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East Timor Govt faces new crisis -

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East Timor Govt faces new crisis

Broadcast: 10/08/2007

Reporter: Anne Barker

Just one day after being sworn in, the East Timorese Government is trying to stop a former
minister, who had been jailed for organising mob violence, leaving the country.


TONY JONES: The strength of East Timor's new Government has been tested after just one day in

Rogerio Lobato, the man jailed for seven years for inciting much of last year's violence, today
flew to Malaysia for heart surgery despite government efforts to block his departure.

The Coalition Government of Xanana Gusmao is already under attack with violent protests causing
widespread damage across the country.

From Dili, Anne Barker reports.

ANNE BARKER: The political intrigue began yesterday as a charter jet prepared to fly former
Fretilin minister Rogerio Lobato to Malaysia for heart surgery. Minutes before takeover, the new
Government intervened overruling a court order granting permission and instead grounding the plane
to take Rogerio Lobato back into custody.

LUCIA LOBATO, EAST TIMOR JUSTICE MINISTER: Rogerio Lobato has been accused by the court. Now he has
to obey the law.

ANNE BARKER: Lobato was sentenced earlier this year to seven years jail for his role in inciting
last year's violence. As day dragged into night Lobato refused to disembark, while the Justice
Minister argued the case with him and his lawyer.

Last night it appeared the Government had won as the Lobato family left the plane. But this morning
with the former minister still on board, a new court order overruled the Government and confirmed
he could leave.

PAULO REMEDIO, LAWYER: The Attorney-General, not the Government, can change any decision from the

ANNE BARKER: This afternoon the Government tried again to stop the plane from leaving. The judges
then warned it could be in contempt. The stand-off only adds to the new coalition's struggles as it
deals with angry protests challenging its legitimacy.

The capital Dili is still smouldering from this week's violence against the appointment of Xanana
Gusmao as Prime Minister. Pro-Fretilin supporters of every age believe their party should have won.

There were similar attacks at Baucau East Timor's second city where the Catholic Church has been
targeted and staff threatened.

MARK GREEN, CARITAS: It might be perceived by some Fretilin supporters in Baucau, which is
predominantly a Fretilin district, that the Catholic Church was more supportive of the new regime.

ANNE BARKER: UN police and security forces remain on high alert.

Anne Barker, Lateline.