Subject: RT: Jakarta court toughens sentence on Timor murders

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Jakarta court toughens sentence on W.Timor murders

JAKARTA, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Indonesia's Supreme Court has handed down tougher sentences to three men for the brutal killing of three foreign U.N. aid workers in West Timor, according to court documents obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

The three men were among a group of six jailed for 10-20 months in May last year over the killings in September 2000 -- a verdict which earned international outrage for being too lenient.

The aid workers were stabbed and their bodies dragged into the street and burned after a mob attacked their office in the West Timor border town of Atambua.

A copy of the ruling, signed in November 15 last year, said Supreme Court chief judge Bagir Manan and the council of judges had agreed to increase the sentences handed down by the North Jakarta court to a maximum of seven years.

The document said Xisto Pereira, 26, and Joao Martins, 27, would be jailed for five years and Serafin Ximenes, 26, was sentenced to seven years.

"(They) collectively and individually on September 6, 2000....carried out actions which caused the death of the three UNHCR workers," the ruling read.

A lawyer for the men also confirmed the ruling.

"I have been informed about the ruling but I still haven't received a copy of the ruling," lawyer Nicolay Abe told Reuters.

The lawyer did not provide further details and the documents did not indicate whether heavier sentences would apply to the others convicted.

The revised ruling will likely appease foreign donors and human rights groups, pressuring Indonesia to put on trial those responsible for the violence connected with East Timor's decision to break away from Indonesian rule in a U.N.-backed ballot in 1999.

The six men, all East Timorese and who consider themselves Indonesian, were part of a rampaging mob of pro-Jakarta militiamen opposed to the tiny half-island territory's decision to break from Indonesia.

The militias laid waste to East Timor after the vote and herded thousands across the border into Indonesian West Timor.

East Timor is now under U.N. administration and will achieve full independence later this year.

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