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East Timor extends emergency rule after assassination attempts

[JURIST] The National Parliament of East Timor [official website] voted Wednesday to extend the state of emergency [AP report] imposed this week after attacks against President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao [BBC profiles], during which Horta was critically wounded and rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed. The parliament voted to extend the state of emergency until February 23 in order to restore peace to the country following Monday's assassination attempts and to quell any future violence feared after the death of Reinado, who had led previous revolts against the government and who drew wide support from some members of the ruling coalition. East-Timorese prosecutors said Wednesday that the government was ready to issue 18 arrest warrants for those believed to have aided in the attacks.

Gusmao was the first named president of East Timor [JURIST news archive] following a 1999 UN-sponsored referendum in which the country voted for independence from Indonesia. He was appointed Prime Minister by Horta in 2007. In 2006, East Timor descended into violence and a state of emergency rule 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] which left 37 dead. Alkatiri resigned in June 2006 and an independent United Nations commission later recommended criminal investigations [JURIST report] into Alkatiri and other government officials for their role in the violence. Reuters has more.

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