09/04/2006, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Muslims paralyse Poso demanding execution of Tibo and fellow prisoners

by Benteng Reges
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".

Poso (AsiaNews) – For most of the day today, a crowd of 4,000 Muslims paralysed the city of Poso demanding the execution of Fabianus Tibo, Domingus da Silva and Marinus Riwu, three Catholic men sentenced to death for their involvement in the 2000 riots that occurred in the same city.

However, in recent months a campaign has been underway to save them after numerous witnesses have come forth saying that they were not allowed to speak at their trial. Increasingly, more and more people both in Indonesia and abroad are demanding a retrial.

The date of the execution has been postponed several times, partly as a result of international pressures including that of the Holy See. But marching under the banner 'Poso's Muslim Friendship and Struggle', the Muslim protesters marched through the streets of the city waving signs and calling on the authorities not to delay the three men's execution.

Police ensured tight security as the rally made its way from Poso's grand mosque filing by the Regency building and Prosecutor's office. No clash was reported, but schools, streets and public transit were forced to shut down.

In a statement, the rally's organisers demanded the government not hesitate to carry out the sentence "as required by law". But at present, no new execution date has been announced.

Meanwhile a new provincial police chief has been installed in central Sulawesi. Badrootin Haiti previously was the police superintendent in Banten. In Poso he replaces Brigadier General Oegroseno, whose departure means a loss for those who are fighting to have the three men's case reopened and who are trying to shed more light on what actually happened during the sectarian clashes that affected Poso in 1999-2001.

General Oegroseno backed a stay of execution for the three Catholics.

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