Subject: AP: Indonesia Foreign Min Defends Verdicts In E Timor Trials

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Indonesia Foreign Min Defends Verdicts In E Timor Trials

JAKARTA, August 19 (AP)--Relations with the U.S. will not be affected by the acquittal of six defendants allegedly involved in the violence that engulfed East Timor in 1999, Indonesia's foreign minister said Monday.

Two special courts ruled Thursday that there was no evidence to show that a general and five other officers allowed subordinates to take part in massacres in the former Indonesian province. A day earlier, another court found a former governor guilty, but sentenced him to only three years in jail.

The verdicts were roundly criticized by rights activists and foreign governments.

A former U.S. ambassador to Indonesia suggested the verdicts could jeopardize the country's efforts to re-establish military ties with the U.S.

But Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda dismissed this and suggested that criticism of the trials was unfair.

"There has not been any negative impact on our relationship with the United States, including their plan to help us," Wirayuda said. "The trials must be respected. The international community is prejudiced."

Eleven more military and government officials are on trial for allowing the violence in East Timor. Nearly 1,000 were killed by the Indonesian military and its proxy militias after voters approved an independence referendum in 1999.

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