed procedures to transfer arms, the commission ruled.
Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal sent peacekeepers to East Timor last May after 37 people were killed in violence and 15 percent of the population of more than 1 million forced to leave their homes. Clashes between armed gangs in Dili drove 5,000 people into refugee camps last month, the UN said last week.
The UN last month extended its peacekeeping mission in East Timor until February 2008 to cover presidential and parliamentary elections this year, the first since East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, became independent in 2002. The mission, known as UNMIT, has 1,313 police officers and 33 military liaison officers. The Security Council last month authorized the deployment of an additional 140 police officers. The UN has been operating in East Timor since 1999 when East Timorese voted for independence after a 24-year occupation by Indonesia.
State of Siege
East Timor’s government will act to ensure law and order and will impose a state of siege unless the Timorese people stop violence that has created “a certain anarchy” in the country, President Xanana Gusmao said March 5. Security forces will take measures, including the use of force, to end violence, the president said. They will intervene to prevent demonstrations becoming unlawful and will search homes and seize weapons in an effort to stop crime, he added.
Australia and New Zealand this week told their citizens to avoid traveling to East Timor, citing the unrest. The Australian government also told dependents of diplomats and non-emergency workers at its embassy in Dili to leave. Australia has about 800 soldiers and New Zealand about 120 personnel with the peacekeeping force in the country. Violence erupted a year ago when then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri fired a third of the armed forces for desertion, the move that sparked the fighting among gangs and security service factions.
Tensions in Dili increased last week when Australian units failed in an attempt to capture Major Alfredo Reinado, who leads a faction of rebel soldiers and has supporters in the capital.
East Timor lies about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Australia.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 09 March 2007
International Forces, UN Police will Cooperate on President’s Order to Capture Alfredo – Commander of the Australian-led International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Brigadier Mal Rerden, said the hunt for ex-Military Police Commander, Major Alfredo Reinaldo Alves is continuing. The ISF would stand firm and continue their military operation until Alfredo and his followers are captured, said Rerden. Furthermore, he said that the additional troops had arrived in recent days strengthening the international forces’ numbers.
Alfredo and his men are on run after Australian forces raided their hideout in southern town of Same last weekend, killing five of Alfredo’s men. The Australian forces undertook the operation on President Xanana Gusmão’s authorization, following Alfredo’s raid on two Border Police Units last month, in which he seized 18 firearms. (RTL, DN)
People Welcome F-FDTL Deployment – Most people in the capital Dili have welcomed the deployment of the Timor Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) within Dili, to respond to the ongoing security situation and disturbances, although some people have criticized the move. Dili resident, Martinho Carvalho said he was very pleased that F–FDTL had been authorized to help conntrol Dili, even though some were unhappy with the deployment. He added that since F-FDTL’s deployment, residents have been able to rest. But a few days ago, residents couldn’t sleep because there were night attacks, gangs of youths blocking roads and burning tyres. (DN) Another Dili resident, Esterlita Rodrigues Neto, thanked F-FDTL for going on patrol in Dili.
F-FDTL was deployed after President Xanana Gusmão gave more power to ISF and F-FDTL to respond to violence in Dili. F-FDTL was engaged in a gun battle with ex-Military Police Commander, Major Alfredo Reinaldo and shot dead 9 members of Timor’s police force and wounded another 20 at the height of the crisis last year.
Seven-and-a-Half-Year Sentence is Unfair: Jose Luis Oliveira – The director of Timorese legal aid association, HAK, Jose Luis Oliveira has criticized the seven and a half year sentence given to former interior Minister, Rogerio Lobato. Oliveira was speaking to journalists yesterday at his office and commented on the verdict delivered by the court this week to Rogerio Lobato. He said Rogerio should receive a greater sentence, as he had distributed weapons to a civilian hit squad, attempted manslaughter and had disturbed the public order. The verdict was reached by the panel of three international jurists, led by Judge Ivo Rosa Batista, after a three-month trial. Lobato’s lawyer, Paulo Remeidos said the verdict was not fair and that his client would appeal the sentence. Lobato was tried for arming a civilian hit squad, one of the key triggers for country’s recent political crisis. (DN)
One of Alfredo’s Followers is Imprisoned – Nikson Jaime da Costa from the Rapid Intervention Police Unit (UIR), who deserted during the country’s crisis and joined ex-Military Police Commander Major Alfredo Reinado, has been put in preventative detention after appearing in court in Dili yesterday. Nikson was injured during the Australian forces’ raid on the southern town of Same last weekend. The decision to put Nikson in preventative detention was made by international judge, Ivo Rosa Batista. (TP)
Catholic Church is Ready to Mediate between Government and Alfredo – The Catholic Church is ready to mediate in any dialogue between government and ex-Military Police Commander Major Alfredo Reinado Alves if both parties are happy for the Church to be involved, said Fr. Domingos Soares Maubere. Maubere was speaking to journalists yesterday from his office, referring to proposals from both the government and Alfredo that the Catholic Church mediate a dialogue on Alfredo’s surrender. (TP)
FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TIMOR LESTE CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN Darwin: Thursday, 8 March 2007 Former East Timorese Presidential Candidate, Dr. Angela Freitas, today called for the resignation of the Timor Leste Government, which she blames for the current violent unrest that is still claiming lives of innocent Timorese on a daily basis.
