Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review - 24 April 2008 


(International news reports and extracts from national media. UNMIT does not vouch for the accuracy of these reports)

Ed: the State of Siege, only for Ermera district – Suara Timor Lorosa'e

How sad for those who are living in Ermera district. They have to endure the consequences of Salsinha's rebel group for one more month (22 April-22 May 2008) by living under a State of Siege, while other districts resume back to a normal state.

Sometimes, the State just takes outrageous decision, but what can we do? They have all the power.

The worst thing is that if Salsinha does not surrender in one month, then the people of Ermera will be living and dying under a State of Siege.

Why has the Joint Operation Command not taken any alternative action to arrest Salsinha?

It is better not to implement a State of Siege just because of one Salsinha. To arrest Salsinha, the State may deploy all the army forces the country to arrest Salsinha.

Why should Salsinha become the indicator for the State to prevent people's movement? This might be wrong.

Bishop Ricardo: Horta's heart, full of love – Suara Timorr Lorosa'e

The Bishop of Dili Diocese Mgr. Alberto Ricardo said that PR José Ramos-Horta's heart used to be full of love. "PR Ramos-Horta has expressed his love in his speech in the National Parliament," said Bishop Ricardo on Wednesday (23/4) after participating in PR Horta's national speech to the National Parliament in Dili.

Commenting about the indulgence given by the President to Rogerio Lobato, Bishop Ricardo said that it is the competence of the President as consecrated by the nation's constitution.

Indonesia: does not give asylum to rebels – Suara Timor Lorosa'e

The Vice Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, José Luis Guterres has said that he does not believe Indonesia will grant political asylum to the rebels who were involved in the attempts against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão on February 11.

"I think no, because Indonesia has arrested three people. This shows that we have a good neighbor who sees that peace and national stability are important for Timor-Leste," said Mr. Guterres on Wednesday (23/4).

Separately, the National Parliament said that the three people do not deserve to get political asylum as they are fugitives from justice.

"They are criminals who flee and hide in Indonesia. They do not deserve to get political asylum. It depends on the Indonesian Government," said MP Vital dos Santos.

According to the information between the Indonesian and Timor-Leste Government, Indonesia continues to cooperate with Timor-Leste as stated by Indonesian President Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

PR Horta to pardon Rogerio; Fretilin's happy, MP sad –“ Timor Post

In a statement made to the National Parliament on Wednesday (23/4), President Ramos-Horta said on 20 May he will pardon 80 prisoners, including former Minister of Interior Rogerio Tiago Lobato who was imprisoned for his part in the weapons distribution of 2006.

PR Horta said that the pardon he is going to give is based upon the prerogative rights he has and the recommendations from Ministry of Justice. "I went to Becora prison many times. On 20 May I will pardon 80 prisoners, including former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato," said PR Horta on speech in the National Parliament.

PR Horta said that the reasons for pardoning Rogerio Lobato were that Rogerio had shown a good attitude and had collaborated with the justice system. The President is also pardoning Lobato as he is the only one surviving member of his family- all who were killed defending the nation.

PR Horta: asks Alkatiri to form his cabinet – Timor Post

PR Ramos-Horta has asked the Secretary-General of Fretilin Mari Alkatiri to form his cabinet to contribute to the development of the country. "I especially ask the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, his companions and friends for many years to form a support cabinet of development to contribute to the development of the nation. If the suggestion is accepted, the former Prime Minister may present a clear proposal about the necessities of the cabinet," said the President during his long speech on Wednesday (23/4) in the National Parliament, Dili.

Mr Alkatiri said he felt proud of the recognition of President Horta, but he still needs to discuss the details with the President. "I am glad the President still recognizes my ability and I am ready to contribute to the nation. I will talk with the President of how the cabinet is going to be formed," said Mr. Alkatiri.

