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East Timor Legal New now on East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin

East Timor legal news continues on in the East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin. ETLJB covers the period from 2008 to the present. The archive and ETLB span almost a decade. It is by no means a comprehensive archive of legal news from East Timor but does cover many subjects and sources that have been of critical importance in the development of East Timor's legal culture since the catastrophic disintegration of the rule of law in 2006. Relates sources are East Timor Law Journal, East Timor Land Studies and United Nations Police in East Timor Security Reports for the period 2006-2008.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Timor-Leste Legal News February 2008 (Part 8)

East Timor in renewed hunt for would-be assassins By Stephanie March in Dili  Posted Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:31pm AEDT  - East Timor's police and military have started a new operation to search for the rebels involved in last week's attacks on the Prime Minister and President.

Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta was shot twice in a failed assassination attempt 11 days ago.

Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed in the assassination attempt. More than 1,000 police and soldiers have taken part in a military parade through the streets of Dili in a show of strength against the rebels.

The troops are raiding homes and sweeping through the hills outside Dili to search for 17 people suspected of involvement in the attacks. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao says East Timor cannot afford to sit and wait for the rebels to come out of hiding.

"We are starting to go after the rebels. We will go after them and destroy them - destroy them so the people have stability, destroy them so that we can develop our country," he said.

"They can keep hiding if they want, but their time is over. The people need to live in peace."

East Timor's military commander Taur Matan Ruak said he will have no sympathy for anyone caught hiding the rebels involved in the attack.

The merger of police and the military sparked concern among East Timor analysts, who feared the move could reignite tensions between the police and military that flamed during the crisis in 2006.

East Timor's leaders are meeting today to decide whether or not to extend the state of emergency, which is due to expire tomorrow. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/22/2170446.htm?section=justin
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Letter of complaint from Jose Teixeira to SBS TV News fretilin.media@gmail.com

Dear all

Attached below is a letter of complaint sent to SBS News from Jose Teixeira regarding a recent defammatory story by SBS.

Regards

Railakan Makaas
FRETILIN Media

Friday, February 22, 2008,

To: Complaints, SBS Australia

Yesterday your national news bulletin carried a report from a reporter in Timor-Leste, Maria Gabriela Carrascalao, wherein my character was seriously defamed by both Ms Carrascalao and SBS. The report imputed my involvement with the contemptible and abhorrent criminal attacks on the President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste.

Your report and the imputations regarding me in the report are false and misleading. I have denied in a press release of the 20th of
February 2008 that would have been accessible denied any involvement with these events. A press conference was also held by the FRETILIN parliamentary group on my behalf making it clear that this was based on nothing more than a political witch hunt of me and FRETILIN.

Facts would also have been available to your reporter yesterday that on 20th of February, the day after I was the subject of the police action, the prosecutor general himself stated that the police had acted "outside procedures", and that I was not and have never been a person named in a list provided by the prosecutor general to the police for questioning.

After being taken into the Dili Police Headquarters without either a warrant or another lawful reason, and in total disregard of my immunity as a member of the Timor-Leste National Parliament, I was informed by the commander of the National Investigations Division, a joint Timor-Leste Police and UN Police unit, that they did not have any requirement for my presence for questioning. However, given the lateness of the night and after interventions on my part my some of the FRETILIN leadership, I was allowed to and in fact driven to a friend's residence where I stayed for the evening.

The fact that I was taken in 45 minutes before the commencement of the nightly curfew period is significant, as I was informed the following day by many police that many people were picked under similar circumstances to myself who were detained overnight at the police station but released in the morning for want of any basis of evidence whatsoever.

I presented the following morning as agreed with the commander of the National Investigation Division and gave a short statement. However, the police who took my statement did not have any facts to put to me because they had not been involved in bringing me in and other than a general knowledge of being brought in as a witness, knew nothing else. After giving a short statement I was allowed to leave unimpeded and without further requirements from the police.

However, prior to leaving, the senior UN Police officer requested to speak with me and reiterated what had been told to me by the Timorese National Investigation Division Commander, that being that I was not named or known to them on any list provided by the Prosecutor General's Office from whom they took their instructions during the investigation of the events of 11th February 2008.

On the evening of my being subject to police action, a senior FRETILIN leader spoke to the Deputy Commander of the Timor-Leste National Police Operations who informed him that he was aware of the operation against me and ordered it. Though asked, he declined to comment on who gave him orders to order the operation against me. It is known that the prosecutor general's office was not aware or involved with the operation and nor was the National Investigations Division.

The fact is that orders were given and FRETILIN and I are demanding in parliament to know, as was demanded in the media conference on the 20th February, exactly who ordered that I be taken in for questioning.

All these facts were readily ascertainable by your Dili reporter had she bothered to seek information or even a comment from myself or other FRETILIN spokespersons, so as to report in a more balanced and truthful manner.

I have consistently denied knowing any of the persons suspected of being involved, including the deceased Reinado or of in any way having any involvement whatsoever with them or any of their activities whatsoever.

It is our firm belief that the police action against me was a politically motivated action with the knowledge of the government, aimed at tarnishing me good name and to undermine the effectiveness of my role as a FRETILIN media spokesperson and liaison officer. FRETILIN has and will continue to insist on an answer as to who gave the orders to the police to take the action they did against me.

I am currently taking legal advice and intended to commence all relevant legal proceedings in whichever jurisdiction may be necessary to seek to remedy the extensive damage that has already been sustained by my previously good name and character as a result of your defamatory report and other reports as well.

In the interim, I hereby demand that you broadcast a retraction taking into account the facts that were already available to your reporter and your network when the story ran last night. This will only go a small way to remedying the damage already sustained by my hitherto good name and character.

Jose Teixeira MP
Dil, Timor Leste
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Daily Media Review 22 Feb 2008

TVTL News Coverage

FBI agents meet PGR - The General Prosecutor of the Republic (PGR) Longuinhos Monteiro held a briefing with delegates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Thursday (21/2). "The FBI delegation will be working together with the Australian Federal Police (AFP). I have briefed them on the mechanisms they should use while working in Timor-Leste," said PGR Monteiro. PGR Monteiro also said that the continuing presence of the FBI and AFP in Timor-Leste is contingent on upon decisions made by the Public Ministry. (TP)

RTL News Coverage

SRSG meets Alkatiri - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Atul Khare, has met with Fretilin's Secretary-General, Mari Alkatiri, to share information with each other. "Mr Khare used to come here every Wednesday to share and receive information from myself, the President, Prime Minister and the National Parliament President. Sometimes he meets me twice a week," said Mr. Alkatiri. Mr Alkatiri also claimed that the government is late in providing information to the public as to the motives behind Reinado's attack on the residence of PR Ramos-Horta. "It has caused a big confusion as until now we know nothing about what happened. Why was Alfredo killed? Who killed him? And why did Alfredo go to the PR's residence? Who is behind all of this? There is still no clarification about all these issues," said Mr. Alkatiri.

PNTL welcomes community criticisms -The Acting Commander of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) has said that criticisms from the community regarding PNTL activities are welcome because they motivate the PNTL to behave more professionally. "All criticisms motivate the PNTL," said Commander Mateus. Commander Mateus also said that as the nation is in a fragile condition, constructive criticism and suggestions were needed to ensure professionalism was maintained by the police.