“President Gusmoa and Prime Minister Ramos Horta must take full responsibility for the violence and unrest that is taking place in East Timor today. The blame rests on their shoulders alone, and they should have the guts to accept this, resign forever from politics in East Timor, return to their havens in Mozambique and pave the way for a United Government (consisting of solely East Timorese citizens) to be formed to take control of the situation.”
She also accused the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri of being behind the years of outbreaks of violence and civil unrest. “Although he is no longer Prime minister, he still wields a very large stick. He also should be brought before a court to answer
for crimes against humanity.”
In the next few days, Patido Trabalhista, (of which Dr. Freitas is still President) will be instrumental in calling a meeting of all the political parties in order to negotiate a Pact of National Unity, which all political parties signed on July 8th 2001.”
At this proposed meeting those attending will be asked to sign a manifesto that demands that the Marxist Fretelin Government be dissolved, as it has been operating illegally for the past five years. The UN resolution 1272/2001 ETTA (East Timor Transitional Administration) must be put in place, as it should have been when East Timor was granted Independence.
“The people of East Timor have had enough. Five years of being raped by the Government and now the violence that wracks my country today can only result in even more bloodshed.” “If the president and Prime Minister and their appointed Government cronies do not step down I also fear that they themselves will become the target of the people’s anger and frustration. Already many of the leaders have received death threats, and they must remember that desperate people do desperate things.”
Dr. Freitas has also decided to step down as a candidate for the Presidential elections, which have been earmarked for April 9th, 2007.
“Taking into consideration that:-
1. the President and Prime Minister have failed miserably in their roles
2. the Government is in chaos
3. the recent violence has brought the day to day operation of the Government to a standstill
4. the extent of the civil unrest
5. the tens of thousand of people who are still homeless and being deprived of food
6. the unfortunate illegal use of Australian soldiers to try and capture Major Alfredo
7. the unnecessary deaths of four of Major Alfredo’s men
8. and the extreme possibility that the country will explode into civil war
how in God’s name can elections be held in just over five weeks time. Impossible”
For further information please contact Angela Freitas on 0416634950. Email: email@example.com
Timor attack survivor appears in court – AAP March 8, 2007 – 8:25PM A wounded survivor of the Australian military attack on the camp of fugitive East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has appeared in a Dili court. Nixon da Costa Galucho, a deserter from an elite police unit, limped into the court with crutches and a bandaged head, a product of three
gunshot wounds suffered in the attack last weekend.
One bullet had entered his leg, another had amputated his left thumb and a third had grazed his head.
Speaking through lawyer Benevides Barros before the hearing, he told AAP that Australian troops had encircled the rebel hideout near the south-coast town of Same, and four Black Hawk helicopter gunships had rained down fire from above. He said the shooting came without warning, a version supported by Lieutenant Gastao Salsinha, leader of the 600-strong ‘petitioner’ army faction, in a telephone interview with a Timorese journalist.
Salsinha and Reinado both escaped the ambush, after initially being trapped in their compound. Five East Timorese supporters of Reinado were shot dead in the operation. Barros said he had advised his client to remain silent until he was able to counsel him adequately. He said he had not yet been told of the charges.
Galucho deserted the police Rapid Response Unit in May 2006, to join the then small band of around 20 men supporting Reinado, after the military policeman had refused superior orders to fire on the rebel army faction. The group took on permanent outlaw status after raiding border police posts for guns last month.
Brig-General Mel Rerdon, commander of the Australian force, said at a briefing on Thursday that the hunt for Reinado was continuing.
