Three men to be tried for Poso beheadings

Charges have been filed against three men for involvement in the murder of three Christian girls in 2005. The court must now decide when the first hearing of their trial will be held.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Three men will be tried under anti-terrorism laws for the beheading of three young Christian girls in Poso, in the Indonesian province of central Sulawesi, in October 2005. The charges filed this week accuse Hasanuddin, Lilik Purnomo, alias Haris, and Irwanto Irano of involvement in "an act of terrorism by using force that caused the loss of lives", an official with the Attorney-General's office said yesterday.

On October 29 last year, the three girls were walking home when they were attacked and beheaded by assailants using machetes in Poso's Gebang Rejo area.Two of their heads were found near a police post and the third was discovered outside a church. The case shocked public opinion in Indonesia and the rest of the world. The President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the triple killings that were described by Benedict XVI as "barbaric murder".

Dossiers on the three suspected terrorists were submitted to the central Jakarta district court on 30 October after the charges were filed, in preparation for the forthcoming trial. Achmad Michdan, the lawyer of the three men, confirmed that his clients would soon be brought before the court, which has yet to decide when the trial will be held.

Poso and its surroundings were a battleground between Christians and Muslims between 1999 and 2001 in clashes that claimed more than 1000 lives and displaced thousands of people.