09/27/2006, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Charges that the bodies of three Catholics executed in Indonesia show signs of violence

by Benteng Reges
The trio's relatives point to wounds to the bodies that cannot be attributed to the execution by firing squad. They demand a second autopsy. Relatives' lawyers are setting off for Europe and the United States to present their case before international law agencies.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The three Catholics executed Friday of last week in Palu (Central Sulawesi) for their involvement in the 2000 Poso sectarian clashes are not yet at rest. The trio's relatives and attorneys have called for a second autopsy to determine whether Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu were victims of 'violence' right before or after their execution. Police and judicial authorities have denied any kind of abuse.

The group of lawyers who defended the three Catholics has filed a complaint saying that the bodies show signs that cannot have been cause by the execution by firing squad. Tibo's body apparently has three broken ribs, whilst da Silva seems to have been stabbed at the heart with a sharp instrument. All three appear to have been shot five times at the chest rather than once.

The families have asked the Prosecutor's Office and the police to have another autopsy performed. This will require exhuming Tibo's and Riwu's bodies which were buried in Beteleme and Morowali (Central Sulawesi) respectively. Da Silva's body will have to be exhumed for a second time from its final resting place on Flores Island since the authorities had buried him a first time on Sunday in Palu, but were finally persuaded to hand his remains over to the family after the United Nations Commission of Human Rights and the European Union intervened.

According to the findings of Christian doctors who examined the bodies, all three men had five bullet entry marks on the left side of their chest. Tibo also had two broken ribs and scratch marks on the face, whilst Riwu's heart had been pierced by a dagger-like sharp object.

The decision by the Prosecutor's Office in Palu to quickly bury the three dead men without the benefits of religious funeral appears to give credence to the theory that the execution failed to meet legal standards.

"We would never have expected such a thing," said Stephen Roy Rening, one of the attorneys from the three men's legal team. "Now we must clear things up. Not only national laws might have been violated, but so could have international law. Having lost faith in Indonesia's legal system, we are left only with international institutions," he said. Some of the team's members are in fact already leaving for Europe and the United States.

Indonesian authorities have either rejected the charges or refused to make any comment. The Attorney General's Office directed all inquiries to the Prosecutor's Office in Palu, whilst Central Sulawesi police has dismissed all claims that there was anything illegal about the execution.

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