13 December 2011

Leading Law and Justice NGO opposes President Horta's statements regarding possible pardon for Samson

East Timor Legal News 13/12/2011 Source: Independente 12/12/2011 - The peak East Timorese civil society organisation, the  Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) Director Luis Oliveira Sampaio said that JSMP opposes the recent statement of President Jose Ramos Horta implying that it is possible to grant a pardon or amnesty to the Director of LABEH Christopher Henry Samson who has been convicted by the Dili District Court of fraudulently obtaining East Timorese citizenship.

The JSMP Director said thatwhile the President has absolute power to make a decision regarding pardons and amnesties for criminals, unfortunately the Parliament has not yet produceed an amnesty law and it is therefore important to respect the judicial process.

"I think this is a phenomenon which always appears. We think that even though President has power to push the Parliament to do so it is important for all of us to respect the judicial process," Sampaio said.

He also said that it is important for President Horta to be patient and wait for the final decision of the Appellate Court.

The Dili District Court recently decided to punish Christopher Henry Samson to three years and five months imprisonment because he was found guilty for falsifying his birth certificate in order to become a citizen of Timor-Leste.

There follows a report on the President's statement by TVTL
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President Horta: There is a possibility to give pardon to Samson Source: Televizaun Timor-Leste 12/12/2011 language source: Tetun - President Jose Ramos Horta said there is a possibility to give a pardon to the Director of LABEH, Christopher Henry Samson following his conviction and sentencing by the Court in Dili this week.

President Horta made the statements regarding the recent verdict of the Dili District Court to sentence Samson to three years and five months imprisonment.

"I will try to see this case carefully, because I used to give pardons to those people who tried to kill me, therefore it is possible to give him [Samson] a pardon for falsifying his documents," President Horta said.

President Horta added that, "It is possible, but it is important to see the final decision of the Appellate Court."

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Related story: Court sentences Samson to three and half years in prison
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