UN mission chief Atul Khare emphasised his backing for the operation. “Impunity will not be tolerated, and everyone must submit to justice,” he said. He described the sentencing Wednesday of former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato to seven and a half years in jail on arms and manslaughter charges as a step in the right direction in restoring order in East Timor.
A planned demonstration by Dili supporters of Reinado on Thursday did not materialise, after president Xanana Gusmao invoked emergency powers earlier this week. They limit freedom of expression and association, requiring four days notice for a demonstration. The measure has quelled demonstrations, but pro-Alfredo youths have continued night-time attacks.
They once again raided the house of the president’s sister Manuela Gusmao in the early hours of Thursday, setting fire to a family car and parts of her house, which had been looted days before. The words “Viva Alfredo” and “Xanana-traitor” were daubed on the front fence. A few blocks away an education department warehouse of Portuguese-language textbooks was still smouldering from an arson attack 48 hours before, while a banner reading “We Love Alfredo” had been strung between lampposts nearby.
Mr Khare said he has now implemented special police protection measures for Ms Gusmao and her sister Armandina, whose house has also been attacked.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 08 March 2007
Rogerio Sentenced To Seven-And-A-Half Years – Former Interior Minister, Rogerio Tiago Lobato has been sentenced to seven years and six months in prison, after the Dili District Court found him guilty of distributing weapons to a civilian-hit squad, manslaughter and disturbing public order. A panel of judges led by Ivo Nelson Rosa Batista read out the verdict yesterday. However, Lobato’ lawyer, Paulo Remeidos said the verdict was not fair and that his client would appeal the sentence. The panel, consisting of three international jurists and led by Judge Ivo Rosa Batista, reached a verdict after a three-month trial. (DN)
In Crisis, But Timor Is Not A Failed State: Xanana – President Xanana Gusmão said that despite the crisis that Timor-Leste has been through, it is not a failed state. The President made this comment yesterday when he received the credentials from the Indian and Egyptian Ambassadors to Timor Leste. Gusmão said Timor Leste would continue building important bilateral ties and bi-lateral programs currently running in the country. (DN)
38 UIR Police On-Duty Again – Thirty-eight members of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) have been given the go-ahead to carry their pistols while on duty, said Interior Minister, Alcino Barris. Barris said UIR would work with the UN police to respond to conflicts within the capital, Dili. They have resumed duty after passing the screen test established after last year’s crisis in which some police had been actively engaged. (RTL)
International Forces Continue To Ask For Alfredo’s Surrender – Commander of the Australian-led international forces, Brigadier Mal Rerden has once again appealed to former Military Police Commander, Major Alfredo Reinado Alves and his followers to surrender. ” am asking Alfredo to avoid further conflict, including the possibility that he may lose his life. He should therefore surrender, with his men, to the national police, the UN police and international forces so that he can go to court and face the charges against him” said Rerden yesterday. Meanwhile, one of Alfredo’s men, Susar, said in a telephone interview that Alfredo wants dialogue and not confrontation with the government. Alfredo and his men are on the run after the Australian-lead international forces raided their hideout in the southern town of Same last weekend. (TP)
Henrique’s Body Handed Back To Family – The body of Henrique Marques, who was killed during the Australian-led international forces operation last weekend in the southern town of Same, has been handed over to his family after it was delivered to Guido Valadares National Hospital, Dili. Speaking to the media, Henrique’s widow, Herlina Efendi expressed her grief over the death of her husband, who she said had provided for their whole family. Henrique had deserted F-FDTL and joined Alfredo during the crisis of May last year, when Alfredo demanded that Timor’s justice system be overhauled. (TP)
Horta Decides To Deploy F-FDTL – Prime Minister, Jose Ramos Horta has decided to provide greater security for people within Dili and protection for state property and buildings by deploying Timor Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL). The decision was made after President Xanana Gusmão gave more power to international forces and to F-FDTL to curb the violence within the country. (TP)
Legal Expert Pessimistic Over East Timor Unrest – HONOLULU (March 7) – The latest round of violence and unrestin East Timor should come as no surprise, according to East Timor legalexpert David Cohen, director of the Berkeley War Crimes Studies Centerand Sidney and Margaret Ancker Distinguished Professor of Humanities atthe University of California, Berkeley.
“Law and order have been precarious since April 2006 and the Army’mutiny’,” says Cohen, who also directs the East-West Center’s AsianInternational Justice Initiative. He adds, “While the degree ofviolence since then has ebbed and flowed considerably, it has really notceased.”
