Subject: KY: Four men to go on trial in East Timor for 'witch' murder

Kyodo News Service Four men to go on trial in East Timor for 'witch' murder

DILI, East Timor, Sept. 12 Kyodo

Four men are due to go on trial Friday in U.N.-administered East Timor's fledgling court system for allegedly torturing and killing an elderly woman accused of witchcraft, a U.N. administration spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The case, which will be the first to come before the court established in Baucau, East Timor's second largest city, in late June involves the murder of a 62-year-old woman in the easternmost region of Los Palos in December last year, spokeswoman Barbara Reis told reporters.

'According to the prosecution, the woman was tortured and left for dead by four men after having been accused of killing children by witchcraft,' she said.

East Timor's legal system and infrastructure were destroyed in September last year when the Indonesian military and pro-Jakarta militias ransacked the former Portuguese colony in retribution for an overwhelming vote for independence after 24 years of Indonesian rule.

The U.N. transitional administration has been recruiting East Timorese judges, prosecutors, public defenders and court clerks, with U.S.-funded training assistance from the International Development Law Institute based in Italy.

Reis said there are currently four criminal cases being tried in the main court in Dili, the capital, which handed down its first ruling on Aug. 25 when an East Timorese judge sentenced a confessed murderer to 15 years in prison.

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