Subject: AU: Apology for a bashing of editor

The Australian

March 6, 2008 Thursday

Apology for a bashing

Bob Howarth

THE independent daily Timor Post newspaper has had two formal apologies from senior government officials over violence against one of its editors during Dili's emergency curfew.

The curfew was imposed after assassination attempts against President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. Horta is recovering from bullet wounds in a Darwin hospital.

Layout editor Agustinho Ta Pasea was arrested and beaten by military police at 2am on February 22 while on his way to the printing plant with the paper's weekend edition on a disc. Timor Post editor-in-chief Mouzy Lopez said Ta Pasea was taken to a local police station and punched several times again in the head. He was released without charge after 11 hours and the newspaper's edition ran late.

The newspaper reported details of the bashing and Lopez commented: ``This is something that should not happen in a democracy.''

The Secretary for Internal Security, Francisco Guterres, offered the first government apology for the bashing.

Then last weekend, during the Timor Post's eighth anniversary celebrations, the invited guests included State Secretary for Defence Julio Tomas, who told staff he was shocked by the beating of Ta Pasea.

Lopez said he and his staff welcomed the two official apologies because they showed the East Timorese Government was committed to democracy.

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