|MEP Ana Gomes|
Tiago and Fong Fong Guerra are detained in Darwin after they fled Timor-Leste, where they were sentenced to eight years in prison.
MEP Ana Gomes wrote to the Australian authorities objecting to the extradition to Timor of the Portuguese couple who fled to Australia after being sentenced by the Timorese court for the crime they are accused of being unfounded.
"Having [Monday] learned that they were being detained in Australia and that, possibly, an arrest warrant and possibly a request for extradition by Timor, and having read the Australian laws on of extradition, I saw that objections to extradition could be raised, "Ana Gomes told Lusa.
"So I wrote to the Australian authorities - to the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice - saying that since I have been following the process since May 2015 and being an old friend from Timor, I am available to be heard and present all the information which I have on the case, for the purpose of raising an objection to extradition and for them to be repatriated to Portugal," reported Ana Gomes.
Noting that she took this initiative because she was "convinced of their innocence and that they are being victims of an error of justice," the former Portuguese ambassador to Indonesia, an observer attentive to the reality of Timor-Leste, explained that this error stems from "difficulties and incapacities of the Timorese system itself," which is "a new and less experienced judicial system."
The Portuguese couple, Tiago and Fong Fong Guerra, who fled last week to Darwin on a boat, awaited a weekly release to the authorities on a weekly basis, the result of an appeal against the sentence at first instance last August 24 to eight years of actual detention and the payment of $859,000 for embezzlement, after being cleared of the accusations of money laundering and falsification of documents.
"As I know the details of the case, I know that the accusations are not at all consistent: embezzlement is a crime of which only officials of the East Timorese State can be accused, that is not the case, only this fact is, from my point of view, demonstrating that the accusations are unfounded and that the sentence is unfounded, and understanding the weaknesses of the Timorese judicial system and being absolutely convinced of their innocence, I think it is my duty to help those who are victims of a great injustice " .
Ana Gomes emphasised that, in the same way that she did it "in relation to many Timorese," she also did it "in relation to these two Portuguese nationals, no doubt."
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