Subject: Withhold Timor aid: rebel lover's family

Withhold Timor aid: rebel lover's family

May 12, 2008 - 6:31PM


The family of the lover of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has called on the Australian government to withhold aid to East Timor until she is "charged or exonerated".

Angelita Pires, 33, was the first person to be arrested over the February 11 attacks on President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

The dual Australian-East Timorese citizen has maintained she played no part in the rebel attacks, in which Reinado was killed.

But despite no charges being laid against Ms Pires, her brother Antonio Pires said she was still under investigation and unable to leave the country.

Mr Pires said his sister had been accused of "a myriad of things".

"They surely could select even one of them to charge her but they haven't," he said, adding that the federal government had a duty to protect its citizens.

"We ask the Australian and the Northern Territory governments to lodge an official complaint about the mistreatment of one of their citizens and to withhold all further aid payments and withdraw the Ambassador for Consultations until Angelita is either charged or exonerated," Mr Pires said in a joint statement with his mother, who lives in Darwin.

Mr Pires also called on the government to investigate further claims that $1 million was deposited in a Darwin bank account in the name of his sister.

He called the reports "unsubstantiated and wild accusations".

Mr Pires said his sister's bank accounts, computer, passport and mobile phones should be restored to her.

"Angelita is held only on suspicion that she had some influence and that's bizarre," he told AAP.

"She was in a relationship with Alfredo, that is true ... but that is not a crime.

"You can be in a relationship with a bank robber but that does not mean that you robbed the bank."

Mr Pires said his family sought an apology from Dr Ramos Horta and prosecutor general Longuinhos Monteiro "for their inappropriate defamation" of his sister.

Mr Monteiro had flagged possible conspiracy charges against Ms Pires, alleging she was with the slain rebel leader in the hours leading up to the president's shooting.

Dr Ramos Horta was critically wounded, while Mr Gusmao escaped unharmed.

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