14 July 2009

Pires told lover to 'kill two dogs', Prosecution alleges

July 13, 2009 - 6:24PM - Australian woman Angelita Pires told East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado to go to Dili to "kill two dogs" the day before the 2008 assassination attempts on the country's top two political leaders, a court has been told.

Pires, a dual citizen of Australian and East Timor, is facing trial with 27 others allegedly involved in the February 11, 2008 attacks on President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

Pires, 43, was then the lover of Reinado, who was shot dead in an ambush that left Ramos Horta critically wounded.

Tight security surrounded the Dili District Court on Monday for the beginning of the trial, as prosecutors detailed the allegations against Pires and her co-accused.

On February 10, Pires told Reinado: "You are going there (to Dili) to kill two dogs," prosecutors said.

In the days leading up to the attack Pires also told an unidentified person that "something" was going to happen in Dili, they alleged.

The month before the attacks, Pires travelled to Australia to raise money for Reinado's group, the court heard.

"Angelita went to Australia to try to find money to support Reinado," a prosecution document, read out by court staff, said.

"It's not true she was there to take part in a scholarship."

Pires provided Reinado's group with food, cigarettes and medicine, the court heard.

Prosecutors also alleged that during 2007 Pires repeatedly convinced Reinado not to attend peace talks with Ramos Horta and top military leaders.

Dressed in traditional Timorese clothes with no shoes, Pires, who maintains her innocence, said she felt "strong".

"I am still fighting for justice," she said as she walked inside.

"I still fight for Alfredo Reinado, I cannot blame him."

The defendants and their legal teams packed into the small courtroom while family of the accused and journalists crammed into another room to watch via video link.

The court dismissed a move by prosecutors to prevent Pires's Australian legal team taking part in the trial.

The trial, before a panel of three judges, continues on Tuesday.


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