Fretilin supporters under attack in Timor-Leste

Fretilin party members and supporters are being attacked around the country following the election of Jose Ramos Horta as President of the Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor), said the party secretary general Dr Mari Alkatiri today.

Dr Alkatiri has detailed information about attacks on property and people and also of intimidation taking place in four districts.

“Several Fretilin members have been intimidated and have had their houses set on fire in Ermera and Liquica districts west of Dili, the enclave district of Oecussi in West Timor and Baucau district east of Dili, over the last few days.

“In Ermera district a number of our members have been injured and one of them was brought to hospital in Dili for medical treatment’” Dr Alkatiri said.

Dr Alkatiri said that the attacks against Fretilin are completely unacceptable and demanded that they be investigated by the United Nations Police Force so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.

“Our members and supporters continue to be the victims of violence,” said Dr Alkatiri. “Why is it that the UN Police and the International Stabilisation Force are unable to provide security?

“This has been happening since the beginning of the 2006 crisis when our members and supporters were specifically targeted in order to destroy the party base and overthrow the democratically elected government.

“The attacks continue against Fretilin members and supporters to intimidate them prior to the parliamentary elections which will be held on 30 June 2007. It is the same strategy adopted by opponents of Fretilin during the presidential election”.

Alkatiri reported that the intimidation occurring in Liquica district is being carried out by members of a group under the control of disgraced army sergeant Vicente da Conceição (alias Railos) who was a principal campaigner for Jose Ramos Horta during the presidential election.

“Railos and his group intimidated our voters during the presidential election campaign and they continue to do so in the run in to the parliamentary elections. This has to stop”.

Railos was dismissed from the Timor-Leste army (F-FDTL) in 2004 for misappropriation of funds, and was recommended for prosecution by the United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry in October 2006 in connection with the shooting deaths of several people in May 2006.

It is said that there is an outstanding arrest warrant issued against Railos, but it has not yet been executed.

For more information, please contact:

Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080 (Dili, Timor-Leste)

Paulo Araujo (+61) 424 413 525 (Darwin, Australia)

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