25 April 2010

Jurist MP Borges criticises President's intention to pardon rebels

MP Borges: President Horta should not use his prerogative power to cover truth Timor Post, April 16, 2010 language source: Tetun -  MP Fernanda Borges from the National Unity Party (PUN) has called on President Jose Ramos Horta no to use his prerogative power to give pardon to ex-rebel leader Gastão Salsinha and his men since judicial process for their case is still ongoing.

“We should not use law to wrap or hide the truth. It is true that the constitution guarantees the President to give pardon but the court has not make final decision on this case yet,” MP Borges said.

MP Borges stressed that President Horta can give pardon to Salsinha and his men after the Appellate Court make final decision on this case.

However, MP Natalino dos Santos from the National Congress for the Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) has said that President Horta has power to give pardon to any prisoner.

“President Horta has power to give pardon to any prisoners,” MP dos Santos said.

Dos Santos added that as a Timorese citizen, Salsinha has the right to get pardon from the president like other prisoners who have been pardoned by president.

Director of the Timorese Judicial System and Monitoring Program (JSMP), Luis de Oliveira, has recently said that JSMP disagreed with the President Horta’s intention to give pardon to Salsinha and his men as it was too early to do so.

“We are totally against the President Horta’s plan, because this case is still in the process,” Oliveira said.
 MP Borges: It’s too early to grant pardon to Salsinha and his men Diario Nacional  April 16, 2010  language source: Tetun -  MP Fernanda Mesquita Borges from National Unity Party (PUN) has said Thursday that it is still too early for President Horta to grant pardon to Salsinha and his men as the process is still ongoing at the Court of Appeal.

“I don’t agree with the decision of the President to pardon Salsinha and his men. The president has moved too far (into the case) because as far as I know they are still appealing for the case,” said Borges.

According to Borges, Horta’s intention to grant pardon to Salsinha and his men can be considered as an attempt to free them from prison, adding that such attempt is wrong.

Borges added that in order to get political support from members of Parliament, President Ramos Horta had intention to call bench party leaders, which she sees as political conspiracy to cover up the truths about the crises of 2006.

“I heard that he invited bench leaders and ask their opinion about the intention of the president to grant pardon to Salsinha and his group and I urge them not to cover up the those who involved in the crises but if they indeed conspire to cover it up and if it breeds new crises, they should be held responsible,” she said.

She questioned whether Salsinha and others were to be freed in order to be used again by other politicians in the future as their henchmen.

She added that based on the Constitution the president can give pardon but it should not be used to cover up the truth and to intervene into the court process.

“We should not use law to cover up the truth. The Constitution stipulates that the president can grant pardon but the process of the court is not final yet,” said the politician.

President Horta has said recently that he was a victim in 2008 and he believed that Salsinha and his men were also victims of the process.

However, Borges said that though he was a victim he should not mix his personal problem with the problem of the state.

According to her, the president is destroying the foundations of judicial system Timor-Leste.

“A functional justice system is not only for us who are living in the country right now but it is also the needs of the need of anyone living here in the future and if the president destroys everything what should happen in the future,” said Borges.

Salsinha was sentenced to 9 years and 4 months imprisonment for leading the attack of Prime Minister’s convoy in 2008.

Salsinha and his lawyers had filed their appeal at the court of appeal against the verdict of the Dili District Court.

The office of public prosecution also had appealed against the decision in which a Timorese-born Australian Angelita Pires was acquitted.

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