Ed: The State of Siege ended …!!! – Diario io Nacional

The National Parliament has approved to extend the State of Siege for one more month (22 April-22 May 2008) in the district of Ermera. The State of Siege is extended upon the reason that there are still illegal weapons carried throughout the country, including 13 riffles of Salsinha and his group. This policy can be considered as discrimination to the people of Ermera as all people in the other districts are living freely.

President to pardon prisoners – Diario Nacional

President José Ramos-Horta has announced that 80 prisoners will receive pardons for good behavior on May 20, the anniversary of Independence, and has named Rogerio Lobato as one of them.

"Some prisoners have received pardons from me, as recommended by the judicial justice system. I myself have visited and observed prisoners in Becora prison many times. So, at least 80 prisoners will receive pardons from me as the President on May 20, the anniversary of Independence and Lobato is one of them," said PR Ramos Horta on Wednesday (24/4) at the National Parliament.

Separately, the president of Fretilin party, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo said that his party will be happy if the President pardons Rogerio Lobato. However, PUN MP Fernanda Borges said that this is not the time to do so, as some rebels are still at large.

Malaysia: ready to train F-FDTL – Televisaun Timor-Leste

The State Secretary for Defence Julio Thomas Pinto said that The Government of Malaysia, through its Defence Department, has agreed to give military training to the Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL).

"I have met the Vice Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Defence of Malaysia, Dato Sri Najib Tun Rajak. We discussed defences issues of the two nations and Malaysia is committed to help Timor-Leste in its military development. On behalf of the Government of Timor-Leste, I give my gratitude to the Government of Malaysia for sending its military forces to Timor-Leste during the 2006 crisis and for providing scholarships providing military training to F-FDTL …," said Mr. Pinto via telephone on Wednesday (23/4).

Lao Hamutuk: petroleum funds utilized ineffectively – Radio Timor-Leste

The Program Manager of Lao Hamutuk Mericio Akara said that because the petroleum funds are not utilized effectively, they cannot give benefits to the people. Mr. Akara said that the fund should be managed in order to use the fund effectively.

"Minimally, we could guarantee that this will benefit the population. As we see now that there is no sign that the people will benefit from the petroleum fund which is not currently well managed. Our preoccupation is whether to use the fund or not. Is the accountable? Have we the capability to manage the money? Will we be able to minimize collusion, corruption and nepotism or not? These are our preoccupations," said Mr. Akara.

East Timor agitator to receive pardon- ABC News, 23 April

A former East Timor government minister jailed for inciting much of the civil unrest two years ago is to receive an official pardon.

The former interior minister, Rogerio Lobato, was jailed for seven years after helping to ferment the violence that rocked East Timor in 2006.

Last August the courts granted him permission to fly to Malaysia for heart surgery.

Despite last-minute legal wrangling by the new Government to stop him, Lobato flew out with his wife, children and other relatives.

He is yet to return to Dili.

Now, President Jose Ramos-Horta has announced 80 prisoners will receive pardons for good behaviour on May 20, the anniversary of independence, and Lobato is one of them.

A presidential spokesman says Lobato was due to have another heart operation today.

The President has declared Independence Day a day of forgiveness and clemency.

Rebels fled to Aust after attack: Ramos-Horta- ABC online, 23 April

The East Timorese President has alleged that soon after he was gunned down by armed rebels in early February, some people involved in the assassination attempt fled to Australia.

President Jose Ramos-Horta has given a lengthy speech in the National Parliament about the attack by armed rebels loyal to Alfredo Reinado.

He says inquiries by Australian Federal Police and East Timor's prosecutor-general have confirmed that foreign elements gave the rebel leader considerable support over more than a year, supplying money, uniforms, communications and other resources.

Dr Ramos-Horta said soon after the attack, some Timorese with Australian citizenship fled to Australia, while others fled to Indonesia.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman says he knows nothing of the claims, and any formal request from East Timor for Australian assistance could not be made public anyway.

East Timor's prosecutor-general is travelling to Jakarta today to bring home three Timorese men arrested last week on suspicion of involvement in the attacks.


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