US concerned about court sentences in Papua torture case

"We have expressed these concerns to the Indonesian government, and continue to stress the importance of full accountability for human rights abuses," the US embassy statement.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The US embassy in Jakarta issued a statement here Wednesday expressing deep concern that three Indonesian soldiers shown in a video to have tortured Papua civilians were sentenced only for disobeying their superiors` orders.

"...the sentences handed down, which range from 8-10 months, do not reflect the seriousness of the abuses depicted in the video," the US embassy said in the statement.

"We have expressed these concerns to the Indonesian government, and continue to stress the importance of full accountability for human rights abuses," it said.

The US embassy said it did welcome the transparent judicial process and the unequivocal statements from Indonesian leaders, including President Yudhoyono, reaffirming that human rights abuses committed by members of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) will not be tolerated.

"We note press reports that a TNI spokesman has said the soldiers could be dishonorably discharged after conviction. We will continue to follow developments in this case with interest." it said.

The Military Court III-19 in Jayapura, Papua, last Monday (Jan 24) sentenced to 8-10 months in jail three soldiers who were seen on video-tape to have brutalized civilians in Puncak Jaya district in Papua.

In separate sessions the three were pronounced guilty of violating superiors` orders while carrying out their duties in Puncak Jaya.

Second Sergeant Irwan Riskiyanto of Unit 753 AVT/Nabire of the 17th Cendrawasih Military Command was sentenced to 10 months after being found guilty of commiting an act of violence against a number of Papuans in violation of his superior`s orders.

Chief judge Lt Col Adil KaroKaro said Irwan`s action ran against the soldier`s oath and TNI`s 8 obligations. His action was also considered damaging principles of life and the image of TNI before the community.

The two other TNI members meanwhile received eight and nine months in jail respectively for being proven violating their superiors` order.They are first private Thamrin Mahangiri and first private Yakson Agu.

In response to the verdicts the two also had asked for time to consider whether or not they would appeal.(Uu.F001/P003)

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