Print Coverage

Government asks President to extend 'State of Emergency' - The Government is set to ask the President of the Republic to extend the 'State of Emergency' during the meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Thursday (21/2) in the Government Palace in Dili. According to the Government, the situation remains calm, but the groups that attacked PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana are still at large. (TP)

Decision to extend UNMIT made this month - The Spokesperson of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Allison Cooper, said that the decision to extend the current mandate of UNMIT will be made this month. "The Security Council has held a meeting to look at the report of the progress made by UNMIT. This will take time to analyze, but before the 28th of this month, the result of decision to extend will be made," said Ms. Cooper on Thursday (21/2) in her office in UNMIT HQ in Obrigado Barracks Caicoli, Dili. (DN)

Guterres: NP to give amnesty to Salsinha -The Acting President of the National Parliament, Vicente Guterres, said that amnesty will be provided to Salsinha and his group upon their surrender to ensure that their rights are protected. (DN)

ICI: UNMIT has no formal request - The Spokesperson of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Allison Cooper, said that there has been no formal request from the Government of Timor-Leste for UNMIT to establish an International Commission of Inquiry (ICI) as stated publicly by the media. "Regarding the ICI, UNMIT has had no formal request. People are aware that the Acting President and the F-FDTL Commander are also talking about establishing an ICI, but there has been no formal request made to UNMIT to do so," said Ms. Cooper on Thursday (21/2) in UNMIT HQ in Obrigado Barracks Caicoli, Dili. (DN)

Mari Alkatiri: "Government late in giving information" - Former Prime Minister and Secretary-General of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri, has claimed that the government is late in providing information to the public as to the motives behind Reinado's attack on the residence of PR Ramos-Horta. "It has caused a big confusion as until now we know nothing about what happened. Why was Alfredo killed? Who killed him? And why did Alfredo go to PR's residence? Who is behind all of this? There is still no clarification about all these issues," said Mr. Alkatiri on Wednesday (20/2) in Farol, Dili after meeting with the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister, Dermot Ahern.

Separately, regarding the meeting with SRSG Atul Khare, Mr. Alkatiri said that the meeting was a regular meeting held between the SRSG, the PR and PM, himself and others. (DN)
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TLGOV: Xanana Gusmao before parliament on extending the state of emergency DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF EAST TIMOR OFFICE OF PRIME-MINISTER Office of the Press Dili, 22 February 2008 - The Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao proposed to the interim  President of the Republic a renewal of the declaration of state of emergency for a further period of 30 days throughout the national territory, with suspension of the right to movement during curfew between 22.00 and 06h00.

In a speech today in the National Parliament, the Head of Government justified the proposal because of "the current situation that crosses East Timor can not yet be considered stable," stressing that the perpetrators of the attacks on the lives of the President and the Prime Minister have not yet been caught.

"There remain serious threats to the stability of our young nation," said Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, referring to in particular to the "existence of an armed group whose location is uncertain" and the existence of "strong indications" that a group of Reinado supporters  can trigger the "actions of disturbance if not maintained the situation of a state of emergency."

"This situation of the existence of an armed group to challenge the constitutional order is inadmissible", considered the head of government, adding that "our Defence and Security Forces point to the existence of a serious threat that must be neutralised."

The government considered delaying the time for the start of the curfew - for the 22 hours - because it is aware of the impact that this has on the national economy.

"We know that the business is impeded by the current state of emergency, especially the restoration, which does not have the movement that would have a normal climate  and that seriously damages traders and entrepreneurs", justified the Chief Executive.

The Prime Minister argued, however, that if not resolved "definitely" the climate of instability and "feeling of insecurity of the citizens", the economic impact in the future "could be much greater."

"The government of Timor-Leste has to ensure, first, security and stability of the country, and then we can concentrate on economic and social development," considered.

The Head of the Government said it is in the "national interest now to ensure the adoption of forms of organisation and measures of exceptional character - but definitely solve the problem - to avoid in the future a repeat of cases of disturbance to the democratic institutions of public life and of life in society, ensuring the restoration of public order and the return of the right to security for all citizens. "

Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao revealed that this next period of exception, the Government intends to trigger more active as "Special Operations Criminal Prevention " and "Special arrangements under Criminal Procedure for cases of Terrorism, Violent or Highly Organized Crime ," provided for in Decree - Law No. 2 / 2007 and Decree Law No. 4 / 2006, respectively.

The Executive also asked the Interim President of the Republic who is scheduled in the declaration of state of site the possibility of holding a home searches and arrests outside flagrante delicto during the night time, provided that preceded with the competent judicial mandate.

In his speech this afternoon at the National Parliament, the Prime Minister made a "particular reference" to the cooperation developed between the F-FDTL and PNTL, "who have worked positively and united for the common good" in the structure of Operational Command meanwhile created and recalled the reasons why the government requested the interim President of the Republic  to extend the state of emergency, passing still under review the measures and actions that have been taken, to ensure public order and ensure stability of the population.

"During these twelve days when we live a situation of" exceptional democratic "could allay the souls of the Timorese people and maintain public order and stability, thus ensuring the constitutional values  concerned," concluded Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao.
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TIMOR-LESTE: UN WELCOMES APPREHENSION OF ALLEGED ASSOCIATES OF REBEL LEADER New York, Feb 29 2008  5:00PM - The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (<"http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmit/index.html">UNMIT) has welcomed the arrest and detention of five people wanted in connection with the activities of the late rebel commander Alfredo Reinado, who was killed earlier this month during the attack on President Jose Ramos-Horta.

The five were handed over in the capital Dili last night by the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) to UN Police (UNPol), who in turn formally arrested them and produced them before the Dili District Court.

The Court has ordered that they be remanded in UNPol’s custody for the night and appear again this morning.

This process exemplifies the national authorities’ commitment to the law, said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Atul Khare, who has conveyed his appreciation for the peaceful arrests to Interim President de Araujo and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão.

“The PNTL and UNPol, along with the Falantil-Armed Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the International Security Forces, are all playing a role in operations to apprehend those involved in attacks by Reinado and his men,” he said in a press release issued in Dili.

Mr. Reinado had been the target of investigations by the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste, set up to examine the deadly violence that erupted in the tiny nation in April-May 2006. It found that he and his group were reasonably suspected of committing crimes during the fighting.

The 2006 crisis, attributed in part to differences between Timor-Leste’s eastern and western regions, began in April with the firing of 600 striking soldiers, a third of the overall armed forces. Ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drive 155,000 people, or about 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes. The Security Council created UNMIT in August that year to help restore stability.
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Government of East Timor Blames Fretilin for Establishing a Climate of Violence Media Release: Republica Democratica De Timor-Leste 28 February 2008 - The Government of East Timor today blasted the opposition Fretilin party for creating a climate of violence during their tenancy, between 2000 and 2006, that led to a collapse of national stability.

In a Fretilin media release distributed by the Search Foundation, Australia on February 25, Mari Alkatiri and Luolo appealed for calm, ironic considering they were the Government of the day responsible for the actions and activities that led to the violence.

