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East Timor prosecutors want 7-year sentence for ex-interior minister

[JURIST] Prosecutors in East Timor [JURIST news archive] said Thursday they are seeking a seven-year jail term for Rogerio Lobato, former head of East Timor's Ministry of the Interior [official website] on charges of misappropriating public property, misuse of public funds, and the unauthorised importation or use of firearms to disturb public order. The charges stem from allegations [JURIST report] that Lobato provided weapons, ammunition, and police uniforms to an illegal civilian militia. Lobato's trial was delayed for several months [East Timor Law Journal backgrounder] when Lobato missed an initial hearing date due to security concerns.

East Timor descended into violence in 2006, when former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri [BBC profile] dismissed 600 striking members of the armed forces, causing riots [BBC report] in April and continued violence throughout May [JURIST report]. Alkatiri resigned in June, and in October, an independent United Nations commission recommended criminal investigations [JURIST report] into Alkatiri, Lobato, and three other former government officials in relation to the May violence which left 37 dead. Reuters has more.

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