02/02/2006, 00.00
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Some 30 witnesses prepared to speak on behalf of Catholic death row inmates

by Benteng Reges
A group of lawyers from various religious backgrounds want the death sentences reversed and name 16 suspects they believe are behind the Poso clashes. Plot scenario against the three Catholics is reconstructed.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Some 30 new witnesses have come forward to testify on behalf of the three Catholic men sentenced to death in Indonesia. Yesterday, a group of lawyers from various religious backgrounds filed a motion at the National Police HQ claiming that new witnesses are prepared to testify on behalf of Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu, who have been accused of fomenting sectarian clashes in Poso in 2000 an 2001. Meanwhile, the names of 16 people that one of the three prisoners fingered as being among the true culprits were made public.

The group of lawyers acting on behalf of the prisoners has set up the Advocacy Service for Justice and Peace in Indonesia or PADMA. They are convinced that their clients are victims of a political plot and have called once again for the death sentences to be reversed.  

The PADMA lawyers met chief police detective General Makbul Padmanegara to discuss the issue. With them close relatives of the three prisoners came as well, namely Fabianus Tibo's son Robert Tibo, Martinus Riwu's wife Anastasia, and Dominggus da Silva's foster father Adam Ata.

"There is new evidence about the involvement of 16 provocateurs in the clashes. Some key witnesses are prepared to talk to the police," said PADMA chairman Roy Rening.

Mr Rening added that the 16 suspects are known in Poso as members of the so-called Red Group and mentioned their names. They are: Janis Simangunsong, Paulus Tungkanan, Angki Tungkanan, Lempa Delli, Erik Rombot, Yahya Patiro, Sigilipu, Ladue, Obet Tampay, Sarjun, Heri Banidi, Guntur Saridji, Ventje Angkau, Theo Mandayo, Son Ruwagadi, and Base Lateka.

The lawyer said that he had evidence that some of the 16 were members of local security forces but did not provide any further details.

He did however reconstruct the plot. One of the prisoners, Fabianus Tibo happened to know Janis Simangunsong from the predominantly Christian town of Tentena. Simangunsong told Tibo in Morowali that Saint Therese Catholic Church in Poso was in a great danger. Someone was planning to set it on fire and kill the parish priest and some orphans living in the church compound. Since Tibo's son was in the orphanage, he asked Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu along with other Catholics to go to Poso. Once riots broke out there, the three could not leave. "They were trapped in the massive rioting and then caught up in a political plot," Rening explained.

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See also
Former Indonesian President against execution of three Catholics
Human rights activists are not giving up on three Indonesian Catholics
Three Indonesian Catholics executed by firing squad
Second clemency request for Catholics sentenced to death over Poso violence
Second appeal to reopen case of three Catholics sentenced to death rejected


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