The Search Foundation, states on its website it "was established in 1990 as part of the decision by the Communist Party of Australia to cease being a political party and to support the establishment of the new Left Party. The purposes of SEARCH were to hold and preserve the assets of the Communist Party of Australia and to make the income from those assets available for the political perspectives and projects which the Communist Party of Australia had democratically determined through its last two congresses. "

The Minister for Economic Development, Joao Goncalves, stated today, "The IV Constitutional Government has been in office for six monthscharged with fixing the state of the nation after the inept leadership of Alkatiri and his inner core. They have yet to take responsibility for the collapse in government systems they were charged with preserving.'

'Since their electoral defeat, they have refused to acknowledge the constitutionality of the government, they refuse to utilize parliament as a sovereign forum to constitute healthy debate, there is a perpetual and deliberate smear campaign at government ministers and now we must suffer through Fretilin pontifications distributed by an Australian left wing foundation remnant of the Australian Communist Party.

'We, as a state, hold Fretilin, the former government, responsible for the events of 2006 which led to a total collapse of law and order. Our nation has paid a heavy price for the ineptitude and self interest of Fretilin. We have all had enough."

The events of 2006 that initiated the period of unrest and violence are documented in the United Nations Independent Special Inquiry for Timor-Leste, ( www.ohchr.org/documents/countries/coitimorleste.pdf ), Commissioned by the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and executed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbourto in United Nations resolution 1690 (passed on June 2006).

"What began the violence was the dismissal of half the armed forces in 2006 by the Fretilin government, now known as the "petitioners", who had legitimate grievances. This kicked off a series of events which factionalized the armed forces, causing violence and wide spread destruction.

'The AMP government has now made significant advancements in resettling the majority of petitioners (480 thus far) to a main centre in Dili where they will be re assimilated, offered training and assistance. These are significant advancements for a compassionate government willing to use words over force in settling concerns of the state"

"Lastly, the current tone of the country, which is stable and relatively void of further civil unrest, is a testament to the strengths of the current government at the leadership of the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, in keeping peace, law and order in coordination with the organs of the state, the renewed cooperation of the armed and security forces, the ISF and civil society: all of whom are unanimously ready to embark on the path of peace and certainty offered in a transparent democracy"

For further information, please contact: Mr. Joao Goncalves, Minister for Economic Development,mobile +670 723 0024

SOURCE: Republica Democratica De Timor-Leste
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TLGOV: Zone of cantonment of Aitarak Laran

PRESS RELEASE Dili, February 29, 2008 Zone of cantonment of Aitarak Laran Already hosts a total of 550 petitioners  - Today arrived twenty more - Today more twenty petitioners came to the area of cantonment of Aitarak Laran in Dili, which are added to the 530 that were already there at the end of the day yesterday. Increasing up to 550 the total number of petitioners in cantonment. In the morning came ten petitioners, with a second group of equal numbers to make the trip to Dili in the afternoon. Most of the petitioners who arrived today the Aitarak Laran come from Ermera.

In Aitarak Laran continue the work aimed at the expansion and improvement of facilities and care in order to respond to the growing number of petitioners who continue to arrive throughout this week.

The Government is making all efforts to ensure a just and lasting solution to all petitioners.

The Secretary of State of the Council of Ministers
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UNMIT: Five alleged Reinado associates presented to the Dili District Court  - Dili – February 29, 2008 - The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has welcomed the arrest and detention of five individuals wanted in connection with the activities of the late Alfredo Reinado.

In Dili last night, the five individuals were handed over by the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) to United Nations police officers (UNPol) who formally arrested them and produced them before the Dili District Court.

The Court ordered that they be remanded in UNPol custody for the night and appear again before the Court at 10 o’clock this morning.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Timor-Leste, Mr Atul Khare, stated that this process demonstrates once more the national authorities’ commitment to the rule of law. He also communicated to Interim President de Araujo and to Prime Minister Gusmão his appreciation for the efforts of the PNTL, and all others involved in making this peaceful submission to justice possible.

“The PNTL and UNPol along with the Falantil-Armed Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the International Security Forces are all playing a role in operations to apprehend those involved in attacks by Reinado and his men,” Mr Khare stated. He reiterated his earlier call on all those involved in the attacks to peacefully submit to justice.
For more information please call Allison Cooper on +670 7230453
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Daily Media Review 29 February 2008

TVTL News Coverage

PM: those who submit weapons are acting in good conscience - Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão has said that he believes that those members of Salsinha's group who have already surrendered have shown commitment to peace and are acting in good conscience. The PM has also given his gratitude to the petitioners and former veterans who handed in their weapons to the F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation. The PM has appealed to Salsinha and Susar's group to surrender either to the State or the Church.

6 rebels surrender - Six members of Susar's group surrendered to the F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation on Thursday (28/2) in Memorial Hall, Dili. The six men were led by Bernardo da Costa 'Cris', a veteran from Manatuto. The group also surrendered one AK-33.  "The nation's problems should be solved by mouth, not with weapons as weapons always provoke war,"said Mr da Costa in Memorial Hall, Dili. "This weapon belongs not to me and my parents; it is the nation's weapon," he said.

Print Coverage

Rebels may surrender to leaders - The Joint Operation of the F-FDTL and PNTL has asked rebels to submit themselves to leaders or organizations they trust, if they do not wish to surrender themselves to the Joint Operation. The Joint Operation forces are currently spread around the country and are urging rebels to surrender. (STL)

No consensus between Fretilin and Govt over IICI - The issue of whether to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI) is still creating controversy between the Government and the opposition parties of Fretilin, KOTA and PPT.  Government members are arguing that an IICI may be established once the investigations being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Australian Federal Police end. "They [FBI/AFP] are still working. There will be overlap if we create another commission so soon to do similar work," said Pedro da Costa, an AMP member in the NP. Fretilin is instead arguing that an IICI is imperative as all parts of civil society are calling for one to be established. "The idea (of creating IICI) is coming from parts of civil society, political parties, PR Ramos-Horta and Commander TMR. They all want to discover the truth," said Francisco Branco, Fretilin MP. (TP)
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 28 February 2008

TVTL News Coverage

Petitioners increase to 480 -The numbers of petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran has increased to 480. Petitioners indicate that they are ready to cooperate in order to solve the problems faced since 2006. The Government is assisting them by broadening the gathering place to allow for more room.

F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation seizes 500 camouflage T-shirts -The Operational Commander of F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão, said that the Joint Operation has seized 500 camouflage T-shirts from an international company in Dili. Commander Paixão said while he cannot reveal the name of the company, the case is under investigation.

AFP -UNPol discover bullets in PM's residence -The Investigation Team of the Australian Federal Police and the PNTL who are conducting the reconstruction exercise of the February 11 events at PM Xanana's residence have discovered 16 bullets at the site. The General Prosecutor of the Republic (PGR) Longuinhos Monteiro said that the bullets will be sent to Darwin, Australia for ballistic testing. PGR Monteiro said that FBI was excluded from the reconstruction exercise, but the Australian Federal Police (AFP) took aerial pictures of the site to help locate the shooting points.

