ETimor lawmakers attack govt on militia leaderAFP/File – Members of East Timorese opposition party Fretilin have pushed a motion opposing the decision by Prime …

DILI (AFP) – Lawmakers in East Timor shouted jibes at each other Monday in a fiery censure debate over a government decision to free an Indonesian militia leader accused of crimes against humanity.

Members of the opposition Fretilin party pushed the motion against the government of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, accusing it of breaking the law in an August decision to release militia leader Martenus Bere.

"Let's not say the freeing of Martenus Bere was in the national interest, as it violates the constitution," former prime minister Mari Alkatiri told parliament as opposition lawmakers shouted that the government had undermined East Timor's independence.

"This government has become accustomed to disrespecting the constitution and the law, opposing national and international laws," Alkatiri said.

A vote on the opposition censure motion was expected later in the day.

Bere was arrested after crossing into East Timor on August 8, five years after being indicted for his role in a string of human rights violations including the 1999 Suai church massacre in which up to 200 people were killed.

The United Nations has criticised government "interference" in freeing the militia leader. But Gusmao and President Jose Ramos-Horta have said reconciliation with giant neighbour Indonesia is more important than dwelling on past abuses.

At least 100,000 people were estimated to have died during Indonesia's 24-year occupation of East Timor, which ended with bloody violence surrounding a 1999 UN-backed independence vote.