JAYAPURA (Indonesia) - FIVE Indonesian soldiers are expected to appear before a military tribunal on Friday to face charges over the alleged torture of Papuan civilians which was captured on video.

The trial comes days ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama to the South-east Asian country, on the heels of the Pentagon's announcement in July that it would resume ties with Indonesia's special forces.

The footage, posted online by human rights activists, showed soldiers applying a burning stick to the genitals of one of the unarmed men and threatening another with a knife. Papua province military spokesman Susilo said the suspects, who have not been identified, faced charges 'related to the torture shown in the YouTube video'.

'They will be charged with disciplinary violations under the military criminal code,' he said. The graphic video drew international attention to allegations of widespread torture and abuse of activists and civilians in restive Indonesian regions such as Papua and the Maluku islands.

Rights groups including Amnesty International have demanded Indonesia punish the culprits and end an entrenched culture of impunity in the country's security forces.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Monday there was 'no immunity' for members of the country's armed forces, ahead of talks in Jakarta with visiting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Australia has worked closely with Indonesia's security forces since 88 Australian tourists were killed in the 2002 Bali bombings by Islamist extremists, claiming such contacts encouraged respect for human rights.

Indonesia torture trial to open