Print Coverage

PNTL to welcome petitioners -The Deputy Commander of PNTL Dili District, Delfim da Silva, has said that the PNTL will welcome Salsinha's group any time of the day or night if any member of the group decides to surrender. Commander da Silva has also asked Salsinha's followers to cooperate with the PNTL and to submit to justice as this is the only way to ensure the nation's stability.  (STL)

Salsinha's stronghold detected -The Commander of 'Halibur' Joint Operation F-FDTL and PNTL, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão, said that they have detected the stronghold of Salsinha and his group. Even though Salsinha and his group have been detected, Commander Paixão said that the Joint Operations would not act recklessly to apprehend the group, but would continue to seek peaceful means to bring Salsinha and his group to justice.  "We will keep trying to persuade him as our brother to come and seek justice peacefully," added Commander Paixão. (STL)

Petitioners threatened in Ermera - Former F-FDTL member and Coordinator of the Gathering Place, Captain Cesar Valente de Jesus, said that some of the petitioners from Ermera district afraid to come to Dili as they were being threatened by local community members and youths for allegedly breaking their promise. "We have been informed that some petitioners from Ermera District could not come down to Dili because they were being threatened by local youth and community members. We have told the Government about this and have asked them to help find a way for the petitioners to come here." said Captain de Jesus on Wednesday (27/2) in Aitarak Laran, Dili. (STL)

5 of Alfredo's men submit to justice - PGR Longuinhos Monteiro said that five of Alfredo's men were to undertake their first judicial interrogation in Dili District Court. PGR Monteiro confirmed that the five men were together with Alfredo before the attacks against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão. "The five men will participate in a hearing to explain why they joined Alfredo," said PGR Monteiro on Wednesday (27/2) in Laulara. (DN)

Guterres: ICCI gives no importance to the states' initiatives -The Acting President of the National Parliament (NP), Vicente Guterres, said that he does not agree with the idea to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI), as proposed by Fretilin, to investigate the attacks against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão. "Let them (FBI and AFP) do their work. When the results are presented by the FBI, we may consider the need to establish an IICI or not … it's conditional," said Mr Guterres. ((DN)

Paixão guarantees Salsinha/Susar surrender - The Operational Commander of F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão, has guaranteed that Gastão Salsinha will surrender. "If Salsinha and Susar want to submit themselves to the Church, they can do so as the Church also has a moral responsibility to solve the problems," said Commander Paixão on Wednesday (27/2) in the Memorial Hall, Dili. (DN)

Xanana, TMR and Bishop Ricardo discuss Salsinha's case - PM Xanana Gusmão, the F-FDTL Commander Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, and Bishop Ricardo conducted a secret meeting to discuss Salsinha and his group's case. The meeting was held in the residence of Bishop Ricardo on Wednesday (27/2) in Lecidere, Dili. (TP)
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 27 February 2008

TVTL News Coverage

MPs insist on IICI - Members’ of Parliament from Fretilin, PSD, PD and CNRT are demanding that the National Parliament establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI) to investigate the assassination attempts on the lives of PR José Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão. They have also asked that the United Nations be involved in this. “An IICI is needed to find out the truth,” said PSD member of NP Mario V. Carrascalão.

Alfredo’s man surrenders in Maubisse -The Special Representative of the Secretary-General Atul Khare said that one of the members of the armed group who attacked the residence of PR Ramos-Horta voluntarily surrendered himself to the United Nations Police (UNPol) in Maubisse, Ainaro district on Monday (25/2). “I personally received the information this morning that one of the men voluntarily submitted himself. His name was listed in the arrest warrants for the previous case,” said SRSG Khare.

Govt busy with extra petitioners -The Government has been trying to cope with increasing numbers of petitioners gathered in Aitarak Lara. The Government has built an extra eight tents for the petitioners who had been camping on the veranda. The petitioners have increased to more than three hundred. During the last three days, F-FDTL assisted the petitioners by providing tents and preparing extra space for them.

Alfredo’s case put to rest - The President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes, said that while the case of Alfredo was no longer active given his death, his followers are still subject to justice. “The cases of Alfredo and those who have died have been put to rest. But those who are still alive, their cases are still being processed,” said Mr Ximenes.

RTL News Coverage

PSD agrees to establish IICI - The Member of Parliament from PSD, Mario Viegas Carrascalão, said that he agrees with the idea to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI) to investigate the attacks against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão. “It needs a neutral international body, not Timorese, to investigate the case in order to discover the truth. We all should accept and respect the results of the investigation when it comes out,” said Mr Carrascalão.

Print Coverage

UN responsible for February 11 -The MP from Kota, Manuel Tilman, has asked the UN to take responsibility for the events of February 11. “The security of the state and the Prime Minister falls under the responsibility of the UN. The UN should be responsible for establishing an International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI),” said Mr. Tilman on Tuesday (26/2) in the National Parliament, Dili. Separately, an MP from PSD, Mario Viegas Carrascalão, suggested that the nations involved in an IICI should exclude the nations whose forces are currently in Timor-Leste. (DN)

Coordination needed to arrest Salshinha -The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, said that the plan to arrest Salsinha and his group requires good cooperation between all security forces in order to avoid unwanted problems during the arrest. “Good coordination would make the operation stronger and more effective and would avoid other problems,” said SRSG Khare during the UNMIT press conference held on Monday (25/2) in UNMIT HQ Obrigado Barrack Caicoli, Dili. (DN)

IDPS need to return home - The State Secretary for Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto, has said that IDPs at the National Hospital Guido Valadares (HNGV) camp need to return to their homes or Bairos [suburbs]. “I think the IDPs at HNGV camp need to return home. This is necessary because they said they want to go home and live like others in their Bairos,” said Mr Rigoberto. Mr. Rigoberto also said that he would help IDPs return home by coordinating with community leaders. (DN)

ETCRN: UNMIT responsible for February 11 - The East Timor Crisis Reflection Network (ETCRN) is asking the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) to take responsibility for the attacks against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão. The Coordinator of ETCRN, José Caetano, said that the people of Timor-Leste are waiting for an explanation from UNMIT, the International Stabilization Forces (ISF) and the Government of Timor-Leste about the events of February 11 as the security of Timor-Leste was the responsibility of the United Nations Police (UNPol) and the ISF. “We know that the events of February 11 are not only UNMIT’s fault, but UNMIT does bear responsibility for security in Timor-Leste based on Resolution 1704/2006,” said Mr. Caetano in an ETCRN press release. “In relation to the specific crimes, I do agree with SRSG Atul Khare that the events of February 11 are the responsibility of Alfredo. However, in relation to security issues, UNMIT bears ultimate responsibility. The UN has to show its maturity in the current situation and reflect on its mandate which is to contribute to, and maintain, security in the country,” said Chiquito da Costa Guterres, one of the ETCRN members. (DN)

PSD asks for ‘State of Emergency’ rather than ‘State of Siege’ - The Chief of PSD in the NP, Fernando Dias Gusmão is asking the Government to shorten the ‘State of Siege’ to a ‘State of Emergency’, arguing that the reality shows that a ‘State of Siege’ is no longer needed. “The ‘State of Siege’ was implemented when all the State institution were not functioning. However, the reality shows that all institutions are functioning well, so now, we only need the ‘State of Emergency,” said Mr. Gusmão. Mr. Gusmão also suggested that before March 20, the Government and Acting President should shorten the ‘State of Siege’, as 80% of Timorese are Christian and are about to start their religious activities in time for Easter. (DN)

