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Call on Timor Leste’s PM to drop criminal defamation charges against journalists

This petition had 423 supporters

Call on Timor Leste’s PM to drop criminal defamation charges against journalists

East Timorese journalists Oki Raimundos and Lourenco Martina Vicente urgently need the global community’s help to prevent a court in the country from sentencing them to three years in prison on frivolous charges for their news reporting. 

The pair are charged with “slanderous denunciation” for a story published in the local Timor Post on Prime Minister Rui Aria de Araújo and his role as a Finance Ministry advisor in a state telecommunications tender. 

Urgent action is needed as the journalists’ trial is scheduled to begin this week, on Friday, October 7, 2016.   

The charges stem from an acknowledged error in a 2015 report, which was subsequently followed up and corrected in accordance with article 34 of Timor Leste’s press law, which governs the right of reply for news stories.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House and the International Federation of Journalists have advocated strongly for Araújo to drop the criminal complaint against the journalists. In a July 19 letter addressed to the premier, the organisations described the pending lawsuit as an “attack on press freedom and the right to information in Timor Leste” and that “as a matter or principle criminal prosecutions of journalists cannot be tolerated".  

Please sign the embedded petition to demand an end to this legal harassment and to put Timor Leste’s government, prime minister and judiciary on notice that the world will be watching as they attempt to wrongfully prosecute journalists.

Please share and use the hastag #freetimorjournalists

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