Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Update on the Executions

JAKARTA (Agencies): Indonesia will execute three Christians Friday for helping lead attacks that killed 70 Muslims six years ago, ignoring a papal clemency plea and claims by rights groups that their trials were unfair.
Catholic leader Father Jemy Tumbelaka said Tuesday the decision was made at a joint meeting in Palu police office on Monday night.
It was attended by representatives of the Palu Police, Prosecutors' office, and religious figures, who would accompany the three during the execution.
"The execution will certainly be carried out on the dawn of Friday," he was quoted by Antara news agency as saying.
The men, who maintain their innocence, received a last-minute stay in their deaths by firing squad one month ago, sparking street demonstrations by Islamic hardliners in the world's most populous Muslim nation.
The men's attorney Roy Rening said the three men received a letter from prosecutors stating they would be shot in Palu on the island of Sulawesi on Thursday, though a relative of one of the convicts said the killings could happen the following day.
Prosecutors - who do not typically reveal execution dates to the public - were not immediately available for comment.
Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva were found guilty of leading a Christian militia that launched a series of attacks on Muslims in May 2000 on Sulawesi - including a gun and machete assault that killed at least 70 people who had taken refuge in an Islamic school.
The incident was one of the bloodiest in two years of fighting between Muslim and Christian gangs on the island that killed at least 1,000 people from both faiths and left tens of thousand homeless.
Only a handful of people have been convicted in the violence, and the three Christians are the only ones to be sentenced to death. Investigations into the bloodshed, which ended after a government-sponsored peace deal, appear to have ended.
"If we are talking about fairness, all the perpetrators from both sides should be sentenced to death," Rening, who recently filed a second plea for pardon with Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was quoted by AP as saying.
"I am still hopeful SBY will order prosecutors to stop the executions," he said, referring to the president by his initials as is common in Indonesia.
Only lawyers, close family and priests are now allowed to visit the men, Rening said.

Muslims (especially Laskar Jihad) get amnesty, three men are scapegoats due to payoffs to police and prosecutors during the original arrests and the politicians who are the main cause of the conflict walk away free. For a summary of the past conflict in Central Sulawesi go to http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/indonesia/indonesia1102-03.htm#P141_20225

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