09/06/2006, 00.00
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Poso: Days of Tibo and friends "numbered"

by Benteng Reges

Indonesia's national police chief said so yesterday after a meeting behind closed doors in parliament. Violence continues in Sulawesi, where a bomb has killed a local Christian.

Poso (AsiaNews) – Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu, and Dominggus "Domi" da Silva, three Catholics on death row in Indonesia, are once again facing imminent execution of their sentence. The men were convicted of masterminding the massacre of Muslims in Poso in 2000.

The national police chief, General Sutanto, said yesterday: "The police are ready to go ahead with the execution and are just waiting for necessary administrative procedures by the Attorney General's Office of central Sulawesi to be finalized."

The three have always protested their innocence and many witnesses backing their claim were never given a hearing throughout their trial. National and international calls for a review of their case have been similarly ignored. Their execution date was postponed many times, not least thanks to pressure from the international community and the Holy See.

The chief talked about the death penalty of the three men after a meeting behind closed doors in Parliament. "Their days are numbered, seeing that the second plea for clemency to the president has been rejected," he said. "The reason for the refusal to grant a pardon was due to the fact that more than two years have not passed since the first was made, as stipulated by law."

The general said he was therefore waiting for the go-ahead from the attorney-general: "We are only the material executors, an instrument in the hands of justice."

Another confirmation of the men's imminent execution came from the new police chief of the province, Superintendent Badrootin Haiti, formerly chief of Banten's provincial police. He replaced General Oegroseno at the end of August. Oegroseno was one of the most authoritative voices calling for the truth about the inter-faith conflict that rocked Poso between 1999 and 2001. The general is also convinced of the need to suspend the execution of the Catholics. "We are ready and the official request to execute them is about to come," said Haiti.

Meanwhile, violence continues in Sulawesi. This morning, a bomb went off in Tangkura village, 20km from Poso, killing John Tabeni, a 50-year-old Christian resident. Police were on the scene seeking the perpetrators of the attack.

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See also
Three Indonesian Catholics executed by firing squad
Fate of three Catholics sentenced to death to be decided tomorrow
Execution of "Tibo and friends" fixed for 21 September
New witnesses in support of condemned Catholics
Body of Dominggus da Silva returns to Flores after execution in Palu


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