08/12/2008, 00.00
INDONESIA

Indonesian priest kidnapped, severely beaten

Mathias Hariyadi
Fr Susetyo was taken from his home and beaten by unknown assailants. He is known for his activity in interreligious dialogue, frowned on by radical Muslims. At the hospital, he has been visited by the younger brother of former president Wahid.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Last night, Fr Benny Susetyo, secretary of the interreligious commission of the Indonesian bishops' conference, was kidnapped and severely beaten. At least three people forcibly removed him from his home in Bintaro, in southern Jakarta, took away his cell phone, and beat him.

He is now recovering at Pondok Indah hospital in Jakarta, where he has been visited by other human rights activists, like Solahudin Wahid, a promoter of interreligious dialogue and the younger brother of former president Abdurrahman Wahid.

The police of Kebayoran Lama say that "we have not conducted any investigation, as there has not been any crime reported to us". It is the first time in a long time that a Catholic priest has been kidnapped and beaten.

Fr Susetyo is also an active member of the Alliance for Nation and Religious Freedom, a group disliked by radical Muslims for its position on the problem of the Ahmadiyya (an Islamic minority group often persecuted by other Muslims).

Fr Ismartono, who is also active in religious dialogue, did not want to release any comment. He nonetheless noted that "the incident took place suddenly and very quickly. Benny had just regained consciousness when he learned he was at Pondok Indah".

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