quinta-feira, novembro 30, 2006

Trial of ex-Timor minister postponed

The Age
November 30, 2006 - 1:14PM

The trial of East Timor's former interior minister for allegedly arming a political hit squad has been postponed after one of his co-accused failed to show up at a Dili court.

Prosecutors are pursuing Rogerio Lobato on a range of charges including conspiracy and arms offences. His co-accused - Eusebio Salsinha, Francisco Xavier and Marcos Piedade - also face weapons and conspiracy charges.

Piedade failed to attend court on Thursday, forcing the chief judge in the case to postpone the trial until January 9.

If Piedade fails to present to police with a good excuse within five days, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

Security was tight as the trial got underway, with United Nations police establishing a cordon around the court.

When the hearing was postponed, the cordon was lifted and up to 120 Lobato supporters swarmed around the court shouting "Viva Rogerio Lobato!" as he emerged.

Prosecutors earlier said they were confident of securing convictions against Lobato for allegedly arming a political hit squad as the tiny nation descended into violence earlier this year.

Lobato has previously claimed he was acting on the orders of then-prime minister Mari Alkatiri, who resigned in June after street battles in Dili killed dozens of people.

Alkatiri has been questioned several times over allegations that he authorised the arming of a hit squad tasked with eliminating his rivals. He vehemently denies involvement.

Among Lobato's supporters present on Thursday was Ali Alkatiri, the former prime minister's brother.

But Mari Alkatiri was not there. He is in Mozambique, after East Timor's chief prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro gave him permission to leave the country for medical treatment a fortnight ago.

He signed a written undertaking to return on December 2, although there is speculation he may not. He is listed as a secondary prosecution witness in the Lobato case.

Lobato was dismissed as interior minister in May.

Evidence was later presented in an Australian television documentary that he had distributed guns to civilians to kill the Fretilin government's opponents, with the support of Mari Alkatiri.

Since the violence broke out in April, about 50 people have died and thousands of people have been displaced and are living in refugee camps. There also have been systematic arson attacks.

Lobato has been under house arrest since mid-June.

Sources close to the case said star prosecution witnesses will include former defence minister Roque Rodrigues, who was sacked along with Lobato, armed forces chief Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak and police commissioner Paulo Martins.

The charges Lobato faces carry penalties ranging from 18 and 24 years.

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Todas as traduções de inglês para português (e também de francês para português) são feitas pela Margarida, que conhecemos recentemente, mas que desde sempre nos ajuda.

Obrigado pela solidariedade, Margarida!

Mensagem inicial - 16 de Maio de 2006

"Apesar de frágil, Timor-Leste é uma jovem democracia em que acreditamos. É o país que escolhemos para viver e trabalhar. Desde dia 28 de Abril muito se tem dito sobre a situação em Timor-Leste. Boatos, rumores, alertas, declarações de países estrangeiros, inocentes ou não, têm servido para transmitir um clima de conflito e insegurança que não corresponde ao que vivemos. Vamos tentar transmitir o que se passa aqui. Não o que ouvimos dizer... "

Malai Azul. Lives in East Timor/Dili, speaks Portuguese and English.
This is my blogchalk: Timor, Timor-Leste, East Timor, Dili, Portuguese, English, Malai Azul, politica, situação, Xanana, Ramos-Horta, Alkatiri, Conflito, Crise, ISF, GNR, UNPOL, UNMIT, ONU, UN.