No amnesty for terrorists - The parties of PUN, PSD and KOTA have protested against the statement of Acting President of NP, Vicente Guterres,that amnesty will be given to Salsinha and his group when they surrender. Mario Viegas Carrascalão of PSD said that people who intend to kill national leaders and destroy the sovereignty of a nation are considered terrorists, and terrorists do not deserve to get amnesty. “I do not give amnesty to people who want to destroy and dissolve the independence of this nation,” said Mr. Carrascalão. Manuel Tilman from KOTA also said: “We cannot allow killers to be granted amnesty. No democratic nation would do this.” (DN)

Petitioners increase to 456 - As of yesterday afternoon, the numbers of petitioners had increased to 457 persons. According to a press release by the State Secretary of Security, the Government is now preparing health services, power, and water and sanitation in the petitioners gathering place in Aitarak Laran. The press release also stated that many petitioners had asked to be escorted to Dili by UNPol for security reasons. (DN)

Carrascalão: Joint Operation should arrest perpetrators -The PSD member of the National Parliament, Mario Viegas Carrascalão, said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is supposed to arrest the perpetrators of the February 11 attacks, not just go after Salsinha and his group. “Upon what basis it the operation aimed at solely arresting Salsinha and his group?” asked Mr. Carrascalão. “For me, it is important to arrest those directly involved in the attacks of February 11. It is not true a true operation if it is only conducted to arrest Salsinha and his group.” (STL)

11 of Alfredo’s men arrested -The F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation arrested eleven members of Alfredo’s group in Aituri Laran-Taibisse, Dili on Tuesday (26/2). The Spokesperson of F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Inspector Mateus Fernandes, said that eight persons out of the eleven were those who escaped with Alfredo from Becora prison in 2006. A hand grenade was also seized during the operation. The men are now detained in the detention centre of PNTL Dili District. (STL)
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East Timor finds weapons cache in hunt for rebels 27 Feb 2008 10:55:45 GMT (Reuters) - East Timor security forces have seized a cache of homemade weapons and detained a foreign citizen suspected of helping rebel soldiers involved in this month's attacks on the country's leaders, an official said on Wednesday. Rebel soldiers attacked the home of President Jose Ramos-Horta on Feb. 11, seriously wounding him during a gunfight.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who escaped unhurt in a separate attack the same morning, ordered the country's military and police forces to form a joint command to arrest followers of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who was killed in the attacks.

Filomeno Paixao, head of the Joint Command, said homemade weapons including a grenade, knives and arrows, as well as 500 military uniforms had been found in the house of a foreign citizen near Dili.

"We have brought the man to the investigation unit because he is believed to be helping rebels," Paixao said, without elaborating.

The official said an increasing number of rebel soldiers who had previously supported Reinado had given themselves up in order to have peace talks with authorities.

"The operation is going on in the whole of the territory but you see the sacked group, or petitioners, are coming down to Dili for talks," he said, adding that about 450 sacked soldiers had gathered in a camp in Dili. Arrest warrants have been issued against 17 people suspected of involvement in the attack, including Gastao Salsinha who took command of rebel soldiers after Reinado was killed during the attack on Ramos-Horta.

Slain rebel leader Reinado's lawyer, a 40-year-old woman with dual East Timorese and Australian citizenship, was also arrested in Dili last week in connection with the investigation.

Asia's youngest nation, under a state of emergency since the attacks, has been unable to achieve stability since hard-won independence in 2002.

The army tore apart along regional lines in 2006, when about 600 soldiers were sacked, triggering factional violence that killed 37 people and drove 150,000 from their homes.

Foreign troops were sent to restore order in the former Portuguese colony of about one million people, which gained full independence from Indonesia after a U.N.-sponsored vote in 1999 that was marred by violence.

The U.N. Security Council on Monday extended for another year the mandate for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in East Timor, saying the security and humanitarian situation in the country remained fragile. (Reporting by Tito Belo; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Jerry Norton) http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/JAK21580.htm
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 26 Feb 08

TVTL News Coverage

Joint Operation rejects exchange of fire - The Operational Commander of the Joint Operation of F-FDTL and PNTL, Lieutenant Filomeno Paixao, said that the Join Operation was conducted well with no exchange of fire between the F-FDTL/PNTL and Salsinha and his group. "The joint operation has started from Fatuahi to Raikotu in the Dili area. The operation is aimed at bringing Salsinha and his group to submit to justice alive, not dead." said Commander Paixao.

Lack of space as Petitioners' numbers increase - The numbers of the petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran, Dili has increased to more than three hundred. However, there is not enough space for all the additional petitioners. As a result, some of the petitioners are camping on the veranda of the building and some are living under the tents provided to them.

Events of February 11 reconstructed - The Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR) Longuinhos Monteiro said that events of February 11 have been reconstructed in an attempt to uncover more details of what happened. The Prosecutor-General said that the reconstruction shows that the incident was an organized act of Alfredo and his group.

RTL News Coverage

Man who attacked Horta surrenders - SRSG Khare said that one of the members of the armed group who attacked the residence of PR Ramos-Horta had voluntarily surrendered to the United Nations Police (UNPol) in Maubisse, Ainaro district on Monday (25/2). "I personally received the information this morning that one of the men had voluntarily submitted himself," said SRSG Khare. The SRSG said that the man's name was also listed in the arrest warrants. The General Prosecutor will investigate his involvement in the attacks of February 11.

Joint Operation rejects exchange of fire - The Operational Commander will use an alternative approach to bring the rebels to justice, even though the rebels' movements have been discovered in the western part of the country. The Operational Commander of the Joint Operation, Lieutenant Filomeno Paixao, said that the movement of Salsinha, Susar and others had been discovered, but the operation would not take any reckless action as the Joint Operation aimed at bringing Salsinha and his group to justice alive. However, he did warn that a physical confrontation would occur if the rebels did not submit themselves peacefully.

Print Coverage

UNMIT not responsible for 11 February incidents - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare said that UNMIT was not responsible for the attacks against PR Jose Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmao on Monday (11/2). "This is a sovereign and independent nation. As stated in its constitution, Article 115/1.c, the responsibility for the security of Timor-Leste belongs to Timor-Leste.  It is not a question that the international forces are here to provide the security or not. As this is a sovereign nation, the leaders should do something," said SRSG Khare in the UNMIT press conference on Monday (15/2) in UNMIT HQ, Dili. SRSG said that Alfredo and his men were responsible for the incidents of February 11. "UNPol in here to work together to maintain law and order, not pursue those who carry weapons," said SRSG Khare SRSG Khare also appealed to Salsinha and his group to submit themselves to justice. (STL)

SRSG: Alfredo responsible for 11 February - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare, said that the attacks against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmao were the responsibility of Alfredo Reinado. "Alfredo and his men must take responsibility for what happened on February 11, 2008," said SRSG Khare in the UNMIT press conference on Monday (15/2) in UNMIT HQ, Dili. SRSG Khare also said that further investigations were needed to uncover all the details of the attacks.  "When I came back from New York, I asked that an investigation be conducted to see what was happening and what errors had been made in February 11 and how these can be improved," said SRSG Khare. In answering a question as to why Alfredo was able to move freely without being detected by the ISF, SRSG Khare responded: "I think the question is better answered by the ISF. But I can respond. Some weeks ago, the PR himself met Alfredo. Discussions were also held between Alfredo and Minister Joao Goncalves and with other MPs.   I still remember when Alfredo came down and met PR Horta in Palacio das Cinzas in December. It is wrong to say that Alfredo had no license to move around. Alfredo was not forbidden to move around the country and he did so and met with the leaders of the country." (DN)

