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18 December 2012

Former militia members sentenced by Dili District Court

ETLJB 18 December 2012 - On 11 December 2012, three former members of the notorious militia group known as Besi Merah Putih were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 6 to 16 years by the Dili District Court for serious crimes including crimes against humanity in 1999 in Ulmera village in Bazartete in Likisa District.

The accused known as Faustino Filipe de Carvalho was the village chief of Ulmera as well as the Milisi Besi Merah Putih Commander was found guilty of committing the crime of forcefully removing the civilian population from Ulmera Village to the Indonesian city of Kupang in West Timor as well as the crime of illegally detaining women and children. de Carvalho was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment.

The second accused, Miguel Soares, who was a member of the militia in the area around Besiten, was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment after being found guilty of being involved in the crime of murdering victim  Fransisco Bras.

The third defendant, Salvador de Jesus (Kasait BMP Commander), was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment after being found guilty of the murder of two victims, Felix Barreto and Francisco Bras.

In a press release from the Judicial System Monitoring Program on 17 December 2012 which reported the Court's findings, JSMP applauded the steps taken by the public prosecutor who requested the court apply  measures of temporary detention against the convicted persons while the appeal process is taking place, to avoid a repeat of the mishap whereby the convicted person Lavio was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment but which decision could not be enforced because the convicted person had absconded to Indonesia.

The judges who heard the case were Ana Paula Fonseca, Antonio Gomes and Antonio Quantes.  The public prosecution was represented by Jose Landim and the convicted persons were represented by public defender Jose da Silva.

Source: Judicial System Monitoring System Press Release 17 December 2012. Edited by Warren L. Wright BA LLB

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