For Immediate Release
For More Information Contact:
Edio Saldanha Borges +670-728-4602
Court Decision in Defamation Suit by Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro SH
On 21January 2009 the Dili District Court ruled on the defamation case of Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro against the defendant Francisco Lui alias Aquileong. The court decision freed the defendant Francisco Lui of the charges. This means the complaint of the defendant Francisco Liu and his attorneys of 23 August 2005, and published on 25 August 2005 in the paper Diario Tempo titled “Three Prosecutors Engage in Corruption, Money US$8,600” was not proved to be an act of defamation against Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro.
To recall, at that time the defendant and his attorneys had lodged a complaint against Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro SH, Mr. Benevides Correia Barros SH, and Mr. Estaque S.P. Guterres SH for Mr. Longuinhos to return Aquileong’s money in accordance with the 6 November 2001 decision of the investigative judge and the decision of the Finance Minister on 7 September 2004. They also asked for a public apology to Aquileong via the media in Timor-Leste within one week.
Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro claimed that the publication of the complaint in the media was an act of defamation, and consequently requested the defendant to pay US$50,000 in damages (indemnity) in a civil case.
To conclude the court proceedings, the Dili District Court decided in the case that Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro was not a victim as a result of the news, his case was not proved. What Mr. Longuinhos felt he lost as a result of the news was not proved, and because of this the Court cleared Aquileong of the accusation by Mr. Longinhos Monteiro who claimed he defamed him.
This press release is to inform the public, including the organs of the State, of the court’s decision in relation to the case referred to above.
We hope that the media will publicize it so that the public will know.
Dili, 10 February 2009
Brief Chronology Of the Case of Longuinhos et al.
§ On 18 November 2004, at 21.15 (9:15 pm) at the residence of Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro (next to City Café), Mr. Longuinhos together with Mr. Benevides Barros (President of the Timor-Leste Attorneys’ Association), Mr. Estaquio Guterres (Prosecutor) and two members of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) forced Mr. Francisco Lui (alias Aquileong) to give the three of them 279,000,800 Indonesian Rupiah.
§ After this incident Aquileong, accompanied by his attorneys Mr. Silverio Pinto Baptista and Mr. Tome Jeronimo submitted a complaint to the Department of National Investigation (DIN) of the PNTL. At that time the Chief of DIN, Mr. Marcos took the complaint and indeed registered it as a criminal case with the Prosecutor’s office as complaint No. 174.
§ When Aquileong and his attorneys went to the Prosecutor’s office inquire about the case, several visits over time, they were finally told that the documentation for case No. 174 was lost, demonstrating abuse of power in relation to the lost documentation on the case.
§ Because the criminal case was not proceeding, Aquileong decided to bring a civil case against Mr. Longuinhos et al. The Civil Suit began by delivering a summons to Mr. Longuinhos et al. on 23 August, requesting their presence at a meeting to resolve the problem. However, Mr. Longuinhos et al. did not attend the meeting.
§ On 25 August, the newspaper DIARIO TEMPO published a story about the case titled “Three Prosecutors Engage in Corruption, Money US$8,600”.
§ Based on the news story in DIARIO TEMPO, Mr. Longuinhos accused Aquileong and his attorneys of criminal defamation in the Dili District Court. Because Mr. Longuinhos, the alleged victim in the case, is the Prosecutor-General, the Dili District Court is not able to prosecute the case. The Dili District Court petitioned the Appeals Court to hear the case. Until now, the case registered as No. 107/05 is held up in the Appeals Court.
§ Beside the criminal case, Mr. Longuinhos also filed a civil suit accusing Aquileong of defamation with the case file No. 82/Civil/2005/Tribunal Distrital Dili.
§ In the civil case referred to above (Case No. 82/Civil/2005/Tribunal Distrital Dili) the court held its first hearing on 11 July 2008 and concluded its proceedings on 21 January 2009, with a decision that:
1. Freed Mr. Aquileong from accusations of defamation, because the allegation by Mr. Longuinhos was not proved. This means that the story in DIARIO TEMPO was not proved to be defamation, but indeed reality.
2. Mr. Longuinhos must pay the court costs which total 10% of the value demanded (US$50,000) or US$5000.