Hurd voices concern over East Timor sentences

JAKARTA (AP, Reuter) - The Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, said yesterday he had raised concerns about the relatively light sentences given to Indonesian soldiers tried in the shootings of protesters demanding independence for East Timor.

'I mentioned that we do have concerns . . . over the disparity in sentencing between military and civilians,' he said after talks with Ali Alatas, his Indonesian counterpart.

After troops opened fire on East Timorese demanding independence at a rally on 12 November 1991, military courts sentenced 10 soldiers to prison terms ranging from eight to 18 months for disobedience and misconduct. But sentences ranged from five years to life for the protestors.

Despite Mr Hurd's expressions of concern, however, he signed an agreement to grant Indonesia pounds 65m to help finance a power project.