Subject: AU: East Timor rebel chief ready to face kill charges

Also AKI: I Will Not Meet Renegade Major Renaido, Says Prime Minister

The Australian

East Timor rebel chief ready to face kill charges

Mark Dodd

January 18, 2007

REBEL army major Alfredo Reinado is in negotiations to give himself up to face murder charges over the deaths of five people during a gun battle.

East Timor Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta said yesterday that Major Reinado had been "much more co-operative" in talks with the Prime Minister's office and other senior government and UN officials.

"He (Major Reinado) has stated he is willing to face the charges against him in regard to the killing that took place at Fatu Ahi in May," Dr Ramos Horta said. "Now we are in the last stages of dialogue with Mr Reinado for him to co-operate with justice. I hope his case can be resolved in the next few weeks."

Major Reinado, named by a UN commission of inquiry as a prime suspect in last year's deadly violence, had earlier claimed he was unfairly singled out for punishment.

The Australian-trained former head of military police is wanted over the deaths of five people in a skirmish with loyalist soldiers on May 23 on Dili's outskirts.

His escape from Dili's Becora jail on August 30 with 56 other inmates embarrassed the Australian-led military guarding the prison precinct.

Dr Ramos Horta said a court appearance by Major Reinado, along with two other trials involving members of East Timor's security forces and former interior minister Rogerio Lobato, would "send a good signal to society that no one is above the law". Mr Lobato, a key ally of former prime minister Mari Alkatiri, faces charges of arming a civilian hit squad to liquidate government opponents.

Dr Ramos Horta expressed disappointment over UN delays in the signing of a security agreement with Australia and East Timor. The memorandum ofunderstanding is necessary because of the Howard Government's refusal to allow Australian peacekeepers in East Timor to submit to UN command.

It covers rules of engagement, command responsibilities and operational guidelines.

In Canberra, the Department of Foreign Affairs refused to comment, saying negotiations were continuing and a signing was expected soon.

Dr Ramos Horta said the agreement should have been signed this week.

"I am at a loss to know what isholding the UN up," he said.

The UN attached the "highest importance" to the agreement and was making every effort to ensure its early signing, a UN spokeswoman said.



Dili, 18 Jan. (AKI) - East Timor prime minister Jose Ramos-Horta said that he will not meet renegade Major Alfredo Reinado Alves as he does not want the people to think that he protects a criminal. In a spot-interview with Adnkronos International (AKI) the Nobel peace prize laureate said that he will only shake hands with Reinado once the legal procedure against him are completed.

"For the moment I do not have any plans or time to meet with Alfredo Reinado. I let this case to be handled by the judicial process. Then we will see. I do not want my people to offend me and tell me that I am protecting a criminal," said Ramos-Horta.

Major Reinado abandoned the army on 4 May 2006 to join approximately 600 former soldiers who had been fired in March 2006 after complaining of ethnic discrimination over promotions.

The sacking sparked nationwide clashes in a crisis that left 37 people dead, forced 155,000 to flee their homes, brought down the government of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, and resulted in Australia-led peacekeeping troops being deployed to the tiny Southeast Asian nation.

Arrested for his role in the violence and accused in conjunction of the murder of five people, Reinado escaped from prison on 30 August.

Horta has repeatedly stated that he wants to solve the "Reinado issue" peacefully. In this regard, various meetings have already taken place. Reinado met Army Chief Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak for a 30-minute, closed door meeting on 21 December.

Also, reached on the phone by AKI, Reinado confirmed that he has met representatives of the United Nation Integrated Mission in East Timor [UNMIT], the National Parliament, the government and representatives of region III in Ermera, the district where he currently resides.

"The meetings were focused on finding a solution to the crisis that emerged in the country," Reinado told AKI. "What I really want and thirsty for is to search the truth and justice," he added.

Asking if he plans to meet with Horta, Major Reinado said that he really would like to.

"There was a plan for me to come down to Dili and meet our Prime Minister Horta a few days ago but, unfortunately, it did not happen as the prime minister has no time. So, I am still waiting for a signal from Horta's office," he said.


Jan-18-07 10:40

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