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East Timor issues 12 arrest warrants for suspects in attempted assassinations

[JURIST] East Timor's attorney general said Friday that 12 arrest warrants have been issued for suspects in this week's attacks against East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao [BBC profiles], but did not release the names of the suspects. Attorney General Longuinhos Monteiro also said that five additional warrants will be issued. Horta was critically wounded and rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed in the attacks. The National Parliament of East Timor voted Wednesday to extend the state of emergency [JURIST report] imposed this week 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. Reinado has led previous revolts against the government and drew wide support from some members of the ruling coalition. Xinhua has more.

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.

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