20 November 2009

ANGELITA PIRES DEFENSE TEAM'S ARGUEMENTS FOR ATTOPSY PHOTOS RELATED TO 11TH FEB 2008 CASE

In light of Criminal Law, "investigation" means collecting evidence to clarify the crime occurred, demonstrating the existence or not (matter) of such crime and indicating to who committed this crime (authorship and participation), in addition to other relevant factors.

We must note that, here in East Timor, like Portugal, the members of the Public Ministry (Prosecutors) have a role in all acts of the investigation and they must ensure that they have all the evidence necessary to prove the existence of the crime, the identification of agents of the crime and demarcation of responsibilities. However, beyond that, considering also that the Public Ministry (Prosecution), further to being the one that makes the charges (accusations) based on the investigation which it (the Prosecution) leads, it is also the institution which, through its members, the Prosecutors, appear as a spokesperson for issues of social interests.

Thus, when the Prosecutor, presents to the Court, what is considered to be illegal in penal action and calls for a punishment , he does this in the name of the society offended.

Because it is so, the Prosecutor must act with legality, trying to meet and observe what the law says, never obstructing the realization of the right of others.

Case No 79/C.Ord/TDD/2009, where Angelita Pires, Sussar, Gastao Salinha and 24 other defendants in the 11 February Case, who were charged with conspiracy, murder and damage, in addition to other charges, it should be noted that since the investigation phase, the rights of these defendants have been violated and curtailed. They and their Lawyers did not access to the file when the law does not prohibit this right, except to the general public.

Furthermore, important evidence such as photographs and videos taken during the autopsy of Major Alfredo Reinado and Leopoldino Exposed were not properly joined in the investigation file by the Prosecution, when it should have been so. The reason is simple: through the photos, you can clearly see the marks of gunpowder, the severity of the injuries, the type of weapons used to kill Major Alfredo Reinado and Leopoldino Exposto, including other forensic characteristics that undoubtedly proves that both of these Major Alfredo and Leopoldino Exposto were not shot at a distance of 40 meters, during cross fire, as the security guards who worked at the home of President Jos? Ramos Horta have tried to lead us and the Court to believe. On the contrary, the photographs show that both Major Alfredo and Leopoldino were killed a short distance of no more than 3 or 4 meters. Therefore we can conclude that they were executed.

The Defense of Angelita Pires, knowing the importance of this evidence, asked the Court to determine the Public Ministry (Prosecutor) to join the photographs taken during the autopsy into the Process so that a Team of Forensic Cientist could analiuze the manner in which Reinado and Exposto died. The Prosecutor, Felismino Garcia Cardoso, in turn, responded to the request made by the AP?s Defense claiming the following:

"At no time was reported to Public Ministry (Prosecution) that during implementation of the autopsies, the medical team composed and led by physicians Drs Nurul and Rosa Pent?n, photographed these acts. Moreover, at no given time, the Public Ministry was aware of that the photos were taken at the time of the autopsies, and furthermore the Prosecution has never receiceived any such photographs.?

While saying this, note that the very Prosecutor, Felismino Garcia Cardoso, who headed the investigation and represents the Public Ministry (Prosecution) in the 11th February 2008 Case that is being heard in the Dili District Court, appears posing and smiling in some of the photographs gathered by AP?s Defense Team.

The Defense of Angelita Pires, contrary to what the Prosecutor stated in writing in the process, proved to the Court that such photos exist and proved that the Public Ministry did have knowledge of the existence of these photos, because the Prosecutor Felismino Garcia Cardoso, was with the team during the act and that important evidence has been withheld from the Court and Defense of the accused with the objective to obstructing and impeding the for truth and justice.

As noted, the photographs can prove that Major Alfredo Reinado and Leopoldino Exposto were executed at close range. If this is the case, it is clear that there was never any attempt on the life of the President or on the life of the Prime Minister. Instead, it was evident, however, that an ambush was prepared to kill Major Alfredo Reinado.

Based on this, the Prosecutor cannot argue, for example, that Angelita Pires was the one who planned and directed attacks against the Head of Government and against the Head of State. Similarly, there is no liability in relation to other defendants who, since 2008, have been unjustly accused and imprisoned.

It is for this reason that the Defense of Angelita Pires asked the Court to join the 9 photos that they found into the 11 February Process. It is known, however, that more than 200 were taken by the referred medical team.

The request for these photos has is supported and established in the Articles 133, paragraph 1, 241 ?, 114 and 252, all of the Criminal Procedure Code.

This points to another serious mistake: Many of the tests made by the Public Ministry (Prosecution) need to be redone. This is the case of ballistic examination. A properly trained team would have the capacity necessary to demonstrate the important issues and questions in relation to the deaths of Major Alfredo Reinado and Leopoldino Exposto, giving exact distances, type of weapons used, trajectories and other factors of great relevance to the discovery of the truth. A truth is that unfortunately, the Prosecution does not appear to be concerned with finding. Similarly, inspection of the scene should be performed.

The Defense is permitted to make these requests/applications to the Court because the law, namely the Code of Criminal Procedure, under the provisions of Article 60, paragraph 'h' Article 116, paragraph 1 and letter 'e', Article 151, paragraph 2, point 'a' and 'b'. In accordance with our adversarial principle the Defense has the right be present and to monitor the implementation of these tests.

However, members of the Public Ministry (Prosecution) are recognized as "those who are responsible and expected to protect and ensure the rights of all citizens," and most certainly, without reservation, the Prosecutor Felismino Garcia Cardoso?s speech is a further acknowledgment of this. However, when they (Prosecution) fail to ensure the implementation of the law when they do not observe individual rights, requesting the arrest of people that they (Prosecution) know to be innocent, and when they try to hide evidence of which, they know, are strong enough to absolve those who once have being wrongly accused; the Public Ministry (Prosecution) acts with total disloyalty, without dignity and legal credibility. The Prosecution has acted in disrespect and violation of the law, in dishonesty to the Process/Case and without the required ethical and moral sense granted to Jurists.

Angelita Pires? Defense is highlighting and insisting that it is merely asking to seek effective realization of justice. We are seeking the truth and to enforce the Law in accordance with the procedural, constitutional and fundamental rights. Will the Public Ministry and Felismino Garcia Cardoso continue to oppose these fundamental and democratic rights of the citizens of Timor Leste?
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