4 October 2007
FRETILIN demands an end to political interference in Railos case
FRETILIN today welcomed the arrest of a key figure in last years violent coup attempt against the former FRETILIN government and demanded that the new government allow the judiciary to conduct the investigation and trial without further political interference.
FRETILINs parliamentary leader Aniceto Guterres said he hoped a thorough investigation and trial of Vicente da Conceicao, alias Railos, would identify other key players in the coup attempt.
United Nations (UNPOL) and Timorese police arrested Railos yesterday after FRETILIN General Secretary Mari Alkatiri told the UNPOL commander last Friday that if UNPOL did not arrest Railos then FRETILIN militants would do so and hand him over to UNPOL unharmed.
A United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry in October last year recommended Railos be prosecuted for his role in leading an attack on an army barracks on 24 May 2006 in which as many as nine people were killed, and for the illegal possession, use and movement of weapons.
Aniceto Guterres said today Railos was arrested on a warrant issued on 13 September 2007.
Guterres said: Railos has been allowed to go free for a year thanks to protection from senior politicians including (former President and now Prime Minister) Jose Alexandre Gusmao.
Gusmao openly used Railos as his partys campaign co-ordinator in the recent parliamentary elections where Railos intimidated voters in the Liquica and Ermera districts.
Guterres pointed to a report by the European Union Election Observation Mission on the parliamentary election in June this year which stated that: As already stated in the preliminary statement issued after the second round of the presidential elections, the EU EOM is concerned with the involvement of Vicente da Conceição, a.k.a. Rai Los, as CNRT campaign coordinator in the district of Liquiçá, despite having been recommended for prosecution on criminal charges by the United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste, created to investigate the events that led to the May 2006 crisis (http://www.eueomtimorleste.org/parl/PDF/EUEOM%20TL%20Parliamentary%20Elections%20FINAL.pdf)
Guterres said: FRETILIN believes a thorough investigation and trial of Railos will help reveal those behind the armed coup against the FRETILIN government. It was Railos attack on the Timor Leste army, along with attacks against the State by army fugitive Alfredo Reinado and Deputy Police Commander Abilio Mesquita which helped bring the government down.
On the 27th of September 2007 FRETILIN tabled in parliament a copy of a letter from then President Gusmao and then police commander Paulo Martins, now a Gusmao-aligned member of parliament, dated 29 May 2006 which stated that as Railos and his group were undertaking "official duties", they were to be allowed to move unimpeded throughout Timor Leste.
At the time, Railos and his group were armed and had just participated in the attack against the Timor-Leste army on 23-24 May 2006.
The signed letter allowed Railos to possess firearms despite then President Gusmao having signed an agreement inviting international forces into Timor-Leste on the basis that all groups be disarmed including the police.
It shows that Gusmao was using Railos for his own unlawful purposes because as President of the Republic he had no authority to allow Railos to be armed. This is another example of blatant contempt of the rule of law by Gusmao.
This letter of safe passage allowed Railos to systematically intimidate voters in the Liquica, Ermera and Bobonaro Districts. He was also able to meet with an Australian Broadcasting Corporation television crew and participate in a Four Corners program, which was used to broadcast false and defamatory allegations that former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato and Mari Alkatiri had armed civilians to eliminate political opponents.
As we now know, Railos allegations were false. The investigation found no evidence against Dr Alkatiri and the trial of Rogerio Lobato found that while he did arm civilians, his purpose was to support the police when the institutions of state were under attack from armed rebels.
For more information, please contact:
Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080