East Timor: Mass jailbreak in protest at legal system hold-ups

16-08-2002 12:13:00. Notícia nº 4007537 Lusa

East Timor: Mass jailbreak in protest at legal system hold-ups

About 190 inmates made a mass break out from a Dili prison Friday after rioting in which several people were injured and at least one prisoner received gunshot wounds.

The commander of the United Nations police force in Dili, Bill Quayde, described the situation as "particularly complicated".

Some who escaped from the Becora jail began negotiations with Timor`s minister of internal administration, Rogerio Lobato, and a number of prisoners agreed to return to prison.

Police in riot gear surrounded a school next to the prison, which holds 250 prisoners, where Lobato talked with the escapees. Journalists were prevented from entering the building.

One of those who broke out, identifying himself as Jacinto, told Lusa that the jailbreak was caused by discontent at severe backlogs in the processing of prisoners` cases. He himself had been detained on July 10, accused of causing a disturbance and told he would be presented to a judge within a month.

Rogerio Lobato told Lusa that he was considering replacing Timorese judges with international ones, as legal detention deadlines were not being adhered to. The minister added that he would be urgently reviewing the Timor`s legal system.

CJB/ASP -Lusa-

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