Friday, September 22, 2006

Amnesty International disappointed over executions

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Amnesty International expressed disappointment Friday over the executions of three Indonesian Christians who were convicted of inciting violence against Muslims in a 2001 case criticised for being unfair. Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marianus Riwu were executed by firing squad in religiously-divided Central Sulawesi province, where clashes between the two faiths in 2000-01 left more than 1,000 people dead. "We are deeply disappointed that despite the debate on the death penalty that the case had sparked across Indonesia, the state went ahead and killed these three men," Amnesty's Southeast Asia researcher Isabelle Cartron said. "Such state-sanctioned killings are all the more unacceptable where, as in this case, there have been serious doubts about the fairness of the trials," she told AFP by telephone from London. Cartron noted that there were concerns about defence witness testimony being ignored by the court as well as the intimidation of the men's lawyers, who endured death threats and a bomb being planted at one of their homes. Rights activists have also noted that few others have been convicted for the violence of 2000-01, leaving those most responsible on the run. Some observers have also said they fear the Christian cases may have been politically linked to that of three Islamic militants on death row in the world's most populous Muslim nation for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings. The attacks left 202 people dead, mostly western foreigners.

What does a conflict between Indonesians and a bomb blast carried by Islamic terrorists on foreigners and Balinese have to do with each other? Nothing. But the Muslim Indonesian government has somehow gotten into their brains that the execution of three Muslim terrorists is interdependent on the execution of three Christians in two totally unrelated incidents. To seem fair to Muslims, the government pushed through the executions of three Christians, rather than giving them due process with all evidence available, to balance the three Muslim terrorists to be executed for their part in the 2002 Bali bombings.

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