18 September 2012

East Timor Legal News 17 September 2012

Remains of executed resistance leader exhumed - The East Timor National Police Forensic Unit last Thursday (13/09) exhumed the skeletal remains of a person believed to those of  an independence leader who was executed by the Indonesian Armed Forces in 1999.

The remains were discovered buried in Samiri, Balibo in the District of Oecusse near the border with Indonesia. The name of the deceased man was Mahudu.

Televizaun Timor-Leste reported today that the remains were exhumed after the village chief of Samiri, Agusto Dasabuti, publicly reported that he had witnessed the killing of Mahudu by an Indonesian soldier on 9 September 1999 after the popular consultation in which the East Timorese voted to break away from Indonesia that had illegally occupied the national territory from 1975 until 1999.

Speaking to journalists, Deputy Prime Minister Fernando Lasama de Araujo said that a DNA investigation of the remains would be undertaken to determine the exact identity of the deceased.

Independence leaders who fled East Timor for West Timor and other parts of Indonesia after the 1999 referendum were  hunted down by the Indonesian military and appealed to Australia to provide protection and, where necessary, grant them short-term political asylum. Independence supporters who managed to escape the militias were in hiding and did not have travel documents to get out of Indonesia.

The plea came via Australian East Timor support groups to the union aid agency, APHEDA, which said at the time that the killing of independence supporters was continuing in West Timor, Bali and other parts of the archipelago.

"The whereabouts of Mr Mahudu  who was one of Fretilin's key negotiators and his wife and family were of particular concern. It was reported at that time that after a meeting in Kupang with the leadership of the Indonesian military, Mahudu was taken into custody and had not been heard of since. 

Mahudu visited Australia in 1998  to attend a ceremony to mark the 23rd anniversary of the founding of the Timorese liberation army FALINTIL. On that occasion, Mahudu spoke of the unilateral moratorium the independence movement had placed on public demonstrations in East Timor until it became clear whether Indonesia was prepared to negotiate over the status of the territory. Earlier, Mahudu had been interrogated by Indonesian security forces in January 1995 following several outbreaks of violence across the country in protest against the occupation.
Banco Central de Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste Central Bank responsible for financial system - The Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, was reported by Radio Timor-Leste today as saying that the Timor Leste Central Bank was responsible for the sustainability of the financial system.

The prime minister made the comment during a ceremony commemorating the 1st anniversary of the Central Bank last Friday (14/09).

Mr. Gusmao recognised that the Central Bank was playing a very important role in regulating the financial sector and guaranteeing a secure balance of payments.

He added that the Government and the Central Bank would cooperate to formulate national economic policy based on the Government's plans.
Government to continue to use the petroleum fund - The Prime Minister has stated that the the policy of using money from the petroleum fund to fund the state budget.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said he maintained the Government's policy of continuing to spend the country's petroleum fund for financing the state budget.

Radio Timor-Leste reported today that the Prime Minister was responding to the opposition's concerns over the economic growth and the increase in poverty in the country.

Gusmao confirmed that the Government wanted to use the petroleum fund for investments in infrastructure, especially roads in the district and rural areas.
State Secretariat for Security defends purchase of police guns and lack of publicity - The State Secretary for Security, Francisco da Costa Guterres, was reported by Diario Nacional today as defending the purchase of weapons for the police from Indonesian state-owned enterprise, PT Pindad Pesero.

Mr. Guterres affirmed that he could not publicise the reasons whey the police needed to purchase the weapons because it was a state secret and there was no need for the public to know.

"We should trust in the Police General Commands. I am a politician and so on technical matters, I take advice from the Commands. The police command has the right to decide whether or not to purchase police weaponry from Indonesia, " he said.

Meanwhile, according to a report by Timor Post, Parliamentary Committee B for Defence and Security is planning to contact the National Police Commander, Longuinhos Monteiro, and State Secretary for Security, Francisco da Costa Guterres, to explain the loss of a police weapon.

President of the Committee B, Maria Lourdes Martins, said they were discussing the issue and would call upon the police commander and the state secretary for security to appear in the Parliament to explain about the missing weapon.

"We are currently discussing this issue within the Committee B. We will contact Monteiro and Guterres to explain about the police's weapon which went missing," she said.

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