Extradition case: Teves freed from house arrest in Timor-Leste

Posted by watchmen
June 24, 2024
Posted in HEADLINE
TEVES (NBI / File photo)
TEVES (NBI / File photo)


Expelled Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo Teves, Jr. was released from house arrest in Timor-Leste, his legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio said over the weekend.

In a statement on Saturday, June 22, Topacio confirmed reports circulating in Timor-Leste media about Teves’ release by the tribunal conducting extradition proceedings.

Teves was freed but under specific conditions imposed by the court, including regular reporting to a court officer and a restriction on leaving Timor-Leste while the extradition case is ongoing.

Topacio said Teves has been restored to full liberty in accordance with the order of the Timor-Leste high court’s voiding of the preventive detention order due to defects in the extradition request.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) also confirmed Teves’ release from house arrest.

The DOJ said that a fugitive can only be detained or restricted for a maximum of 90 days as per the laws in Timor-Leste.

“Fugitive Teves is able to leave his house but is being monitored by security forces. Land, sea and air border authorities have been notified to ensure that Teves stays within Dili only,” the DOJ explained.

“He also has to be presented to court every two days, while waiting for the decision of the Court of Appeals, which is expected to come out by next week. All of Teves’ documents are also in the possession of the security forces,” it added.

Teves was placed under house arrest in the Southeast Asian country earlier this month after the court determined he posed a “flight risk” due to his financial means.

The Philippine government sought his extradition to face trial, but his release from house arrest may complicate those efforts.

Teves was arrested in Timor-Leste capital Dili in March, while playing golf, based on the Interpol red notice issued against him.

Earlier, a Timor-Leste court said Teves lives in a rented house with a monthly rent of $10,000, and works as a partner for a construction firm, whose owner gave him financial support.

“Given the facts above, it is concluded that the risk of flight persists for the extraditee, especially since he has the financial means to leave Timor-Leste,” the court said.

Earlier, the DOJ said Teves’ extradition trial had already concluded.

The former congressman faces multiple murder charges in the Philippines in connection with the Pamplona massacre in March 2023 that resulted in the deaths of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine others.

Teves was also charged with the deaths of three individuals in the province in 2019.

Last week, his brother Pryde Henry, former Negros Oriental Governor, was arrested for terror financing but later released on bail. / With reports from GMA Integrated News / JB, WDJ


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