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Australia defends raid on lawyer in East Timor case

SYDNEY--Prime Minister Tony Abbott Wednesday defended a raid by Australian intelligence agents on the offices of a lawyer representing East Timor in a spying case, but Timor's president called it “unconscionable.”

Abbott's government is under fire after the offices of lawyer Bernard Collaery were raided by the domestic spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), on Tuesday and a range of material seized on a secret warrant.

Collaery is representing East Timor's government in an arbitration hearing at The Hague, which accuses Australia of espionage over a controversial Timor Sea gas treaty. He has described the raids as “intimidatory” tactics before a hearing in the case Thursday.

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