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Police officer serving with UN mission in East Timor charged with rape

Police officer serving with UN mission in East Timor charged with rape

A United Nations civilian police officer has been charged with allegedly raping an East Timorese woman, the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) said today.

The office of the East Timor Prosecutor General handed down the indictment on 21 August. The suspect was arrested on 5 July, following an alleged incident that took place at a Dili hotel, and has been held in detention ever since. The trial is expected to take place at the Dili District Court very soon as the prosecutors have asked for an expedited hearing on the case.

Meanwhile in election news, the head of UNTAET, Sergio Vieira de Mello, is scheduled to deliver a speech tomorrow to open the third and final election debate in Dili. All 16 political parties along with the national independent candidates have been invited to participate in the event, which is organized by the UNTAET-run TV Timor Lorosa'e (TVTL).

Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs José Ramos-Horta will moderate the debate, which will consist of three sessions. After Mr. Vieira de Mello's speech, the candidates will discuss issues put to them by the moderator. In the second session, the audience will put questions directly to the participants. And in the third session, East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmão will give a speech and take questions from media and the audience.

"We expect a very substantial debate," said event coordinator Evliana Berani, TVTL Civic Education Officer. "It will have a double effect for civic education, because people can be informed and also contribute."