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East Timor parliament again extends state of emergency

[JURIST] The National Parliament of East Timor [official website] voted Sunday in favor of a further extension of the national state of emergency imposed after assassination attempts against President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao [BBC profiles]. Horta was critically wounded and rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed during the attacks, but Gusmao escaped unharmed. Acting President Fernando Lasama de Araujo called for the extension of the state of emergency, which prohibits public gatherings and establishes a curfew, saying some parts of the country remain unstable following the assassination attempts. The parliament initially extended the state of emergency for one month [JURIST report] at the end of February.

A suspect in the assassination attempt surrendered [JURIST report] to authorities earlier this month and an additional four suspects [ABC Australia report] surrendered over the weekend. Horta, the second president since the small island nation gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, was discharged from an Australian hospital [BBC report] last week. He had been in a coma after sustaining several gunshot wounds during 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. AP has more.

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