18 August 2009

Media Release: FRETILIN urges Timor authorities to deal with arrested militia figure according to law

FRETILIN - Timor-Leste National Parliament

Dili, (17th August 2009)

Authorities must apply law notwithstanding diplomatic pressure on Suai miltia man

FRETILIN MP and former Minister in the FRETILIN government, Jose Teixeira, was supported by other FRETILIN MPs today in urging the National Police and the Attorney General (also known as the Prosecutor General) to apply the full wieght of Timor-Leste's law without fear in dealing with accused arrested miltia man Martenus Bere and not to be influenced in any way by the diplomatic pressure currently being exerted.

Martenus Bere, an Indonesian citizen who is accused of being a leading figure in the Laksaur militia in the Suai region, was arrested over the weekend in Suai after having come into Timor-Leste to attend a funeral.

"There are credible and serious allegations that Mr Bere committed multiple grave crimes in 1999, in the wake of the pro independence referendum result having been announced. FRETILIN MPs have been urged by residents and family of victims from Covalima (Suai) District to ensure that Mr Bere dealt with according to law. The community fears that he will simply be released back across the border due to insistence by Indonesian authorities for this to happen. This should not happen until the prosecutorial authorities and or the courts have had their say," Teixeira said.

He added: "According to information we obtained from a fellow MP from Suai, had the national Police not arrested Mr Bere when they did, then some members of the local cmmunity would likely have taken matters into their own hands and harmed, if not killed, Mr Bere. This is the extent of the notoriety of this man's past and the emotions he has engendered by his mere presence. We must at all cost avoid any further needless bloodshed in this already emotionally wounded community."

In his statement to parliament Mr Teixeira reiterated his party's commitment to ensure that the victims of crimes committed in the wake of the 1999 Independence Referendum, which marks its 10th anniversay on the 30th of this month, are afforded Justice according to International Law and the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

"That must start with authorities applying the law to its full extent and not to be influenced by diplomatic pressure. We will make sure we monitor the progress of this very improtant test case for justice in our country," he concluded.

For further information please do hesitate to call Jose Teixeira MP on +670 728 7080

Please refer below to some information published on the web about Mr Bere.

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