22 December 2012

Defiant Lobato attacks East Timorese courts as politically biased

ETLJB 22 December 2012 - The former justice minister of East Timor, Lucia Lobato, who has been convicted on corruption charges by the Dili District Court which decision has been upheld by the Court of Appeals, has attacked the judiciary as politically biased.

According to a report in Indepdente on 21 December 2012, Lobato stronlgy condemned the Court of Appeals decision to dismiss her appeal for lack of evidence. The decisions of both courts were politically motivated, according to Lobato.

Lobato is quoted by Independente as saying that "the decision is politically made up because the Appellate Court and Dili District Court want to show that they had succeeded in jailing the former minister and corruptor."

Meanwhile, Suara Timor Lorosae also reported yesterday that Lobato's lawyer said he would fight the Court of Appeals decision.

"Some people want my client, Lucia Lobato, to go to jail shortly; therefore, as her lawyer we will take legal action against [the decision of the Court of Appeal]," he said.

He added they had not yet made an extraordinary appeal to the Court of Appeal in relation to the verdict.

In this regard, the Judicial System Monitoring System,as quoted by Timor Post, said that Lobato could not be jailed now as she still had time to make a further appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The Director of JSMP, Mr. Sampaio, confirmed that the minister still had time to make an extraordinary appeal to the Court of Appeal, although there had been verdict from the court to sentence her for five years in prison.

"A normal appeal takes 15 days and an extraordinary appeal must be made before 30 days. So, if the decision is made from now, the defendant still has time," he said.

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