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East Timor prosecutors to question ex-PM on hit squad

[JURIST] East Timor [JURIST news archive] prosecutors have summoned former prime minister Mari Alkatiri [BBC profile] for questioning about allegations that he formed a hit squad to target opponents. Alkatiri resigned [BBC report] from office Monday amid public protests. The government lawyers said Alkatiri could be charged. A close associate of Alkatiri's, former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato, is already facing charges that he supplied the group with weapons [JURIST report], and his testimony has reportedly implicated Alkatiri. In a national television interview broadcast last week, Alkatiri denied having provided weapons to anyone. His questioning is scheduled for Friday.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy to East Timor, Ian Martin [official profile], meanwhile arrived in the capital of Dili on Tuesday [UN press release] to assess whether the UN needs to increase its presence in the Southeast Asian nation. Also on Tuesday, Annan's special representative in East Timor, Sukehiro Hasegawa [official profile], urged political leaders [UN press release] "to restrain their followers from engaging in any act of violence." The UN is investigating the violence [JURIST report] that has surged in East Timor since April. East Timor 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. The Voice of America has additional coverage.

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