Jakarta (AsiaNews) –19 years in prison for three Islamic terrorists’ guilt of having decapitated three young Christians in Indonesia. The crime took place in 2005 in Poso, a “hotbed” in Central Sulawesi. Yesterday a court in South Jakarta condemned Wiwin Kalahe alias Rahman to 19 years in prison; his accomplices Yudi Heriyanto alias Udit and Agus Nur Muhammad alias Agus Jenggot, received 10 and 14 years detention.
The public responded with dissatisfaction, saying the ruling was too “light” compared to other brutal crimes. The judges admitted that the trio’s terrorist actions provoked widespread anxiety and fear throughout Poso. According to Rohadi, a local from Jakarta, did not take this into consideration when it emitted its verdict: “They should have been sentence to death”. On October 29th the three Christian schoolgirls were walking to school when they were attacked and beheaded with machetes in the area of Gebang Rejo, Poso. Two of the heads were discovered close to a police station the third was left close to a Church. The case deeply moved public opinion both in Indonesia and abroad. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the triple homicide, which Benedict XVI defined as a “barbarous assassination”.
In December 2006 the Indonesian justice system decided capital punishment for three Catholics - Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Domingo da Silva – held responsible for violence against the Muslim community during the Poso conflict. The sentence was carried out despite a chorus of international protest, which denounced irregularities in the trial.
Yesterday the same court condemned a further four terrorists to 14 and 18 years in prison for involvement in making bombs to be used against the Christian community, as well as the explosion of one of the devices in a Christian market in Tentena on May 28 2005. On that occasion 22 people died, while a further 43 were gravely injured. “During the trial – one of the defence lawyers declares – accused recognised their guilt and said their actions were in reaction to the death of Muslims during the long inter-religious conflict in the area”.
Between 1999 and 2001 in Poso, violent clashes between Christians and Muslims – the root cause of which has yet to be clarified – left over one thousand people dead and forced thousands more to flee for safety.