Subject: AFP: Reinado's lawyer denies Indonesia asylum bid

Agence France Presse

June 2, 2007

Reinado's lawyer denies Indonesia asylum bid

DILI, June 2 2007

The lawyer of fugitive East Timor rebel Major Alfredo Reinado denied reports Saturday that his client has flown to Indonesia to seek asylum.

But Benevides Correia said he had not had any contact with his client since Sunday.

"I can say that the rumours saying that Reinado sought political asylum are untrue," Correia told AFP of the report in the Voice of East Timor newspaper.

"He disappeared since his appearance on Metro TV. I haven't had contact with him since then. We usually made daily contact," he said.

Reinado appeared on television Sunday, raising questions about his location.

Reinado, who commands support from frustrated groups from East Timor's west, had earlier indicated he was ready to lay down his weapons and give himself up.

He has been on the run since Australian-led troops attacked his mountain hideout in March, killing five of his armed supporters in a failed offensive.

The fugitive has previously been blamed in part for last year's unrest, after he and others led 600 soldiers to desert the army over claims of discrimination.

The soldiers were sacked by the then prime minister, sparking firefights between factions of the military that degenerated into gang violence.

At least 37 people were killed, another 150,000 displaced and Australian-led international peacekeepers were dispatched to restore security.

The government approved the manhunt in February after Reinado attacked several border police outposts and fled with dozens of weapons.

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