ANS (12/14/05) – Sources in Indonesia say that three Christian men convicted of murder during the conflict in Poso in 2000 may be executed very soon.
Three wrongly convicted men.
Jubilee Campaign reports that Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Dasilva and Marinus Riwu were sentenced to death for their involvement in the communal violence between Muslims and Christians that rocked Poso, Central Sulawesi , five years ago.
In its report, Jubilee Campaign says that having recently been denied clemency by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, their execution by firing squad may take place as early as the end of this year.
“The defendants, however, maintain their innocence and claim that their convictions resulted from irregularities during their trial. For instance, they contend that the Judge in the case neglected even to consider the testimony of thirteen different witnesses (including the defendants themselves) that would have exonerated them,” the Jubilee Campaign statement says.
The defendants claim — and are backed up in this claim by a number of other witnesses, including Irwanto Hasan, who at the time was a member of the Poso Police Intelligence Division — that they were in fact engaged in a humanitarian exercise when they were arrested.
Jubilee Campaign says: “They had come to Poso after hearing reports that a Catholic Church there had been burned in the sectarian violence. They entered the conflict zone to evacuate children from a church-run school in the village of Moengko , Poso City .
“On the morning of May 23, 2000, a Muslim mob entered the village and set fire to the church. The defendants and the students escaped out the back door; the building was burned to the ground. A few days later, according to Hasan, Tibo and the others were recruited by the Red Group, a militant Christian group.
“Far from participating in the violence, however, Hasan claimed that the men acted to subvert the Red Group’s leaders and protect various individuals — both Christian and Muslim — from violence. Hasan even claimed that at one point Tibo had saved his life.”
According to Jubilee, “A number of Indonesian human rights groups have taken up the cause of the three men, seeking clemency and exoneration. At the request of Kie Eng Go of Jubilee Campaign Indonesia , several members of the US Congress have written to President Susilo, urging him to reconsider his denial of clemency.”
Jubilee Campaign USA is developing a case to take before the UN.
The organization is asking concerned Christians to please write, e-mail and/or fax a letter to President Susilo regarding this gross miscarriage of justice.
The group adds: “Three innocent men’s lives hang in the balance. Please act today.”
Below is a sample Letter to President Susilo
(Please modify and personalize)
His Excellency Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010 Indonesia
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to appeal to you on behalf of three condemned men, Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Dasilva and Marinus Riwu, who were sentenced to death in connection with the communal conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi , in May 2000, and now face imminent execution. Although the men were convicted of murder and of fomenting sectarian violence, a great deal of evidence exists to suggest they are innocent of any such crimes. A number of credible witnesses testified that the men had come to the conflict zones for the sole purpose of rescuing women and children and removing them from the areas of danger. Other eyewitnesses declared specifically that Mr. Tibo, Mr. Dasilva and Mr. Riwu were not involved in the killings for which they were tried and convicted. Furthermore, a man who at the time was a police intelligence officer in Central Sulawesi informed the authorities that, far from participating in the violence, the condemned men actually saved his life when members of the Christian militia were about to kill him.
Although this preponderance of evidence was made available to the court during the trial, it is distressing to note that the Judge took none of it into consideration when rendering his verdict. It strains credulity to believe an omission such as this could have been merely an oversight; it seems too blatant a miscarriage of justice. Even more disturbing, however, is the report that your office recently rejected Mr. Tibo’s, Mr. Dasilva’s and Mr. Riwu’s petition for clemency regarding the imposition of the death penalty. For the execution of these humanitarian workers to go forward under the circumstances noted above would place a black mark on Indonesia’s system of justice that would be difficult if not impossible to remove.
I therefore urge you personally to review this case, including the credible testimony that was ignored during the trial, and reconsider not only the decision to reject clemency, but the three men’s conviction itself. Your leadership in this matter will go a long way to correcting a terrible injustice and restoring the faith of the citizens of your country and the world community in the criminal justice system of the Republic of Indonesia . It will show the world that Indonesia operates under the rule of law rather than the rule of threats, intimidation and scapegoating.
I look forward to hearing in the near future that Mr. Tibo, Mr. Dasilva and Mr. Riwu have been exonerated, released and reunited with their families.
Because of the urgency of this matter, Jubilee Campaign encourages you not only to mail your letter, but also to send it by e-mail or fax:
Fax : 011 62 21 3457782
Email : [email protected]