25 Jan 2011

Indonesian soldiers sentenced over torture video

6:43 am on 25 January 2011

Three soldiers seen abusing Papuan villagers in a video uploaded onto the internet have been jailed by an Indonesian court.

The footage, posted on a human rights website last year, showed the men beating villagers and burning the genitals of one of them.

The men were found guilty of disobeying orders and sentenced to terms of between eight and 10 months in prison.

Human rights groups have condemned the decision not to charge the men with more serious offences.

Amnesty International says the fact that the victims were too frightened to testify due to the lack of adequate safety guarantees, raises serious questions about the trial process.

The organisation says civilian courts are much more likely to ensure both prosecution for the crimes involving human rights violations and protection for witnesses than the military system.

Amnesty is also concerned that senior government officials called the incident a 'minor violation'.