FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE
April 30, 2008
FRETILIN rejects ceremony to receive rebels
The FRETILIN parliamentary group yesterday rejected participating in a ceremony to receive the rebel group led by Gastao Salsinha, saying the rebels should have faced the courts first, rather than be presented at the government palace.
The Salsinha group is linked to the alleged attack on the de facto Prime Minister on February 11, 2008.
The leader of the FRETILIN parliamentary group, Aniceto Guterres, made this clear in response to media questions. Mario Carrascalao, the Social Democratic Party leader and Member of Parliament, is also believed to have refused to attend the ceremony.
"This ceremony organized by the AMP de facto government is inappropriate. It portrays a negative image of our nation state. We cannot treat rebels in the same way we would undertake a family ceremony or a traditional ceremony. We must treat these questions of state with much more seriousness. These actions have diminished the dignity of our nation state," said Guterres.
According to Guterres these rebels should be immediately presented to the justice authorities and processed accordingly. Guterres added that as a state under the rule of law all those who violate the law are answerable to the courts and not political figures.
"The AMP de facto government has organized a reception ceremony whilst ignoring the warrants for the immediate apprehension of these rebels allegedly responsible for engaging in serious criminal action against this state. From what we hear, the rebel Salsinha and his group did not even formally surrender to authorities yesterday, but were permitted to participate in a public ceremony that was a charade. It was simply a farce for political gain."
Guterres also added: "FRETILIN views this undignified attitude by the state as projecting a negative image to our people and will only promote disrespect for the law and the constitution. It is also a blatant display by those who govern Timor-Leste today of their lack of respect for the rule of law."
Guterres said in closing that once again the FRETILIN parliamentary group congratulated the Joint Operation Command for the success in bringing the rebels to heel and acknowledged the personal efforts by Gastao Salsinha and his group as citizens of Timor-Leste to peacefully submit themselves to justice.
For further information please call Nilva Guimaraes in Dili: +670 7340389