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Indonesian Church Attack Case a Step Closer to Trial

ICC Note

Suspects in attack on Christian leaders are handed over to prosecutors.  Attacks seen as part of intense campaign against congregation’s presence.

11/11/2010 Indonesia (Jakarta Globe) – The 13 suspects in the Sept. 12 attack on two Christian leaders appear headed to trial after police handed over their completed case files to prosecutors on Thursday.

The Bandung Prosecutor’s Office in West Java will try the 13 suspects in the attack on two leaders of the Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) of Pondok Timur Indah in Bekasi.

Adj. Sr. Comr. Daniel Bolly Tifaona, from the Jakarta Police, said that in addition to handing over the files and evidence, police had also turned over custody of the suspects.

“The prosecutors’ office has declared that everything received was P21 [in completed order],” he said. “The evidence includes the knife that was used to stab the church leader.”

The 13 suspects include the suspended leader of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) in Bekasi, Murhali Barda. Police say the other suspects have few or no links to the FPI.

Asia Sihombing and the Rev. Luspida Simandjuntak, leaders of the church, were attacked on their way to a service.

Police have been criticized for failing to arrest more members of the FPI, which many observers believe was responsible not only for the Sept. 12 attack, but also previous threats aimed at the congregation in a campaign of intimidation that started at the beginning of the year.

The attack in September occurred as the church leaders were heading to a vacant lot in Ciketing where the congregation was forced to hold services after officials sealed off their church.

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