» 12/04/2007, 00.00
Light sentence for terrorists who beheaded three Christians
Yesterday a South Jakarta Court condemned three terrorists to 19 years in prison, guilty of having killed three female students in Poso in 2005. Public opinion dissatisfied with the sentence “too light”.
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.
New witnesses in support of condemned Catholics
The Palu Court has reviewed the case and referred it to the Supreme Court. But the police of Central Sulawesi insist the execution of the three men is "imminent".
Body of one executed Catholic left in church "for few hours"
The authorities handed over da Silva's body to his relatives. It was washed and placed in a new coffin to be taken to St Mary's Church in Palu. The attorney-general insists, however, on denying permission for da Silva's body to be taken to his native village, where everything is ready for his burial. The relatives of Tibo and Riwu refuse to submit to the ban on a funeral service for the three executed men.
Execution of Tibo and friends postponed
The three Catholics should have been executed at around midnight yesterday; there has been no official word about the new execution date, which presumably will not be earlier than tomorrow.
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Under the banner 'Poso's Muslim Friendship and Struggle', some 4,000 demonstrators shut down the city's schools, businesses and public transit. They demand the government not hesitate to carry out the sentence against the three Catholics "as required by law".
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