26 April 2013

Convicted former Justice Minister may be released pending extraordinary appeal

ETLJB 26 April 2013 - According to an English translation of a media report published by Diario Nacional on 24 April 2013, there is a possibility that prisoner and former Minister for Justice, Lucia Lobato, will be freed next week based on a new extraordinary appeal lodged by her lawyer, Jose Pedro Camoes.

“There is information that our client might be freed next week because of a new extraordinary appeal that we submitted to Appellate Court a few days ago that was supported by new evidences,” Camoes said.

A furore has erupted over the case over the last few weeks with the President of the Court of Appeal being reported by Diario on 19 April as saying that he would take legal action against Fretilin National Parliament member, Aniceto Guterres, who accused the judge of trying to free the defendant Lucia Lobato.

“Aniceto Guterres has made public a falsehood to the media and damaged my dignity and the Appellate Court’s credibility. Therefore, I am calling on Aniceto Guterres’ responsibility through legal action,” Claudio Ximenes said in a Press conference at the Appellate Court of Dili recently.

He added that he had never made promises to Lucia Lobato about her freedom from jail and said he had no interest in this process.

Meanwhile, former Deputy Prime Minister Mario Viegas Carrascalao, was reported by Suara Timor Lorosae on 19 April as saying that there was something wrong with the case of the former Minister for Justice, and urged the Appellate Court to investigate it

Speaking to journalists, Carrascalao said Timor-Leste had four sovereign state bodies - the Government, the Presidency, Parliament and Court and each of them work based on the constitution but if something is wrong in the court, that should be investigated based on the law existing.

Timor Post also reported on 17 April that Lucia Lobato’s lawayer had reported his client’s case to President of the Republic Taur Matan Ruak (TMR) because of his allegation that some politicians were behind the court’s verdict.

“We came here to inform [the President] about some failures that occurred in the process of justice in the country. Therefore we asked the president to look at this issue as it can impact on the credibility of the court,” Pedro Camoes said.

Camoes reported said that the President would contact judges in the court to improve mistakes which had occurred in the court as it would impact judicial system of the country.

He said some judges had worked unprofessionally and were not impartial, “I have an obligation which regards this case because it will kill the process justice in the country,” he said. Sources: TLMDC, Diario Nacional, Timor Post, Suara Timor Lorosae. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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