4 Mar 2010

East Timor jails rebels for assassination attempt

7:29 am on 4 March 2010

A court in East Timor has convicted 23 rebels of attempting to assassinate the president and prime minister in 2008.

The defendants, most of them former soldiers and police officers, have been jailed for up to sixteen years.

The President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot and seriously wounded in the attack outside his home in the capital, Dili.

The Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, escaped injury when his motorcade was ambushed on the same day.

Five people were acquitted on charges relating to the assaults, including Australian woman Angelita Pires.

At the time, Ms Pires, 44, was the lover of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who was shot dead in a gunfight during the attack on Mr Ramos Horta.