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ICC Note: This article points out some of the holes in the trial against the 3 Christian men in Indonesia accused of a crime they didn’t commit

Christian Party Wants Poso Executions Stayed

The Jakarta Post

8/26/2006 Indonesia (Jakarta Post) The Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) called on the government Friday to delay the execution of three Catholics in Palu, Central Sulawesi , convicted of mass murder in a sectarian conflict.

The Christian-based political party said that the execution by firing squad of Fabianus Tibo, 68, Marianus Riwu, 48, and Dominggus da Silva, 38, would only bring renewed violence in the volatile region, on a larger scale.

It said the only way to prevent a conflict is to find what it called the real perpetrators.

“Instead of expediting the execution, the government should reopen the cases that implicated the three people, as the legal proceedings have been marred by irregularities,” lawmaker Ratna Situmorang of the PDS faction told a press conference.

Ratna said there was a series of violations of proper legal procedure leading up to the prosecution of the three convicts.

She pointed to the fact that Tibo, Riwu and da Silva were arrested by an Army unit instead of the police, and that three Muslims were barred from testifying in their favor.

“All indications are that it was a rogue trial and the verdict it produced was illegal. We demand a retrial,” Ratna said.

Various groups have protested against the planned executions of the three Catholics, saying the men were only pawns used by outside parties to sow the seeds of violence in Poso.

Pope Benedict XVI has also appealed to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to spare the lives of the men. The appeal was sent via telegram by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican ‘s secretary of state.

Joining the chorus demanding a delay in the execution of the three convicts was a politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Gayus Lumbuun.

He said given the international pressure against executing the men, it would be better for the government to delay the execution and reopen the case to determine whether other people orchestrated the violence.

He said Indonesia should follow in the footsteps of countries such as Malaysia that have started moving to phase out the death penalty.

“We are not against life sentences, but please don’t apply the death sentence,” he said.

In Palu, hundreds of members of the Association of Islamic Students staged a street demonstration Wednesday, demanding the speedy execution of the three convicts since all legal avenues had been exhausted.

They also demanded that authorities investigate the convicts’ claim they had acted on the order of 16 people they called the “masterminds” of the sectarian conflict.

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