“The most recent outbreak seems to arise,” according toCohen, “from a double miscalculation by the Timoresegovernment.” Underestimating the reaction against using Australianforces to carry out this week’s raid against Maj. Alfredo Reinado and hisarmed followers “and the consequences of having Timorese killed bythem in the process,” was one of the major miscalculations,according to Cohen.
Reinado has been accused by the Dili government of, among other things,carrying out raids on police stations to secure weapons. Reinado, for hispart, disputes the charges and has maintained the weapons were given tohim by police officers and that some of those same officers have joinedhis group.
Cohen says the government in Dili also greatly underestimated the amountof popular support for Reinado, “who has positioned himself as avoice crying out against corruption, the indifference of the rulingPortuguese speaking elites, and gross inequities and incompetence in thelegal system.” He is not optimistic. “I personally think that this kind of violence will not end untilthe government demonstrates through its action, and not just itsrhetoric, its commitment to the rule of law, genuine democraticgovernment, and social justice.” He adds, “None of these, in myview, are on the horizon.”
The East-West Wire is a news, commentary, and analysis service providedby the East-West Center in Honolulu. Any part or all of the Wire contentmay be used by media with attribution to the East-West Center or theperson quoted. To receive the East-West Center Wire, please contact JohnLewis at (808) 944-7204 or EastWestWire@EastWestCenter.org.
TIMOR-LESTE: UN INCREASES POLICE PATROLS AS FORMER MINISTER SENTENCED TO JAIL UN New Service New York, Mar 7 2007 3:00PM – United Nations police officers in Timor-Leste and local colleagues increased their numbers on the streets of Dili, the capital, today in connection with the conviction of former interior minister Rogerio Lobato for arming civilians in the deadly violence that rocked the small South-East Asian country last year. He was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment on four counts of manslaughter and use of firearms.
The area around the Court of Appeal and across Dili remained stable, but there were two attacks on warehouses in this morning, both brought under control by the Malaysian and Portuguese formed police units, the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (<“http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmit/index.html”>UNMIT) reported. There were no injuries and minimal looting.
In minor scattered incidents yesterday, rocks were thrown at the Bebor and Bebonuk warehouses in Dili, but UNPOL responded quickly to bring the situation under control and seven people in total were arrested. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Atul Khare has called on the people of Timor-Leste to maintain peace and calm and cooperate fully with the security authorities.
The Security Council created UNMIT in August to help restore order after deadly violence, attributed to differences between eastern and western regions, broke out in April and May in the country that the UN shepherded to independence from Indonesia nearly five years ago. At least 37 people were killed and 155,000 others, 15 per cent of the population, forced to flee their homes.
An Independent Special Commission of Inquiry, set up to investigate the violence, found that both police and defence force weapons were distributed to civilians and that there was an absence of systematic control over weapons and ammunition within the security sector, particularly the police. It found that Mr. Lobato and General Commander Paulo Martins bypassed institutional procedures by transferring irregularly weapons within the institution. It also found that Mr. Lobato, Defence Minister Roque Rodrigues and Defence Force Chief Taur Matan Ruak acted without lawful authority, created a situation of significant potential danger and should be held accountable for illegal transfer of weapons. 2007-03-07 00:00:00.000
Lobato jailed over 2006 unrest – DILI (AP): A former interior minister was found guilty Wednesday of fueling violence that wracked East Timor one year ago, ultimately resulting in the downfall of the government. He was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison. Rogerio Lobato, convicted of arming militias and failing to end the bloodshed, smiled as he was escorted to a prison in the tiny nation’s tense capital, where a high security cell awaited him. His defense lawyer said they would appeal.
East Timor descended into chaos in April, 2006, following the dismissal of 600 soldiers by then-Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, a move that split the armed forces into factions and later spilled over into gang warfare that left 37 people dead and sent 150,000fleeing their homes.
Lobato, still deputy chairman of the country’s largest political party, was also found criminally negligent in the homicide of nine policemen, gunned down in the streets of the capital, Dili, on May 24. Calm largely returned with the arrival of 2,700 foreign peacekeepers and the installation of a new government, but isolated acts of gang warfare, arson and looting have raised concerns that presidential elections next month could turn violent.
The courthouse in Dili was heavily guarded Wednesday amid fears a ruling either in favor or against Lobato could spark revenge attacks. There were no immediate signs of unrest after the panel of three judges handed down its verdict.
“As a member of the government Lobato was responsible for internal security, but failed to prevent the violence,” said presiding Judge Ivo Nelson Batista, finding him guilty of arminga hit squad to kill government opposition.
