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East Timor assassination suspect in police custody

[JURIST] A suspect in the assassination attempt against East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta [BBC profile] turned himself in late Saturday, several weeks after the February 11 attempt on Horta's life outside his home. The suspect, Amaro da Costa, was described as an ex-police officer and is the only suspect in custody to date, though police have issued multiple arrest warrants [JURIST report] in connection with the attack. Horta has been transferred out of intensive care [Age report]; he has expressed forgiveness for his attackers, including rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who led the other rebels to Horta's home and was killed in the ensuing gunfight. Reinado has led previous revolts against the government and drew wide support from some members of the ruling coalition. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao [BBC profile] was the subject of a second attack on the same day but escaped unharmed. Last Friday, the National Parliament of East Timor voted to extend the country's state of emergency [JURIST report] for an additional month in the wake of the assassination attempts. AP 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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