08/21/2006, 00.00
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Nunciature in Jakarta hoping the lives of three Catholics are spared

Mgr Novatus, counsellor at the Vatican mission, expresses hope that the fate of Tibo and his fellow prisoners will turn out for the better.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Hope is still alive in the Apostolic Nunciature in Jakarta that the execution of Tibo and his fellow inmates will be cancelled. Mgr. Rugambwa Novatus, counsellor to the Holy See's diplomatic mission in Indonesia, spoke to AsiaNews about his desire to see the lives of the three Catholics spared. The three men have been waiting in Palu (Central Sulawesi) for their execution over the past week.

Fabianus Tibo, Domingus "Domi" da Silva and Marinus Riwu were found guilty of taking part in the massacre of hundreds of Muslims during the bloody sectarian clashes in Poso in 2000.  Their August 12 execution was postponed and all three are waiting for the new date.

Although he said he was not privy to the government's intentions, Mgr Novatus said he believed that it was "possible for the sentence to be further delayed".

The clergyman also conceded that the fate of Tibo and his fellow Catholics was closely linked to that of three Islamic terrorists found guilty in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra were scheduled to go before the firing squad tomorrow, but they authorised their lawyers to make an appeal against their sentence before the Supreme Court. Their execution was also postponed.

According to Mgr Novatus, if the three terrorists are executed segments of Indonesia's public opinion will want to see the three Catholics put to death to even out the score, never the less, the clergyman is still confident that the "growing opposition to the death penalty in the country and among human rights groups may lead to a reprieve in both cases."

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See also
Fate of three Catholics sentenced to death to be decided tomorrow
Jakarta removes police chief, too sympathetic to Tibo and fellow prisoners
Muslims paralyse Poso demanding execution of Tibo and fellow prisoners
Second appeal to reopen case of three Catholics sentenced to death rejected
Three Indonesian Catholics executed by firing squad


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