30 October 2010
Horta defends pardon
Oct 23, 2010 Timor Leste defends pardon DILI - Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta on Saturday defended his decision to pardon rebels in the tiny nation following criticism by a UN envoy.
The UN special representative for Timor Leste, Ameerah Haq, raised concerns earlier this week about policing and the commuting of prison terms for some involved in unrest.
Ms Haq expressed her concern to Mr Ramos-Horta after he freed those jailed for attacks against him and the prime minister in February 2008 as well as soldiers convicted for killing eight police officers in 2006.
'I pardoned them based on humanitarian grounds. After assessing the circumstances that occurred in 2006, this young nation has many victims and they (those being pardoned) are also victims,' Mr Ramos-Horta said.
'It was not their wish to do such thing. They had protested and we had no chance for a solution at the time,' he said of the assassination attempt against him.
Mr Ramos-Horta said since he made the decision to pardon them, there had been peace and order in the country. 'Our constitution says that we have to consider circumstances, so we want to give justice to our specific situation,' he added. -- AFP