06 February 2013

President's wife visits jailed former Justice Minister Lucia Lobato as lawyers plan to seek executive sentence reduction

Isabel Ferreira Photo: Tempo Semanal
ETLJB 06/02/2013 - Isabel Ferreira, the wife of the East Timorese president, Taur Matan Ruak , has held a short notice visit to the former Minister for Justice, Lucia Lobato, in Gleno Prison. The first lady handed over a book from the President of the Republic to  Ms Lobato to read while she is in jail.

Speaking to journalists, Isabel Ferreira said she visited Ms. Lobato to show her personal solidarity with the former minister and to give her the book from the president.

Televizaun Timor-Leste reported yesterday, some remarks by the First Lady saying "I came here to visit sister Lucia Lobato to show solidarity as she accepted the court's decision to stay in prison. I am pleased with her as she is brave to accept the verdict to stay in the prison," she said.

Ms. Lobato said she was happy with the visit of the first lady and thanked her  for the book from the president. Ms. Lobato is in prison after the court found her guilty of abuse of power and engaging in corruption while she was in office during the IV Constitutional government.

Meanwhile,  Radio Timor-Leste reported yesterday that the lawyer for Lucia Lobato, Pedro Camoes, would be making efforts to contact the State's leaders to reduce her sentence of 5 years in prison.

The President has the constitutional power to grant amnesties to convicted criminals; as former President Ramos-Horta did to reduce Ms Lobato's uncle, Rogerio Lobato's sentence following his conviction for his part in the illegal weapons distribution during the 2006 crisis.

ETLJB wonders if this visit might have some connection to the exercise of the President's power to grant amnesties and the efforts by Ms Lobato's lawyer to seek an executive sentence reduction through the amnesty power that is exercisable only by "the State's leaders"; namely, the President.. Sources: TVTL, RTL 05/02/2013. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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Anti-Corruption Commission applies for house arrest of Justice Minister Lobato
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Public Prosecution presents new witnesses for Minister Lobato's case
Former East Timor justice minister receives jail sentence
Parliament removes Minister Lobato’s political immunity 
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Perversion of the rule of law in Timor-Leste and its impact on State legitimacy

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