Subject: East Timor Press Review Wednesday 5.6.2002

East Timor Press Review Wednesday 5.6.2002

The Timor Post ran a story quoting a FRETILIN member of Parliament, Manuel Sarmento, as saying that the President and Government of East Timor do not have the power to grant amnesties. Sarmento says that only Parliament has the power to do so.

In an editorial on the subject, the Timor Post says the draft amnesty bill to be presented by Minister of Justice Ana Pessoa to the Parliament is premature, and that the East Timorese people reject the amnesty concept because they want to see justice served against those who have committed crimes in East Timor.

The paper reports that the Government of the Australian state of Victoria is in favor of allowing 1,700 Timorese refugees to stay in Australia.

Suara Timor Loro Sae ran a story on ETDF Colonel Lere Anan Timor, who is quoted as saying that Timorese leaders must sit together and discuss any issue on which they disagree. He said there are many divergences in the country, but that this is normal in any society. The colonel added that there must be transparency from the government.

The paper reported that the President of the Christian Democratic Party, Antonio Ximenes, had said that the Government must look after former FALINTIL members because they have contributed to the nation. Ximenes praised the “good intentions” of the Minister of Internal Administration in calling for the recruitment of more former FALINTIL fighters into the ETPS or ETDF. He said his party fully supports the move and would like to see it realized soon.

The paper ran a story about President Gusmão meeting with leaders of the various political parties in order to evaluate the progress of the new nation. The parties included the PSD, PD, PNT, and UDC/PDC. The talks included a discussion on diplomatic candidates to be deployed to a number of overseas posts, and on the postponement of the presidential visit to Indonesia last month.

STL also reported extensively on a shooting incident, in which no one was injured, that took place last Thursday, 30 May, at the Kailoi village in Baucau district. The paper quotes a man, Salustino Freitas, whose house was reportedly targeted, and a former FALINTIL commander identified only as Liter. Both Freitas and Liter said they had received threats “from an organization” prior to the attack. Liter said that a few days before the incident, members of CPD-RDTL had raised the RDTL flag in the area. He had spoken with the CPD-RDTL members and suggested they take down the flag. “Perhaps they did not like my suggestion and thus threatened my life,” Liter said, adding that, “We cannot accuse the members of CPD-RDTL as we have no proof.”

STL reported that a 3 June letter written by Prosecutor General Longuinhos was read at the Ad Hoc Tribunal in Jakarta. The letter relayed Longuinhos's concern for the security of East Timorese witnesses. The Indonesian Prosecutor General is quoted as saying Longuinhos' concerns are exaggerated.

Aileu district administrator Maria Paixão told STL that she has allowed a group claiming to be former FALINTIL fighters to remain in Aileu as long as they do not interfere with local residents. However, Paixão says most of the group left the town last week heading in the direction of Turiskai.

During his meeting with various organizations in Baucau, Minister for Internal Affairs Rogerio Tiago Lobato reportedly heard complaints about the recruitment process for ETDF, ETPS and by CISPE. The paper reports that people have little faith in the recruitment procedures. It quoted the minister as saying “I would like you to know that your doubt is important and I will raise this issue with the Council of Ministers. But I would like to let you know that the recruitment process has been done according to UNTAET procedures.” The paper also reported that those present at the meeting raised the issue of employment and education for former FALINTIL fighters as well as for others involved in the clandestine movement.

Prepared by Ceu Brites

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