Alkatiri resigned in June after firing Lobato and his defense chief. He was replaced by Nobel Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, who is seen as the leading candidate in April 9 elections.
The violence last year was the worst to hit the country since it voted to break free from 24-years of Indonesian rule in 1999. The country was administered by the United Nations and until the crisis had been considered a major success in nation building. Much of the anger in Dili in recent days has been directed at foreign troops, especially Australians, who shot and killed two East Timor citizens and launched a deadly raid on a rebel leader’s hideout just days ago. (**)
Ex-minister jailed over hit squads – By Jill Jolliffe March 07, 2007 The Australian EAST Timor’s former interior minister Rogerio Lobato has been found guilty on five charges relating to arming hit squads to eliminate Government opponents during civil unrest last year.
Lobato was found guilty on four charges of manslaughter and one count of unlawfully using firearms to disturb public order by a panel of three international judges today. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail.
Judge Ivo Rosa, who headed the panel of judges, said today Lobato had been “a member of Government and a democratic society but he has behaved in an antisocial and antidemocratic way”, contributing to the nation’s instability and violence.
The charges were laid following allegations made on ABC television after around 600 East Timorese soldiers known as “petitioners” deserted, accusing their commanders of racial discrimination.
Reporter Liz Jackson produced documents alleging Lobato and then prime minister Mari Alkatiri had given weapons to civilians to kill members of the petitioners’ group as dissent worsened in May 2006.
An October 2006 UN report on the violence recommended that Lobato be prosecuted, along with key protagonists in the conflict, from both the Government and its opponents, including the leader of the petitioners, Major Alfredo Reinado.
It recommended that Mr Alkatiri should be investigated with a view to prosecution, but the prosecutor’s office announced last month it was shelving inquiries into his involvement. Mr Alkatiri resigned in June, after sacking Lobato and defence minister Roque Rodrigues over the scandal, and was replaced by former foreign minister Jose Ramos-Horta.
Lobato is the younger brother of East Timor resistance hero Nicolau Lobato, who died fighting the Indonesian army in 1978.
Nominated defence minister when the Fretilin party declared unilateral independence in 1975, Rogerio Lobato travelled abroad to seek weapons for the embattled guerrilla movement. Two years ago war crimes investigators in Cambodia found documents describing Lobato’s subsequent visits to the dictator Pol Pot. In the 1980s he served seven years in an Angolan prison on diamond-smuggling charges after falling out with other Fretilin leaders. On his release he said in a Lisbon interview he had been convicted at a kangaroo court run by the politburo of the ruling MPLA party, with Mr Rodrigues as the key prosecution witness.
Lobato jailed for arming Dili hit squads – March 7, 2007 – 2:54PM A stern message from a Dili court for former interior minister and strongman Rogerio Lobato has relieved political tension in the East Timor capital.
Lobato was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for arming civilians during last year’s violence, which has left East Timor chronically unstable and divided.
The court’s front seats were lined with leaders of Lobato’s governing Fretilin party, including ex-prime minister Mari Alkatiri and his former Finance Minister Madalena Boavida. With presidential party elections only a month away, Lobato’s standing as deputy leader of the party was of keen interest. It is fielding parliamentary speaker Francisco Guterres as its candidate.
Judge Ivo Rosa took almost two hours to deliver the verdict in Portuguese. One of Lobato’s three co-defendants dozed off during its reading. He was convicted of misappropriating firearms for unlawful use and four counts of manslaughter resulting from his arming of civilians to kill government opponents. He was sacked as minister in May 2006.
The verdict was reached by a panel of three international jurists led by Judge Rosa after a three month trial. They said Lobato was responsible for much of last year’s violence. “The accused seriously disturbed public order,” Judge Rosa read. “He knew the guns and bullets he distributed could kill people. He had the objective of killing those of different political opinions’. He said the ex-minister – whose brother Nicolau was a hero of Timor’s long resistance war against Indonesia – had a special responsibility, “as a member of government, and of a democratic society”.
Political analyst Aderito Soares of Fretilin’s dissident ‘Mudansa’ faction said the trial evidence showed that government members had inside knowledge of the gun dealings. “The verdict will have some importance for these elections because Rogerio is vice-president of the party,” he said.
The conviction was a relief for UN peacekeepers in Dili in their struggle to control warring political factions. Supporters of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who is on the run from Australian troops, had threatened violence in the capital if Lobato was acquitted. There was no backlash registered from Fretilin supporters.
