LABEH condemns the sentencing of Christopher Henry Samson, the Founder and the Executive Director of LABEH on a controversial falsification charge of his citizenship in a move that was been seen as a threat to anti-corruption and civic activism. The move was just an attack on civil society activists by the prosecutor’s office that appears determined to silence him.
“We cannot stand by and watch Mr. Samson and his family and the families of activists targeted as a way to stop the voices of criticism against corruption. The court should deliver justice not political messages,” said Pedro Aparicio, Defense legal aid of Mr. Samson. “The slow verdict and unclear motivation leave many in Timor-Leste puzzled: Is that the rule of law? But worst of all is that many family members of Mr. Christopher had been paid off by the Prosecutor General.
All anti-corruption and civic activists in Timor-Leste are now in danger. This should never happen in a strong democratic society like Timor-Leste." Christopher Henry Samson is a well-known and anti-corruption activist who also led the national consultation on the government option to establish the Timor-Leste Commission against Corruption (CAC) in 2008, and has trained over 2500 students on vocational School which he established in 2003. His popularity appeared to spark a series of legal cases against him.
Christopher Henry Samson received a prison sentence of three and a half years in December 2011 and served a year and nine months starting in November 2012 and was released from the prison on September 11, 2014.
He is currently back to LABEH to resume his activities as the founder of Lalenok Ba Ema Hotu (LABEH) following his release last year.