East Timor defends release of accused militiaman

Posted Wed Sep 2, 2009 11:30am AEST

East Timor's Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa has defended the decision to allow an Indonesian man accused of involvement in a massacre to leave Dili's prison.

Martenus Bere was recently arrested in East Timor and is accused of being a militia commander who was involved in the Suai church massacre in September 1999.

He was moved from Dili's prison to the Indonesian embassy on Sunday as East Timor celebrated 10 years since its independence referendum.

Dr da Costa says Indonesia expects Bere will be deported to Indonesia.

"If we have a citizen in the same situation in Indonesia I will immediately react and try to follow the situation and see how best we can have him back to Timor Leste and be subjected to our own laws," he said.

"I am not in a position to judge other countries' capabilities or capacities but I certainly trust that they have also a judicial system in transition.

"They are doing their best to respond to the challenge that they are also facing."

This Sunday, September 6 2009, is the tenth anniversary of the Suai Church massacre.


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