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24 March 2013

Prisoner Mausoko allowed to participate in government activities

ETLJB 24 March 2014 - Eight prison guards have escorted a notorious prisoner to take part in some government official's activities in the District of Likisa, according to a report in Independente on 19 March.

Independente reported that the National Director of the Prison Service and Social Reinsertation, Cosme Marcal Belo, as saying that the eight prison guards had escorted the prisoner, which the report identifies as Abilio Mausoko, under a legal mandate from the Court of Appeal.

But the Minister for Justice, Dionisio Babo-Soares, was also reported by Independente as saying that if the eight had escorted Mausoko to take part in an official government ceremony, then they would face sanctions.

Background - The Mausoko Case
Abilio Mausoko was a police officer who was put on trial in August 2007, along with four other defendants, for the attack on the residence of the then East Timor Defence Force chief, and now President, Taur Matan Ruak on 24 and 25 May 2006 at the height of the 2006 Crisis.

On 6 August 2007, the Dili District Court announced its final decision in the case. The Public Prosecutor accused Abilio "Mausoko" Mesquita of committing more than one criminal act, including extortion committed against the victim Elizario da Silva (owner of Uanagua shop). Associated entries in the indictment were classified as violations of Article 362 of the Indonesian Penal Code on theft and Article 55 of the Indonesian Penal Code, which proscribes being ‘a principal of a criminal act’. Other acts related to the attack on the residence of Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak were contended to breach UNTAET Regulation No. 5/2001 4.4.7, as the defendant “Mausoko” was carrying a gun, having the effect of causing panic and disturbing public order.

A further entry in the indictment against the first defendant, Abilio Mesquita, was classified under Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code, which deals with acts constituting a ‘crime against life’. The Panel of Judges, led by international judge Dra. Maria das Dores Gomes, acquitted the defendant on this charge on 6 August 2007 when the Court handed down its decsion, as it was not proven that he had committed or attempted murder.

The punishment handed down against this defendant was a conjunction of sentences for violating Article 362 of the Indonesian Penal Code on theft and UNTAET Regulation No 5/2001 4.4.7, resulting in a total accumulated sentence of four years imprisonment.

The sentence passed by the Panel of Judges appears to reflect a belief that the release of the defendant Mausoko would not be in accordance with the respect for life and dignity enshrined in the law. Mausoko was a police officer, and was supposed to provide a good example to the community – conversely, he caused disorder through the abuse of his authority. Additionally, the Panel felt that the defendant had not shown any regret for his actions.

The then Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak had submitted a letter requesting that all the defendants be released and granted clemency. The Panel of Judges, however, did not accept the request, noting it had no legal validity. The court ultimately decided to return this letter to its author.   Sources: Independente 19/032013. JSMP Press Release Abilio Mausoko Sentenced to Four Years Jail, Co-Defendants Sentenced to 1 Year 6 Months Jail JSMP Press release 13 August 2007 Edited by Warren L. Wright

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