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Ironduke
26 Sep 03,, 00:49
Aceh trial for Indonesian troops

Indonesia has put 12 soldiers on trial for beating up villagers during martial law operations in Aceh province.

Prosecutors said the soldiers hit people while they were hunting for separatist rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (Gam).

If found guilty they face up to 32 months in jail.

An earlier such trial was criticised by human rights activists as a smokescreen to cover up more serious abuses.

A military prosecutor accused the 12 soldiers of "physically assaulting" residents of two villages in North Aceh in late August, after the villagers failed to give information on Gam rebels.

The soldiers kicked villagers and hit them with their gun butts and rattan sticks, prosecutors said.

The Indonesian army has been accused of serious human rights violations since it declared martial law and began an offensive against Gam on 19 May.

More than 1,000 people are reported to have been killed during the offensive. The army says most were Gam rebels, while Gam says they were villagers.

Strict Indonesian media restrictions mean it is difficult to assess the claims.

The Indonesian military has pointed to its prosecution of soldiers as proof it is serious about stopping any human rights abuses.

Six privates were sentenced to between 120 days and 140 days in jail for beating villagers in Bireuen district in June.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3138010.stm

troung
27 Sep 03,, 19:15
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