Lawyer Paul Remedios told reporters after the verdict that his client would appeal. “I’m confident of success,” he said. Two of the co-defendants were given suspended sentences of four months, while the third was acquitted. AAP Wednesday, March 7, 2007. 11:15pm (AEDT)
Former E Timor minister jailed over 2006 unrest – The former interior minister of East Timor, Rogerio Lobato, has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years for his role in serious civil unrest last May. A panel of three judges in Dili found Lobato guilty of manslaughter, abuse of power and of distributing weapons illegally to militias in an attempt to eliminate opponents of the government. Prosecutors said he had distributed police uniforms, weapons and ammunition to a group of civilians led by renegade army major Alfredo Reinado. A lawyer for Lobato, Paulo Remexio, said he would appeal. “We don’t accept the sentence,” he told reporters.
Violence broke out in the impoverished tiny country last May after the Government sacked 600 mutinous members of East Timor’s 1,400-strong army. At least 20 people were killed in the violence, which led to the resignation of the then prime minister, Mari Alkatiri and the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.
Prosecutors dropped similar charges against Mr Alkatiri because of lack of evidence. Mr Alkatiri attended the court session. A report released last October by a UN-appointed Independent Special Commission of Inquiry called for further investigation to determine whether Mr Alkatiri should face criminal charges for fomenting the violence. – Reuters
Australia to Send More Police and Food to East Timor – By Steve Larkin AAP March7, 2007 ADELAIDE – Australia wants East Timor’s parliament to change its laws to allow foreign police to arrest arsonists and looters on the streets of Dili.
As Australia today committed a further $1 million for AusAid to buy food for the World Food Program in East Timor, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today he wanted Australian police numbers there to reach 200 “as soon as possible”.
He also revealed that he believes some of the gangs responsible for the violence that has ravaged the capital for the past few weeks may have links to politicians. “I can’t prove it, but I have some concerns about that,” Mr Downer told reporters in Adelaide.
He said that, in addition to 1,300 troops, Australia has 106 Australian Federal Police in East Timor, but the number would grow towards 200 by the deployment of state police officers.
Malaysia was also considering sending another 250 police and New Zealand an extra 30 or 40 officers. But the foreign police are restrained in their efforts to stem the violence by East Timor’s laws.
“It’s not to say though that just by getting more police on the ground in East Timor that is automatically going to solve the problem,” Mr Downer said. “In order for day-to-day police work to be conducted by foreign police, there will almost certainly have to be a change in the law of East Timor. “We’re in discussions today with the East Timorese about how they can change the law … they are going to have to change it through their parliament.”
Mr Downer said the further food aid funding would help prevent a food shortage in East Timor. “The idea is to ensure there are substantial supplies of food that can be distributed to the internally displaced people there,” he said. “It’s not at the moment. There is a major problem with food shortages, it’s that we are concerned that such a situation could arise in the not too distant future. “It would be terrible if we let the situation arise where supplies just ran out.”
Mr Downer urged East Timor’s politicians to settle their differences peacefully. “We have studiously tried to avoid taking sides whatever we might think privately,” he said. “It’s one thing to have political differences and political disputes …but the important thing is that these disputes are managed peacefully, constitutionally and not outside the rule of law.”
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock confirmed other countries could become involved in Australia’s peacekeeping mission in East Timor. He said AFP commissioner Mick Keelty had been discussing with other countries as well as with the Australian states and territories the potential for their participation in peacekeeping in East Timor. “But announcements will be made in relation to those matters when appropriate approvals have been obtained and the deployments have been formally agreed and are ready to be made,” he said in Melbourne.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 7 March 2007
State Is Not Implementing Dictatorship – MPs Josefa Pereira (Fretilin) and Rui Menezes (PD) believe that the means the State is applying to stop the violence in the country does not mean the beginning of dictatorship as Timor-Leste is an independent and democratic State. They said the country is heading towards anarchism and should not be tolerated. Pereira said that since the statement was made the situation is starting to settle and people are gaining their consciousness and respect for each citizen’s right to live. Deputy Speaker of the House, Jacob Fernandes reportedly said the statement of the President of the Republic to use force to stop the violence is constitutional as it would enable the country to return to normal conditions and put an end to the violence which has been increasing. (DN)
State’s Decision To Use Force Follows The Condition – The decision taken by the State to use force against violent actions is based on the ongoing conditions and the existing penal code and it must be implemented professionally in the field, said Timorese human rights advocate, Aderito de Jesus Soares. According to de Jesus, the State’s decision was clear and correct as some groups have not respected the State and continue to engage in public disturbances. Aderito is referring to President Xanana Gusmao’s official address to the nation on Monday noting that the State would use force to put an end to violence in the country. (TP)
Major Alfredo Is In Good Condition – According to reports, the raid by the Australian-led international forces of the hideout of the Military Police Commander, Major Alfredo Reinado Alves in the southern town of Same has not affected Alfredo’s psychical condition, said Alfredo’s follower, Amaro da Costa alias ‘Susar’. When questioned why he is not with Alfredo, Susar reportedly said that they separated during the attack. Another member who asked to remain anonymous also affirmed that Alfredo is in good condition and that they are in regular contact. Susar has further stressed that as a smaller group than International Security Forces they managed to escape but that they are not afraid of ISF because they want to fight for the rights of the people. (TP)
Australia Rejects Support – An ISF officer in Dili rejects reports that Australia has sent one hundred SAS to Timor-Leste before the operation to apprehend Alfredo and his groups. “Not SAS but replacements,” he said. Meanwhile, the Australian Defence Forces on Monday (05/3) refused to comment on whether SAS had been sent to Timor-Leste. However, The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday (05/3) reported that SAS had been sent to Timor-Leste.
