|H.E. President Jos Ramos-Horta|
The Head of State, within the scope of his institutional prerogatives and given his humanitarian culture, has always defended the commutation of sentences, provided they are based on solid arguments and, with that in mind, requested the Government for information and recommendations on prisoners eligible for a pardon, without any mention of numbers, for which the news published by the local press are completely false.
On December 1, the Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic addressed a letter to H.E. the Minister of Justice, Lúcia Freitas Lobato, saying only: “In order to prepare the pardoning process for 2011, H.E. the President of the Republic tasked me with requesting from Your Excellency an updated list of all prisoners currently serving sentence in Timor-Leste’s correctional facilities”. At no time did this letter mention any numbers.
The false pieces of news in question were published on Monday, December 12, by the daily newspapers Suara Timor Lorosae and Timor Post.
Suara Timor Lorosae quotes the Minister of Justice saying she had received “instructions from the President of the Republic to prepare a list of 100 prisoners eligible for a pardon on Christmas.” The same newspaper adds that Lúcia Lobato has already contacted the national director of Correctional Services to submit a list to the Prime-Minister before bringing it to the highest Magistrate of the Nation.
Timor Post goes even further, explaining that “the Minister of Justice received an official letter from the Office of the President of the Republic requesting names of prisoners because he wants to pardon 100, from Becora and Gleno.”
“I received an official letter from the Office of the President requesting names of prisoners eligible for receiving pardons by Christmas,” Lúcia Lobato reportedly said to Timor Post.
The Becora Correctional Facility holds approximately 80 detainees awaiting trial and 90 prisoners serving sentences, in a total of approximately 170, while at Gleno there are 30 serving sentences and only two awaiting trial.east-timor,