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ICC Note: It does not appear that these men received a fair trial. It also seems that the procedure to inform the relatives of those being executed was done incorrectly. With that in mind, there is a good chance that religious persecution is involved. Please pray for the men as they face execution and for the families who are about to lose loved ones.

Three Indonesian Catholics face firing squad on 12 August

by Benteng Reges

AsiaNews (8/9/06) – After many delays, the authorities of central Sulawsi have fixed the date and place for the execution of Tibo and his two friends. Their families have reiterated their opposition to the “unjust” penalty and say the judges have proved to be “blind and deaf” when faced with new evidence in favour of the three men.

Three Catholics on death row in Indonesia have only three days left to live. Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwa will appear before a firing squad on 12 August at 00.15pm (local time) in Palu. After months of postponement, second thoughts by the authorities and international appeals, including one from the pope, the Attorney General’s Office of Central Sulawesi issued the order and the official announcement of the execution of the three men. They were condemned to death for masterminding the massacre of 200 Muslims in Poso during inter-religious clashes in 2000.

The news was confirmed by the eldest son of Fabianus Tibo, 29-year-old Robert, who yesterday received a letter from the Palu Prosecutor’s Office. “My father and his two friends will be executed on Saturday,” he said. The youth said the letter was not sent to him directly but through a distinguished leader of the local Christian community, Rev. Rinaldy Damanik, chairman of Central Sulawesi Churches of Synod. Robert said: “The priest sent the letter to a Catholic priest in Tentena, where I went to pick it up.”

According to Robert Tibo, Rev.Damanik received the letter from an employee of the local prosecutor’s office, who asked him to take it to Robert directly. The young man said the letter was signed by the chief prosecutor of Palu as well as the one of Poso. Rev.Damanik claimed that the authorities asked him to pass on the message “for psychological reasons”. Damanik said the letter also contained instructions to communicate its important contents to the families of the three men.

Indonesian law stipulates that the local prosecutor’s office should communicate the date and time of execution only to the family of the condemned man and to his lawyers. The way in which the news was passed on to the relatives of the three Catholics did not follow standard procedure.

For their part, Robert and the families of Silva and Riwa continue to oppose what they describe as an “unjust condemnation” and they refuse to sign the letter delivered. Robert said: “Our three families have something in common: they all reject the execution seeing that the presumed involvement of our fathers in the conflict of Poso did not emerge clearly in the trial.” He continued: “It is unjust and we are very sorry to learn that all the new legal evidence provided by the PADMA group of lawyers was not taken seriously by the court and the government.” [Go To Full Story]