Subject: E Timorese student protesters released - but under conditions

East Timorese student protesters released - but under conditions

Dili, July 14, 2008: All the remaining students <asia-pacific-action.org/node/93> arrested for protesting against the Xanana Gusmao government's purchase of imported luxury Toyota Prado SUV's for MPs have now been released. On July 13, 21 students were released and on July 14, the courts also released the remaining 31 students who had been detained for 72 hours at the Caicoli Detention Center in Dili.

The students were also protesting allegedly nepotism in the awarding of rice purchasing <radioaustralia.net.au/programguide/stories/200807/s2297351.htm> contracts and the government's decision to raid the Petroleum Fund for its <radioaustralia.net.au/programguide/stories/200807/s2290774.htm> controversial budget.

The court decided the 52 Students had contravened Article 150 of the Penal Code that was inherited from the period of Indonesian occupation. The judge found that the students had violated Regulation I/2006 which prohibits demonstrations with the distance of 100 metres from any government building.

All the students have been released one condition that they will not be involved "any more with the crime". If any of these student commit any "crime" in the future, they will will be taken into preventative detention (Prisaun Preventiva).

Students, human rights activists and lawyers are preparing a petition to the President of Apeal Court to ask him to review these laws - the regulation against demonstrating near government buildings and the continuing Indonesian Penal Code - because those laws and regulations go against the Timor Leste constitution's guarantee of the freedom to demonstrate and freedom of expression and media.

Source: Tomas Freitas, Luta Hamutuk


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