A former Indonesian intelligence chief says a group of commandos who stormed a prison and executed four inmates in March made the community safer.
A military court on Thursday found the three soldiers guilty and imposed sentences of between six and 11 years in prison.
The ABC reports the military adnmits the killings were in revenge for the murder of a commando in a pub brawl. A special forces unit broke into the Cebongan prison near Yogyakarta and executed four inmates there.
A dozen men were involved in the raid.
The maximum penalty could have been the death sentence, but the ABC reports the prosecutors took the view that the killings of were for the good of the community.
Hendropriyono, the former head of Indonesia's military intelligence, said the prison raid was wrong but understandable, because the men who died were feared gangsters.
"I never say that I justify this killings, but we have to understand why this thing happened," he said, adding .that the raid had made the community happier and safer.
Other members of the unit will be sentenced on Friday.