UNMIT mandate extended for one more year - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare, said that the mandate of UNMIT has been extended for one more year as proposed by the United Nations Secretary-General after meeting with the Security Council. The SRSG also said that in the Security Council meeting, members strongly supported the way the Government of Timor-Leste and the opposition had dealt with the situation. (DN)

UN believes Salsinha will submit himself -The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare believes that Gastao Salsinha and his group will submit themselves to justice. "I don't know whether Salsinha is going to submit himself or not, but I hope he does because the best way is submit to justice," said SRSG Khare on Monday (25/2) in the UNMIT press conference in UNMIT HQ Obrigado Barracks, Dili. SRSG Khare also talked about the member of Salsinha's group who surrendered himself to UNPol in Maubisse, Ainaro District. "The man will now be produced before the courts," said SRSG Khare in the UNMIT press conference on Monday (15/2) in UNMIT HQ, Dili. "I want to emphasize the statements of the Acting President Fernando Lasama de Araujo and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao that those who submit themselves to justice will be treated with dignity." (DN)

Man who attacked Horta surrenders himself - One of the members of the armed group who attacked the residence of PR Ramos-Horta surrendered himself to police in Maubisse sub-district, Ainaro district on Monday (25/2). The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare, said that the man was part of the group who attacked the residence of PR Ramos-Horta. "This morning I got a phone call from a man who was involved in the attack against the residence of PR Horta on February 11. The man has submitted himself to PNTL and UNPol in Maubisse," said SRSG Khare. "I was really happy to hear this and I immediately asked the UNPol and PNTL Commander to go straight away to meet him in Maubisse and bring him to Dili."  SRSG Khare has also appealed to Salsinha and his group to submit themselves to the State. "I appeal to Salsinha and his group to submit themselves and cooperate with justice as this is the best way to solve the problems," said SRSG Khare. SRSG Khare also said that if petitioners want to come to Dili, they can ask for escorts from the UNPol and PNTL. (TP)

UNMIT mandate extended to 2009 -The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare informed the Acting President Fernando 'Lasama' de Araujo that the Security Council has decided to extend the UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) as proposed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. SRSG Khare also said that the Security Council meeting, held on Thursday last week, went well and that SC members gave their support to the Timor-Leste Government, Parliament and the opposition party. (TP)
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NZ Govt announces extension of helicopter deployment in Timor Tue, 26 Feb 2008 12:59p.m - Defence Minister Phil Goff has welcomed a decision to extend the United Nations mission in East Timor for another year and announced an extension of the deployment of two New Zealand helicopters.

New Zealand currently has 25 police, 142 soldiers and two UN military liaison officers serving in an international stabilisation force.
For the past 10 months, the Defence Force has also provided two Iroquois helicopters and 32 associated staff.

Mr Goff said Cabinet yesterday decided the helicopters and crews, which have been used for medical evacuations and carrying freight, would remain in Timor until the end of October this year.

The announcement follows a UN Security Council decision last night to extend its peacekeeping mission for another year. The mission, called UNMIT, is authorised to deploy up to 1608 police and nearly three dozen military personnel.

The South African-drafted resolution, which was unanimously approved by the Security Council, reiterated its condemnation of the attempted assassination of East Timorese President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta two weeks ago.

The resolution of the 15-nation council also said that "the political, security, social, and humanitarian situation in Timor-Leste (East Timor) remains fragile" and urged all interested parties in the country to shun violence and pursue peaceful dialogue to resolve all disagreements.
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UN Tells East Timor Rebels to End Fight as Fugitive Surrenders By Michael Heath Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations told East Timorese soldiers to give up their rebellion after the surrender of a member of the militia of Alfredo Reinado, the rebel leader killed during the attempted assassination of President Jose Ramos-Horta.

The fugitive, who wasn't identified, was the subject of an investigation by a UN commission set up to probe violence almost two years ago, the world body said in a statement on its Web site. The remaining fugitive militiamen should give up their struggle, UN envoy Atul Khare said in the capital, Dili, yesterday, adding their rights would be protected.

Renegade soldiers shot Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and fired on Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's motorcade in coordinated attacks Feb. 11. The president, 58, who suffered bullet wounds to his chest, back and liver, was transported to an Australian hospital. Gusmao escaped unscathed.

Ramos-Horta, who was put into an induced coma when he arrived at the hospital in Darwin, regained consciousness last week.

East Timor, which lies on an island shared with Indonesia about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Australia, declared a state of emergency after the attacks. Under the decree, a nighttime curfew is in place and gatherings and rallies banned.

The announcement of the rebel's surrender came as the UN Security Council extended by a year the world body's mission to help stabilize the former Portuguese colony also known as Timor-Leste.

Australian-led peacekeepers and UN police were deployed to East Timor in May 2006 after fighting between security force factions killed 37 people and forced 155,000 others to flee.

100,000 Displaced

About 100,000 people remain displaced in East Timor, Jean- Marie Guehenno, head of UN peacekeeping operations, said last week.

Reinado's troops had refused to lay down their arms and retreated to a jungle hideout in the mountains. He had been on the run since escaping from prison with about 50 followers in August 2006.

East Timor must immediately address the grievances of the rebels and tackle the issue of internally displaced people to avoid renewed unrest, Guehenno told a Security Council debate.

More than 300 people have gathered in Dili for a government- led discussion on the situation in the country, Khare said, adding more are expected to come as UN and Timorese police are providing transport and security from the districts to the capital.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net .

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=ayNyJDlKBj3s&refer=australia
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U.N. council extends Timor peacekeeping mandate Mon 25 Feb 2008, 20:18 GMT UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Monday extended for another year the mandate for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in East Timor, saying the security and humanitarian situation in the country remained fragile.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in East Timor, called UNMIT, is authorized to deploy up to 1,608 police and nearly three dozen military personnel. The mandate, which was due to expire on Tuesday, has been extended until February 26, 2009.

The South African-drafted resolution, which was unanimously approved by the Security Council, reiterated its condemnation of the attempted assassination of East Timorese President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta two weeks ago.

The resolution of the 15-nation council also said that "the political, security, social, and humanitarian situation in Timor-Leste (East Timor) remains fragile" and urged all interested parties in the country to shun violence and pursue peaceful dialogue to resolve all disagreements.

The resolution also urged the government to continue working with UNMIT on a comprehensive review of the security sector in East Timor and its future security needs.

Ramos-Horta was shot and seriously wounded at his home in the capital Dili in an assassination attempt by rebel soldiers on February 11. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao escaped injury in another shooting on the same day.

The former Portuguese colony of almost 1 million people gained full independence in 2002 after a U.N.-sponsored vote in 1999, which was marred by violence, ended more than two decades of Indonesian occupation.

The Asia-Pacific country has been struggling to get back on its feet after the army tore apart along regional lines in 2006.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Bill Trott)
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Timor journo 'beaten' by police The Australian Michael Mckenna 26 February 2008 - A SENIOR staff member of the East Timor Post newspaper was allegedly beaten and arrested at the weekend in the latest of a series of incidents pointing to a crackdown on press freedom across the troubled country.

