Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 31 March 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Friday, 31 March 2006

Alkatiri: Soldiers petition still to be considered + Police arrest twenty people

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has said that even though F-FDTL Commander Taur Matan Ruak has taken the decision to expel the 591 soldiers from the F-FDTL, it does not mean that the matter is finished. He stated that the petition presented by the soldiers, and therefore the problem within the institution, is still an issue. Speaking outside the Government-Private Sector National Congress on Thursday, Alkatiri said that the government maintains its position in supporting Ruak's decision to expel the soldiers, while the State will contain to maintain its position that the decision was wrong and unjust. He clarified that even though the two positions are contradictory, efforts will be made to resolve the issues within the F-FDTL institution as presented in the petition. However the expelled soldiers will not have the opportunity again to be soldiers, as "we do not want the military institution to be treated lightly", emphasized Alkatiri. According to Alkatiri, in other countries the petitioners would not only be expelled from the Force, but would be taken to a military court to be tried. PNTL Commander Paulo de Fatima Martins has confirmed that police have arrested twenty people, including one petitioner, since Tuesday. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Martins explained that many of the people who had contributed to the destruction of houses have managed to escape. Among those who have been arrested, those for whom there is evidence of involvement will be taken to court, and those for whom there is no such evidence will be released. (TP, STL)

Horta rejects foreign media reports + MPs support Horta on Amnesty Law

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos Horta has reacted strongly to, and rejected, the news reports currently being aired in the international media regarding the Timor-Leste domestic situation. According to Horta, the reports from the Internews, Lusa, Antara, AFP and ABC news media are untrue, irresponsible, biased, bombastic and exaggerated. Speaking to reporters on Thursday after meeting with President Xanana, Horta said that he strongly rejects the news reports and particularly criticized Internews for the false reporting, especially in the context of the journalistic training that they, with financial support from the US Embassy, are currently providing to Timorese journalists. He advised Timorese journalists participating in the training to boycott, as "we Timorese are not stupid, and will not accept teaching from those who demonstrate such bad behaviour". He criticized Internews' teaching of "honest reporting" when it is they who are engaging in dishonest reporting on the current situation in Timor-Leste. Horta recommended that the Police Commissioner brief the media and the Foreign Ambassadors on the situation every day, so that this kind of false reporting does not occur. He expressed his irritation that the false reporting will be a disincentive for foreign investors to invest in Timor-Leste.

Parliamentarians have responded in favour of Ramos-Horta's request to the National Parliament to urgently prepare a law dealing with the matter of amnesty. Fretilin MP Francisco Branco and UDT MP Alexandre Corte-Real affirmed their opinion that the time has come to provide amnesty to imprisoned former militia members. Branco said that the as the government's reconciliation policy with Indonesia has already been established, it is now time to consider amnesty for the ex-militia who are themselves Timorese. He explained that the proposal for the amnesty law has been pending discussion in the parliament for close to three years already, and that it would now be up to the Parliament as a whole to discuss and weigh up the law, to ascertain whether it is in the national interest. Meanwhile, Member of Commission A Elizario Ferreira warned that the granting of amnesty to imprisoned ex-militia could incite a form of "social jealousy", and in particular criticisms from the victims and victims families. He said that when the proposal for the Amnesty Law was received by the Parliament several years ago, it was never possible to discuss it in depth because of the number of strong opinions either in support of or against the law. (TP, STL)

Portuguese GNR will give training to PNTL

The Vice Minister of Interior, Mr Alcino Barris said that GNR from Portugal will train PNTL. The equipment for training has arrived, Mr Bariis told reporters yesterday after attending the first formation ceremony of Process Penal code at the Police Academy in Comoro. "Everyone knows that we are facing many problems and the police has a responsibility to maintain security". The Minister of Interior of Timor-Leste has asked the Minister of Administration Interior of Portugal to send GNR to train PNTL so that the latter can build capacity to deal with problems especially related to UIR and Special Police at the border of Timor-Leste. (TP, STL)

RTTL News Headlines 29-03-2006

PNTL can guarantee security by Saturday

The National Police, PNTL, has pledged to guarantee security in the Capital Dili, RTTL reported. Speaking to journalists, PNTL General Commander, Paulo Fatima Martins reportedly vowed that by Saturday, the situation in Dili will return to normal. Martins also claimed that around twenty individuals have been detained in relation to some incidents that occurred around Dili, and that they were still searching for those enlisted by the Police.

Students sitting for their exams

Primary and Secondary School students throughout the country will soon sit for their exams for the second Trimester this year. Education Minister, Armindo Maia has reportedly appealed to the students to concentrate on their exams. Asked about the situation in Dili, Maia stated the Community should trust the Police to maintain law and order, but should any disturbances arise and affect the exams, there would be flexibility.

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