Subject: Police in raids over E Timor shootings
Police in raids over E Timor shootings
Paul Toohey | July 19, 2008
THE Australian Federal Police has been conducting raids in Darwin and investigations into Australian-owned businesses in East Timor, in an attempt to flush out links to the February 11 attack on President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
Seven police officers led by federal agent David Burnicle raided a Darwin home on Tuesday afternoon looking for evidence that Teresa de Sousa had aided and abetted an attack on "an internationally protected person".
Ms de Sousa said she was shocked by the raid, in which numerous items -- including mobile phones, passports and papers -- were seized.
The 43-year-old, who grew up in Darwin but is mostly these days a resident of Dili, is a friend of Angelita Pires, the lover of Alfredo Reinado, who was shot dead inside the President's compound on the morning of February 11. Mr Ramos Horta has fully recovered after being shot twice by one of Reinado's band.
Ms de Sousa and her husband, Victor, visited Reinado with Ms Pires on the afternoon of February 10. Victor, also named as a person of interest in search-warrant documents, has since returned to his work in Dili.
It is thought that the AFP is looking for any evidence that might point to Australians giving financial support to Reinado.
Several weeks ago, the AFP raided a Darwin business, PJ's Customs Brokers & Darwin Forwarding. One of the owners of the freight group, Steve Sarev, also named as a person of interest in Ms de Sousa's warrant, said the police were chasing documentation about two people who had jumped on a pre-arranged charter flight put on by PJ's, from Dili to Darwin, the morning after Mr Ramos Horta was shot.
Those people were Ms de Sousa and Darwin-Dili businessman Danilo (Danny) de Lemos, also named as a person of interest on the warrant.
Ms de Sousa says she left Dili because her family expected there would be trouble after the shootings and insisted she leave.
Mr de Lemos is in Darwin and has not returned to Dili since February 12. He would not discuss the matter with The Weekend Australian.
Mr Sarev said: "These two people, they basically moved out of East Timor into Australia quite legally."
After pleas from Ms Pires published in The Weekend Australian last week, the Australian Attorney-General's office told her they would now "consider" assisting her with legal costs as she faced possible charges of crimes against the state and conspiracy to murder the President.
The AFP is not able to execute search warrants within East Timor but has other methods of obtaining information about Australian-owned companies.
It is understood the ANZ branch in Dili has been "gone through" in an attempt to find cash links to Reinado, but a source said nothing had been found. The AFP yesterday confirmed the Darwin raids but would not discuss Dili matters because they were "operational".
Ms Pires's brother, Antonio, said from Brisbane the issuing of the warrant was unjustified. "The warrants are, I think, intimidation tactics. On the one hand, they are not yet assisting an Australian citizen in Dili (Ms Pires), but they're harassing Australian citizens here."