Less than a month after Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao threatened to arrest local journalists, claiming inaccurate reporting was contributing to national instability, East Timor Post senior layout editor Agustinho Ta Pasea was arrested on Saturday morning on his way to the Dili printing presses with a computer file of the paper's weekend edition.

Post editor Mouzinho De Araujo told The Australian Ta Pasea claims he was stopped at 2am, beaten by military police and then taken to a police station where he was assaulted again.

De Araujo said his staff member was held for 11 hours on grounds he had broken the 10pm-6am curfew in Dili, introduced during recent unrest: "He wasn't out there because of personal interests, but because of the national interests in trying to keep the people informed.

"Agus showed his identity card, explained he was taking the edition to be published and then these police punched him. He was later beaten at the police station by several men ... Maybe, it is because our newspaper has been tough on authorities."

Ta Pasea was released early on Saturday afternoon with cuts and bruises to his face. The edition of the newspaper was published later that day, instead of the usual time of 7am. De Araujo said he had lodged a formal complaint with police and the Government.

In January, Mr Gusmao said 2008 was a year of reform that would include the local media.
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Police arrest and beat Timor Post employee, obstruct foreign reporters Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières 25 February 2008 EAST TIMOR

Reporters Without Borders condemns the action of the police in arresting and beating a Timor Post journalist on the night of 22 February as he was travelling to the location in Kaikoli, near Dili, where his daily is printed in order to help prepare the next issue. He was freed the next day.

The staff of daily newspapers have had to take risks to bring out issues on time since an 8pm-to-6am curfew was imposed under a state or emergency that was declared after the attempted murders of President José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on 11 February. The emergency was extended for another 30 days on 22 February.

Reporter Rory Callinan of Time magazine and photographer John Wilson were detained and threatened by Australian members of an international peace-keeping force near Dili in mid-February when they tried to avoid a roadblock set up by the peace-keepers during a sweep for rebel soldiers.

According to their story, published in The Australian, they were eventually able to continue on their way but were arrested again for violating the curfew. Other reporters, including The Australian's correspondent, were blocked at a checkpoint by Australian soldiers.

The Australian photographer Lindsay Moller was meanwhile manhandled by two Portuguese peace-keepers and forced to delete the photos she had taken of an Australian woman of Timorese origin, Angelita Pires, who had been arrested on suspicion of supporting soldiers participating in the uprising.

Prime Minister Gusmao imposed the state of emergency in order to facilitate operations against the rebels. Gusmao was not hurt in the 11 February murder attempts but the president was serious injured. Three weeks before, on 18 January, Gusmao had threatened to arrest journalists who published "erroneous" information. He referred at the time to recent interviews with rebel leader Alfredo Reinado which, he said, had contributed to national instability.
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TLGOV: East Timor's New Tax System to be one of the Lowest in the World 25 February 2008  2:51 PM AEST - Gusmao's Government has approved plans to reform East Timor's tax system, making it one of the lowest in the world. Tax reform has been central to the governments' national development plan for 2008 and is expected to pass in parliament with bi partisan support after debate later this month.

The reforms, spearheaded by The Minister of Finance, Emilia Pires, are aimed at stimulating the economy, facilitating domestic and foreign investment, encouraging private sector growth and easing the burden on low income earners.

The proposed reforms would essentially remove all impediments to doing business imposed by the current tax system by strengthening processes and streamlining regulations within one consolidated law.

Direct taxes will combine the wage income tax and the income tax on non-wage income of both resident and non-residents to a flat rate of 10% while raising the monthly exemption threshold to $500 per citizen.

Import duties and sales tax will be lowered to 2.5% and service tax lowered to 5%. Excise tax will only be charged on goods with clear adverse implications for health or environment.

The tax regime will have a significant impact on the overall economy in the immediate, with an estimated 4 percent reduction in the price level faced by the average consumer and in time, it is expected all consumers will benefit from higher wages, increased employment activity and a mobilized economy ripe with business activity. Pires said, "Over the past five years our economy has become immobilized and stagnant. The AMP government has committed to making 2008 a year for reform and at the heart of these reforms is establishing a simple yet effective tax system which is business and consumer friendly'

'The most important aspect of this reform is implementing systems which are both efficient and easy to administer. If we expect growth, we must facilitate growth with feasible propositions for both the private and public sectors. Simplifying regulatory practice, streamlining and reducing taxes are practical solutions and a productive way to begin rebuilding the economy of Timor-Leste."

Pires has already successfully implemented some radical reforms to government financial systems and has been widely praised for her prudent and progressive economic management of the nations' coiffeurs. ENDS

For further information please contact: Ms Ines Almeida, mobile: +670 723 0032

SOURCE: Republica Democratica De Timor-Leste
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Daily Media Review 25 February 2008

RTL News Coverage

Lasama appeals for petitioners to remain calm - The Acting President of the Republic, Fernando 'Lasama' de Araujo, accompanied by Vice Prime Minister José Luis Guterres and Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare, appealed to the petitioners to be patient and to resolve their problems peacefully. Acting PR Lasama said that the increase of numbers of the petitioners to 300 shows the petitioners are optimistic and confident that their problems can be resolved. SRSG Atul Khare further appealed to the petitioners to fight for development and poverty reduction rather than divisionism.

'State of emergency' extended - The Acting President of the Republic, Fernando 'Lasama' de Araujo, announced that the 'State of Siege' has been extended from February 23 to March 23 2008. Acting PR Lasama said that the 'State of Siege' was extended as state institutions are still jeopardized.

Australian Govt gives vehicles to PNTL - The Australian Government, through its Embassy in Timor-Leste, is providing 40 cars to the PNTL in order to support the work of the national police. The Operational Commander of PNTL Mateus Fernandes said that the support will allow the PNTL to work under any conditions to provide security throughout the country. "The PNTL is facing many logistical problems due to the lack of vehicles. This assistance by the Government of Australia will help the institution to work more effectively," said Commander Fernandes.

Print Coverage

PM demands arrests - In a speech made by Prime Minsiter Xanana Gusmão during the F-FDTL and PNTL military parade on Friday (22/2) in Dili, the PM said that it was time to arrest people who wanted to destroy the nation's unity.  "I am asking all State institutions to support our forces by giving confidence to the F-FDTL and PNTL," said the Prime Minister. (DN)

'State of Siege' extended -The National Parliament officially approved on Friday (22/2) the extension of the 'State of Siege' for an additional period of thirty days. The curfew will be from 10pm to 6am every day from February 23 to March 23. The extension was proposed by the Government and authorized by the Acting President in consultation with the State Council and the Supreme Council of Defence and Security. Fretilin MPs David Dias Ximenes and Cipriana Pereira protested the extension, claming that the nation does not need to be in a 'State of Siege' as there has been no major public disturbance to warrant it.  The PUN member of NP, Fernanda Borges, also said that many people were unhappy with the first and second stages of the 'State of Emergency', and has asked that human rights be respected by the joint F-FDTL and PNTL operation . Prime Minister Gusmão defended the extension, arguing that the nation was still under threat from armed groups. (DN)

TMR: "We will look everywhere for Salsinha" - The Commander of the F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, has said that the Joint Operation will track down Salsinha and his group anywhere they are. Commander TMR said that even though the Joint Operation is ready to conduct the operation on Salsinha and his groups, he still hopes they will submit themselves to justice.  (DN)