ISF Arrest Galucho In Ermera – Nelson Galucho, one of UIR Officers who has been involved in Major Alfredo’s group was arrested while on duty in the District of Ermera, Wednesday (28/2) in the afternoon in his residence in Gleno. Galucho was taken to Dili by ISP helicopter. However, due to pressure from the people and youth of Gleno, Galucho was taken back to Fatukero, Gleno, (01/3) at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Galucho’s arrest followed information that he had weapons and fire arms which he gave to the petitioners. Galucho rejects such allegations. The detention of Galucho has been considered illegal by his supporters as the ISF did not have an arrest warrant to detain him. According to STL, ISF have apologized for the mistake and promised not to further arrest members of the petitioners or Alfredo’s group. (STL)
5 Members Of Alfredo Died – ISF has reportedly found one more dead body of Alfredo’s group in Same on Tuesday (06/3) raising the number to five people killed during Sunday’s operation to apprehend Reinado on Sunday (4/3) morning. According to Timor Post, ISF Spokesperson reportedly said via mobile phone in Dili that the dead body has been identified as one of Alfredo’s member killed during the operation based upon the authorities of Timor-Leste. He underlined that no ISF soldiers were wounded during the operation contrary to reports by some local media. In the meantime, Antonio Caleres Junior, the Director of the National Hospital said that all the dead bodies have been autopsied and are waiting identification from the families. The five people killed are: Calistro Tilman, Deolindo Barros, Henrique Marques, Natalino Fereira alias Meta Kiak, and Quintao Tilman. (TP)
Local Government Activities Disrupted – The local government activities have been disrupted for about two weeks as the buildings were first occupied by Major Alfredo and his men then by the ISF, Timor Post correspondent in Same reported. TP correspondent in Same said that the situation is under control even though many government activities have not fully returned to normal. Brigadier General Mal Rerden said that the ISF priority is to help and assist Timor-Leste and the UN to stabilize a good environment in preparations for the election process in Timor-Leste. (TP)
Oecussi Court Not Functioning – Sebastiana Pereira, coordinator of Oecussi Women’s Centre said the population of Oecussi has been unhappy about the court process, as it has not been functioning since January this year. According to Pereira, some of the court cases have been pending for the last 10 months. She said she does not want to blame the authorities in charge of the judicial system but there can be many factors contributing to the situation such as lack of accommodation, clean water and electricity which are keeping the prosecutors and judges from working in Oecussi. She said the population tends to approach the police, the head of village and the community’s elderly to resolve their problems nowadays, as they no longer trust the judicial system. (STL)
Court Verdict On Lobato’s Case – According to schedule, the Court of Appeal and the Prosecutor’s Office will announce the verdict on Lobato’s case today (Wednesday). The verdict should have been announced on February 15, but it has been delayed, as the court required further time for an in-depth analysis of the statements by eyewitness on alleged distribution of guns by the former Minister of Interior to civilians. Based on UNTAET Regulations 5/2001, Lobato could face up to 30 years in jail if found guilty. (DN)
Fretilin Mudansa Will Hold National Convention – Fretilin Mudansa will hold a national convention on March 17 to break away from Fretilin group of Lu-Olo and Alkatiri. Members of the group, Victor da Costa, Minister Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Jose Luis Guterres and former Timor-Leste Ambassador to Australia, Jorge Teme met with President Gusmao Tuesday to present their support to Ramos-Horta candidacy as well as the convention. Da Costa said the group would also discuss about Alfredo’s case during the convention but would not reveal anything further about it. (DN)
CPD RDTL Must Register With STAE – Prime Minister Ramos-Horta has requested CPD RDTL members to register with STAE and not to use the ones they have in their possession now if they want to participate in the 2007 elections. Ramos-Horta told the group not to dispose of their cards but also not to use them. A few days ago it was reported in the media that Prime Minister Ramos-Horta had authorized CPD RDTL members to use their own registration cards to participate in the elections. (DN)
ABC 7:30 report: Australians leave E Timor as violence looms http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2007/s1864737.htm
Reinado supporters threaten Gusmao family – March 06, 2007 05:20pm Article from: AAP SUPPORTERS of East Timor’s rebel leader Alfredo Reinado have threatened to murder President Xanana Gusmao’s family as punishment for asking Australian troops to hunt down the renegade major. Australia today told its citizens to get out of East Timor and also moved to evacuate embassy staff and their families who wanted to leave. Defence Minister Brendan Nelson also said Canberra would review its troop deployment of 800 if widespread violence flared.
