Indonesia on Friday dismissed expressions of outrage and disbelief over the perceived light sentences handed down to Islamic extremists who killed three minority sect members in a mob frenzy.
The United States and the European Union expressed strong misgivings while local rights groups and international watchdogs issued strong condemnations and calls for action to address rising intolerance in the mainly Muslim country.
But Religious Affairs Ministry spokesman Zubaidi said the sentences of three to six months for the men accused of leading the murderous assault on the Ahmadiyah sect members in February were the result of a fair trial.
“As an executive body, we cannot interfere in the legal system. We believe in the law enforcers. They have the right to come up with the sentences,” he said.
“Whether the sentences are light or harsh, how it’s perceived is relative.”
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, often held up by the United States and others as a champion of pluralism and democracy, made no comment on the sentences.
Foreign ministry officials were unavailable to comment.
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