09/25/2006, 00.00
INDONESIA

The execution of three Indonesian Catholics was judicial murder

Benteng Reges
The dead men's attorneys charge Indonesian authorities with judicial murder and pledge to bring the case to the International Criminal Court. For them, Jakarta is guilty of an act of injustice and human rights violation.

Palu (AsiaNews) – Relatives of the three Catholic men executed last Friday in Palu, Central Sulawesi, are planning to sue the Indonesian state in the International Criminal Court in Geneva for taking "malicious actions against innocent citizens whose lives it should have protected", this according to one of the attorneys who represented Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu, and Dominggus da Silva, who were executed for their involvement in the anti-Muslim violence during the 2000 sectarian clashes in Poso.

Alexius M. Adu said he had evidence that shows that the execution of the three men by a firing squad was a "judicial murder". "Jakarta violated the law in violating the human rights of these people who were even denied a religious funeral," he said.

The East Indonesia Solidarity Forum, an organisation that represents several ethnic and cultural groups, also slammed the authorities. The actions of Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh and Police Chief General Sutanto were a sign of declining human rights protection in the country.

The group also criticised the government's attempt to write off the week-end's protests in Atambua and Maumere (West Timor) as "religiously-motivated", when in fact demonstrators were protesting as much against the killing of "innocent people" as against the killing of Catholics.

By contrast, the Indonesia Mujahidin Council led by Abu Bakar Baasyir called the protests "illegal terrorist actions".

The Poso trio as the three men have become know in the Indonesian press were executed by a firing squad last Friday. For many the verdict was influenced by Islamic fundamentalists and the trial itself summarily executed leaving out a great deal of evidence and witnesses favourable to the defence.

The Pope himself got involved in the case appealing to the Indonesian president for clemency. A press release following the execution expressed the Pope's great regrets for what happened and mentioned how often the Vatican Secretary of State intervened in the name of the Holy Father in search of an act of clemency in favour of the three men. In addition to a statement released on August 12, the Vatican secretary of State Card Angelo Sodano sent two letters to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, dated December 5, 2005, and March 6, 2006. Other steps were taken via Indonesia's embassy to the Vatican on December 13, 2005; February 14, 2006; and September 20, 2006.

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