Subject: Pires admits she was Reinado's lover, but didn't influence him
Pires admits she was Reinado's lover, but didn't influence him
Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin
April 2, 2008
TIMORESE-BORN Australian Angelita Pires admits she was the lover of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and says she understands why she has been accused of influencing him in the lead-up to last month's attacks in Dili.
But in her first public statement since wounded president Jose Ramos Horta last week publicly accused her of manipulating Reinado, Ms Pires claimed she had been made a scapegoat.
"I appreciate the President of the Republic and I understand his reaction," Ms Pires said. "He is a man who always fights for peace and equality because of this he did not deserve to suffer or to continue to suffer."
Mr Ramos Horta had described Reinado as an "unstable" person who was influenced and manipulated by several people including Ms Pires.
However, Ms Pires claimed in the statement obtained by The Age that she stopped providing legal advice to Reinado in December.
"But both of us had private relations there was no connection with his case," she said.
Ms Pires, who is under house detention in Dili while investigations into the attacks continue, called on Timorese to wait for the facts to be put before the courts before condemning her.
"I am innocent," she said. Ms Pires denied that she had influenced "Reinado or anyone else to destroy or kill anyone else".
She was detained only days after Reinado and his co-commander, Gastao Salsinha, led attacks on Mr Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao soon after dawn on February 11.
Mr Gusmao escaped unhurt. Mr Ramos Horta received two gunshot wounds and is recovering in a Darwin residence.
Ms Pires, who grew up in Darwin and returned to East Timor in the early 1990s, said her job before December was in part to co-ordinate Reinado's movements with security agencies .
She said she urged Reinado to be non-violent and submit to justice.
Reinado, an Australian-trained army officer, was wanted for multiple murder and armed rebellion when he was shot dead at Mr Ramos Horta's house on the morning of the attacks.
Ms Pires has told a judge when questioned last month that she was with Reinado the evening before the attacks.
"I have told everything I know to the investigation judge to help establish the truth," she said.
Some members of parliament in Dili believe that Reinado was lured to Mr Ramos Horta's house where gunmen were waiting to assassinate him.
Salsinha and a small group of rebels are still on the run in East Timor's mountains.