Subject: AP: E Timor Aid Workers Demand Tougher Sentences For Slayings

Thursday, May 10 5:09 PM SGT

E Timor Aid Workers Demand Tougher Sentences For Slayings

DILI, EAST TIMOR (AP)--Dozens of U.N. aid workers staged a silent rally at the Indonesian mission in Dili, East Timor, Thursday, demanding tougher sentences for six militiamen convicted in the killings of three of their colleagues last year.

Wearing black armbands and carrying banners demanding justice, about 100 foreign and East Timorese workers delivered a protest letter to the head of the mission, Kristio Wahyono.

"We are outraged by the sentences ... for such a heinous crime," it said. The letter also demanded the Indonesian government uphold humanitarian principles and protect aid workers serving in West Timor.

An Indonesian court last week sentenced the six men to between 10 and 20 months in prison for the slayings. The verdict outraged the U.N. and foreign diplomats, who said it was too lenient.

On Thursday, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phill Goff described the sentences as "grossly inadequate" and as a "miscarriage of justice."

Indonesian prosecutors have said that they will appeal the decision.

On Sept. 6, a mob of pro-Indonesian militiamen stormed the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in the town of Atambua, near the border with East Timor.

Witnesses said that the aid workers from the U.S., Croatia and Ethiopia were stabbed and stoned to death before their bodies were dragged onto a street and set on fire.

U.N. staff said that Thursday's protest followed similar demonstrations in Geneva.

"We are trying to express our disgust at the sentences given to the killers," said senior U.N. official Iain Hall. "We demand justice be done."


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