16 November 2017

No extradition treaty but Timor-Leste prepares arrest warrant for convicted Portuguese criminals who fled to Australia

!WARNING! MACHINE TRANSLATION ORIGINAL PORTUGUESE TEXT DIARO NACIONAL Notisias Noticias Berita News East Timor Leste 14 DE NOVEMBRO DE 2017 06:56 DN/Lusa Timor-Leste's attorney general, José Ximenes, told Lusa today that the Timorese authorities are preparing a warrant for the capture of the Portuguese couple Tiago and Fong Fong Guerra, who fled last week to Australia.

José Ximenes confirmed that a warrant was being prepared, but he declined to confirm whether it had been issued or not and whether it was a national or international warrant.

"I prefer not to comment further on the case at this time," he told Lusa in an interval of the monthly meeting of the Superior Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office (CSMP) where, confirmed judicial source, the matter was analyzed.

Jose Ximenes also declined to comment on the contents of a document prepared by a magistrate of the Attorney General's Office (PGR) obtained by Lusa, which accuses the Portuguese Embassy of having 'helped' the couple escape.

The document says that the couple had their passports "confiscated," but that "on October 27, the Portuguese Embassy issued new passports for the defendants Tiago Guerra, with the number C580008 and for Chang Fong Fong with the number C580007, for let them escape to Darwin by ship."

The document, prepared by Attorney Rogério Viegas Vicente and identified with the number NUC 0511 / 14.PDDIL, has in the same paragraph a request to change the coercive measure applied to the couple, of term identity and residence for pre-trial detention and, consequently, a request of warrant of arrest warrant.

The text - which has no date or signature, but was provided to Lusa by PGR source - also requests the extradition of the couple from Darwin to Timor-Leste, referring to the circumstances in which the PGR was informed, on November 9, of the arrival of the Portuguese to Australia.

"A member of the Australian Federal Police, Chris Hansen, currently on the Timor-Leste Police Development Program, said he received an email from the Immigration Police in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia indicating that the two defendants were in Australia and were going to continue their trip to Portugal that night, "the text said.

The prosecutor explains in the text, written in English, that the defendants "violated the measures that were applied and prohibited them from traveling abroad" and quotes several articles of the Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the circumstances in which the amendment of the measures of coercion.

Source of the Public Ministry confirmed to Lusa that agents of the East Timor National Police and an Australian police officer were in the PGR building "to deal with this case".

Another source from the Timorese PGR said the matter was discussed during the meeting of the Superior Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office (CSMP), led by the attorney general.

Elements of the couple's defense team in both Timor-Leste and Macao confirmed to Lusa that by early afternoon "no notice or information was received" about the case and that the only information they have came from the press.

Until 2:00 pm (local time in Díli, 05:00 in Lisbon) there was no record of the two Portuguese in the "Red Notifications" database on the Interpol website, where requests for the location or detention of wanted persons are registered. with a view to their extradition.

Australia has no extradition agreement with Timor-Leste and the two Portuguese, who are detained at a center for illegal immigrants near Darwin's airport, were traveling with valid Portuguese documents.

The Portuguese Tiago and Fong Fong Guerra, sentenced in East Timor to eight years in prison for embezzlement, fled the country and are detained in Darwin, in the Northern Territory of Australia where they illegally entered by boat last Thursday.

"Two Portuguese citizens were detained by Australian Border Force (ABF) agents on November 9 after illegally arriving in Darwin. As the investigations on this issue are still ongoing there will be no further comments," said a brief written response sent to Lusa by ABF.

On 24 August a panel of judges of the Dili District Court sentenced the Portuguese couple Tiago and Fong Fong Guerra to eight years' imprisonment and compensation of $ 859,000 for embezzlement.

The couple, who appealed the sentence, were submitted to weekly presentations to the Timorese authorities.

See also on ETLJB 3,500 Portuguese request extradition of Portuguese couple convicted of embezzlement in Timor-Leste

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