It was widely reported by international media, especially by those in Portugal and “copied pasted” by few local media and went viral on social media that “Timorese judges’ life was under threat”.

The shocking news came out after the then sacked Portuguese magistrate Glória Alves told Lusa that she got an email from her colleague in Dili saying “their lives are in grave danger”. She further added that “they asked their Portuguese counterparts to appeal to the International Community for help”.

Coincided with the commemoration of Santa Cruz massacre, Micael Pereira and Rui Gustavo reported for Expresso and its English version was posted in ETAN saying that “Guilhermino da Silva, the President of the Court of Appeal, and Timorese CSM, made a call to Antonio Piçarra, vice president of Portuguese SCM, ask for help against dramatic situation in the past hour confronting Timorese judges”. Both added that “Guilhermino da Silva locked himself in a house with the two other judges because they fear for their lives”.

Next day, various news media including SAPO Timor-Leste, quoted Lusa, reported a contradictory version from the very same source. In Portuguese version, the news reads that “Presidente do Conselho Superior de Magistratura de Timor-Leste DESCONHECE ameaças a juízes”.

Thanks to Google Translation, the statement can be roughly translated into English as “the President of CSM does not know any threat against the judges”. He further elaborated that “I am not aware of it. So far, not directly seen this threat”.

Local media followed up on this issue with Sr. Duarte Tilman, President of Dili Court and he denied that such thing happened and he called it a mere “rumor”.

The question now is who is not telling the truth here. It is either “the source of information” or “the one who report it” in the first place.

The integrity and credibility of the source of the information is unquestionable and therefore it is highly unlikely that Judge Guilhermino da Silva and his colleagues would one day say one thing and another day say something else. These people who hold such important positions in the country speak only the truth.

We are then left with one and the only truth, which is the one who reported it in the first place did not tell the truth. Therefore, the news about “Timorese judges’ life under threat” is unfounded and it is a mere rumor that is overly exaggerated by the media.  It is gravely regretted that such a reputable magistrate could tell such a deplorable lie and regurgitated by media without confirming with the sources.

A good friend of mine once told me that apart from coffee, the next big commodity Timorese can export is gossiping. Sadly, this incident tells me that the Timorese no longer have that competitive advantage, as people in other countries are also good at it.

It is understandable that everyone has different reaction to the recent sacking of international judges, but what we ask is “to reduce a bit of emotion when expressing them”.