The homes of two of Gusmao’s sisters have been attacked since Australian forces stormed Reinado’s mountain stronghold on Sunday, killing five of his supporters, one of the women said today. Reinado escaped and Australian troops continue to search for him in the countryside around the town of Same, south of Dili, where the raid took place. The deadly assault by the Australians touched off street violence across Dili, but authorities said a relative calm had returned to the capital today.
However, there are fears of another outbreak of widespread violence, with Reinado supporters urging East Timorese to attend a “demonstration for justice” on Thursday. Another trigger point could come tomorrow, when a court verdict is expected for former interior minister Rogerio Lobato, accused of going behind the Government’s back to arm civilians loyal to Reinado last year.
Reinado is wanted for leading a band of breakaway soldiers last April and May, when battles between rival security factions degenerated into rampant violence across East Timor. The unrest sparked the intervention of the international peacekeeping force, including 800 Australians given the job of preventing a repeat of the chaos.
The president’s sister Armandina Gusmao today told how her family had been threatened with death and said her home, and that of her sister Manuela, had been attacked following the Australian raid on Reinado’s base. She said a pro-Reinado mob surrounded her home overnight, saying they would kill her president brother’s family “to the third generation”. She said the mob hurled objects at her house and harassed her family for hours after earlier ransacking Manuela’s Dili home.
“They took everything,” Armandina Gusmao said of mob raid on her sister’s property. “The only reason they didn’t burn it was because they wanted to steal the contents. “It’s just like Indonesian times,” she said, referring to the violence that occurred during Jakarta’s occupation of East Timor. “What hurts me most is that Timorese are doing it.”
Meanwhile, the tiny nation’s oldest human rights group was warning of the potential for civil war today, stemming from the Australian troops’ raid on Reinado’s Same base.
Jose Luis Oliveira, of the HAK Foundation, said Gusmao had violated East Timor’s constitution by calling on international troops to settle what was an internal affair, paving the way for an insurgency. “The president gave the order and the Australian force implemented it, but it was the wrong decision,” Oliveira said. Australia had acted “as an instrument of the political elites of Timor,” and “the barricades in the streets of Dili are a reaction” to that. “The population supports Alfredo and is capable of prolonged resistance.”
An international forces spokesman today said a fifth body was recovered from the site in Same where Australians stormed Reinado’s base. Families gathered at the main hospital in Dili, where the bodies of the other four men are reportedly being kept. But Oliveira said relatives were distraught because officials were refusing to release the names of the dead men.
Mr Gusmao has warned of a security crackdown, saying: “The state will use legal mechanisms, including force if necessary, to halt violence, damage to private property, killings, and to re-establish general order as soon as possible.”
Prime Minister John Howard today said a mix of military operations and local political will was required to bring the situation in East Timor under control. “It’s a reminder that this country is still fragile and still needs our help and still needs our investment of people and military and police capacity,” Mr Howard said. There are fears the latest unrest could derail presidential elections set down for April 9. Gusmao has said he will not seek re-election, and is believed to be forming his own political party to take a tilt at national elections due later in the year.
Australia Criticized Over East Timor Crisis Shar Adams Epoch Times Australia Staff http://en.epochtimes.com/news/7-3-6/52479.html