Lasama asks petitioners to come together -The Acting President of the Republic, Fernando 'Lasama' de Araujo, has asked the petitioners to gather in Ai-Tarak Laran in order to resolve their problems in the quickest manner possible. "I hope they all come to join the others here. I get daily information about the numbers of petitioners which has increased from 100 to 300. I believe that they will all come together," said Acting PR Lasama on Saturday (23/2). (STL)

Horta: no one should take revenge - President José Ramos-Horta has sent a message to the people of Timor-Leste through Acting President Fernando 'Lasama', saying that he wished all people in the country to live in peace and avoid any acts of vengeance. The message of the President was reported by Acting President Lasama during his visit to Ai-Tarak Laran to meet with the petitioners on Friday (22/2). (STL)

OP/ED: IDPs ready to return home -IDPs wanting to return home are waiting for assurances by the current government that they will be secure if they do so. "We have lived in these tents for two years now and are tired of it. We want to know that we can be safe to return home." said Abílio Fernandes, one of the IDPs from Bairopite village. (STL)

TMR: Salsinha's group never wastes time - The Commander of the F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak has officially launched the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation to capture Salsinha and his group who attacked the residence of PR Ramos-Horta and ambushed PM Xanana on Monday (11/2). "Today I declare that the Joint Operation has begun and will pursue the rebels anywhere they are. Whoever hides or provides food or transport to Salsinha and his group will be included in this operation," said Commander TMT on Friday (22/2). (TP)
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JSMP: Cases of Domestic Violence Processed by the Formal Justice System at The Start of 2008

PRESS RELEASE
CASES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROCESSED BY THE FORMAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AT THE START OF 2008
8  February 2008

At the start of this year, namely on 15 and 16 January 2008, the Women’s Justice Unit of JSMP conducted monitoring at the Baucau District Court where separate decisions were issued in two cases of domestic violence. Each of these trials was heard by a single judge. The respective presiding judges were Judge Edite Palmira Dos Reis and Judge Ana Paula Fonseca. The prosecution was represented by Jose da Costa Ximenes and the defendants were represented by a private lawyer Gregorio de Lima in both cases.

Based on facts revealed during the trial of the first case, the defendant accused his wife of having an affair with another man. The affair angered the defendant who struck the victim twice on the mouth, nose and forehead. The victim suffered bleeding from the nose and trauma to the affected area and the victim was immediately taken to hospital.

The second case of domestic violence occurred because a goat belonging to the defendant and the victim entered into a neighbor’s garden. When the defendant saw this, he decided to tie up the goat, however the victim did not agree with the defendant’s decision and cut the rope tied to the goat.  The defendant was angered by the actions of the victim so he took a machete from the grasp of the victim and slashed the victim’s head.

The prosecutor charged the defendants under Articles of the Indonesian Penal Code.  The defendant in the first case was charged under Article 351.1, which states that maltreatment shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of two years and eight months or a maximum fine of three hundred rupiahs, and Article 356.1, which states the aforementioned punishment may be enhanced by one third if the defendant commits the crime against his lawful spouse, The defendant in the second case was also charged with Article 351.1.

The single judge presiding over the first case sentenced the defendant to 8 months jail. The judge applied a suspended sentence that was previously issued against the defendant in a trial held back in May 2007, whereby a sentence of 8 months jail had been suspended for one year and 6 months. In the written decision issued in May 2007 the judge stipulated that if the defendant repeated a similar act then a court would automatically apply the suspended sentence. In the previous case the defendant committed the same type of criminal act against his wife.

In the second case the judge sentenced the defendant to one year imprisonment and this sentence was suspended for two years.

The Women’s Justice Unit of JSMP believes that the sentences handed down in each of the aforementioned cases were appropriate, especially in the first case where the judge applied a suspended sentence against the defendant. Also, WJU believes that the appropriate articles of the law were applied in both of these cases.

The increasing number of domestic violence cases being processed by the courts and the use of suspended sentences may encourage more women to use the formal justice system.  Many women who experience domestic violence in marital relationships are reluctant to report it to the police, fearing that their husbands will be placed in prison, leaving them and their families without financial support.  Suspended sentences can alleviate this fear as such sentences place a good behaviour bond on perpetrators while allowing them to live in the community.  If the perpetrator breaches the bond, the court can then place them in prison, as in the above-described case.  It is positive that the court is implementing prison sentences in cases where suspended sentences are breached as this acts as a strong deterrent for perpetrators to commit further violence.  It also sends a strong message to the community that domestic violence is a crime.

While suspended sentences are appropriate in some cases, and represent a positive development, cases involving serious physical harm or other aggravating factors should still attract prison sentences, acting as a stronger deterrent to the community and sending the message to the community that domestic violence is a serious crime.

The Women’s Justice Unit of JSMP is hopeful that throughout the remainder of this year cases of violence against women processed by the formal justice system will continue to receive attention from judicial actors in all courts across Timor Leste.
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FRETILIN calls for support to military operation and urges peaceful surrender

FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE
FRETILIN MEDIA RELEASE Dili, 25.02.08 FRETILIN calls for support to military operation and urges peaceful surrender

FRETILIN today urged its supporters to give every assistance to the military operation underway to capture army mutineers suspected of having carried out the attacks in Dili on February 11.

At the same time, the party appealed to armed fugitives to surrender peacefully, in order to avoid further death and suffering.

FRETILIN President Francisco Guterres LuOlo and General Secretary Mari Alkatiri made the appeal at a press conference at the parliament in Dili.

Both speakers stressed that FRETILIN did not want to see the people of Timor-Leste undergo any further death or suffering during the extended State of Siege and military operation authorized by the government against groups involved in the attacks on the President of the Republic and the de facto Prime Minister.

“On behalf of FRETILIN and its parliamentary wing we appeal to all armed groups of fugitives led by Mr. Gastao Salsinha to voluntarily surrender themselves to the security forces,” party president LuOlo said. FRETILIN Secretary General Dr. Mari Alkatiri said: “We appeal to the people, including FRETILIN members and supporters to provide every assistance they can to the F- DTL/PNTL joint command operation to enable them to undertake their operations with success.”

Dr Alkatiri appealed “especially to Gastao Salsinha and his armed group not to resist the military operations being undertaken against them. It is better for you to surrender. You will only be able to contribute to the process of achieving the truth and justice if you remain alive.”

He added: “Our people have suffered enough, with many still living under tents and tarpaulins. Some are still suffering effects of injuries from violence and some have died. Our country does not need any more dead or wounded. For this reason, our party, who is accountable to the people, appeals to all armed groups to surrender themselves and their weapons, so that we can resolve this issue with justice and peace.”

Both LuOlo and Alkatiri vowed that FRETILIN would continue to work hard in the parliament to ensure that Timor-Leste does not experience any more unnecessary death or suffering during the State of Siege. “FRETILIN repeats its call made from the beginning of the crisis, that any persons providing assistance to the fugitive armed groups should cease doing so because it will only bring grief and suffering to them and their families,” added LuOlo.

Finally, FRETILIN appealed to all major institutions in Timor-Leste, including the Catholic Church, other religious organizations and NGOs to contribute to seeking a path that will enhance the welfare of all Timorese in this time of national crisis.

For Further Information call Nilva Gimaraes, Media Officer, FRETILIN Parliamentary Group +670 734 0389

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