26 June 2009

East Timor Court blocks German paedophile suspect at airport

25 June 2009 AFP DILI EAST TIMOR - Police in East Timor intervened Thursday to prevent an elderly German man accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy from leaving on a flight to Bali following his arrest at the weekend.

Erich Steiner, 80, was stopped at Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport and escorted to the back seat of a waiting pickup by two female police officers, an AFP reporter witnessed.

He had earlier been seen visiting a travel agency in the Colmera neighbourhood of Dili, police said.

Steiner, who was initially arrested on Sunday, bought a ticket for Bali departing later Thursday, an agency employee said.

The German made it as far as the airport departure lounge while police waited for the court go-ahead to stop him leaving the country.

Steiner attended his first court hearing Tuesday and was ordered to report to Dili police once a week while the case is investigated, a court source said.

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