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East Timor ex-PM refuses prosecutors' summons in private militia probe

[JURIST] Former East Timor Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri [BBC profile], who resigned on Monday [BBC report], on Friday refused to respond to a prosecutor's summons to appear for questioning in connection with allegations that he organized and armed a private militia. Instead, Alkatiri wrote a letter back to prosecutors saying he is waiting for his lawyer, and that he intends to claim immunity from criminal prosecution as a member of Parliament. Prosecutors have yet to announce whether Alkatiri will be charged with organizing and arming the militia to target political opponents. Alkatiri's associate and former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato has been charged with supplying the group with weapons [JURIST report], and has reportedly implicated Alkatiri in testimony. In a national television interview broadcast last week, Alkatiri denied the allegations.

The UN is investigating the violence [JURIST report] that has surged in East Timor since April. East Timor [JURIST news archive] was a UN protectorate between 1999 and 2002 while the territory transitioned from an Indonesian possession to an independent state. Australia's ABC News has more.

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