Subject: AFP: Timor rebel 'faces jail'

Also Lusa: Peacekeepers detain 12 after angry protest over officer's arrest

Timor rebel 'faces jail'

Agence France-Presse

From correspondents in Dili

July 28, 2006

EAST Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado faces at least five years in jail after being charged with multiple criminal offences including attempted murder, his lawyer said today.

Prosecutors yesterday charged Major Reinado with offences including attempted murder, embezzlement of military outfits and theft, his lawyer Benevidos Barros said.

"The punishment could be more than five years due to the multiple counts," Mr Barros told AFP without giving further details.

Australian-led international peacekeepers on Tuesday detained MajorReinado and 20 other individuals for possessing nine hand guns allegedly seized at their location.

Major Reinado led a rebel group of military police to Maubisse, south of Dili, amid an outbreak of violence in May.

The violence involved fighting between rival security force factions and ethnic gangs.

The unrest had its origins in the March sacking of about 600 soldiers, who had deserted their barracks complaining of discrimination.

East Timor's president Xanana Gusmao has defended Major Reinado in the past, saying that the rebel leader had taken his men into the mountains to avoid conflict.


East Timor: Peacekeepers detain 12 after angry protest over officer's arrest

Dili, July 28 (Lusa) - Portuguese police detained 12 people in the East Timorese capital Friday after illegal demonstrations protesting the arrest of a dissident army officer turned violent, the first street violence in strife-torn Dili in about two months.

Capt. Gonçalo Carvalho, commander of the Portuguese Republican National Guard (GNR) peacekeeping contingent, told Lusa 12 youths were detained after they began stoning a camp for people displaced in Dili's recent wave of fighting between security force factions and communal gangs.

The incident and similar rock throwing clashes followed unauthorized protests over the "preventive detention" Thursday of Maj.

Alfredo Reinado on charges of illegal weapons possession.

Prime Minister José Ramos Horta, just returned from an ASEAN Regional Form meeting in Malaysia, said the government and President Xanana Gusmão were set against unauthorized demonstrations and determined to apply a ban on the possession of arms by "civilians and irregular groups".

Magistrates ordered the preventive detention of Maj. Reinado and 14 followers after hearings Thursday.

During a routine patrol Tuesday, one day after the expiration of a two-month arms amnesty, GNR police discovered Reinado in possession of a cache of military weapons.

A judicial source, who asked to remain unidentified, told Lusa Reinado's hearing Thursday "ran badly", with the dissident officer insulting the magistrates who ordered his detention.

Australian peacekeepers at the hearing had to be reinforced to take the officer back to his cell, the source said.

Reinado and two other army officers broke with the Timorese army in early May after then-Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri ordered a bloody crackdown by troops against several hundred sacked soldiers protesting alleged regional discrimination in the 1,500-strong military.

Reinado's group later engaged in deadly firefights with loyalist troops around the capital, helping fuel a spiral of violence between rival security force factions and communal gangs that led to Dili's calling in international peacekeepers and to Alkatiri's resignation on June 26.

The Attorney General's office indicted former Interior Minister Rogério Lobato last month on charges of "conspiracy and attempted revolution" for allegedly arming political hit teams during Dili's wave of violence and has opened a related investigation into Alkatiri.

The weeks of violence left at least 37 dead and displaced nearly 150,000 people before the arrival in late May of the predominantly Australian peacekeeping force.


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