Thu, Aug 10, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Indonesia sets execution date for three Christians

KILLING FIELDS The three are due to be killed by firing squad after a court found them guilty of leading attacks against Muslims in Sulawesi


Indonesia has set an execution date for three Christians on death row for their role in attacks against Muslims during sectarian violence in Central Sulawesi's Poso district, an activist said yesterday.

Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marianus Riwu were sentenced to death in 2001 after judges found them guilty of leading a series of attacks against Muslims in religiously divided Poso.

The Central Sulawesi pro-secutors' office informed the convicts and their relatives that the executions would take place on Saturday, said Father Nobert Betan, who heads the Padma Indonesia justice and peace advocacy group.

The group has been providing legal counsel for the convicts.

"The letter of notification was given to Tibo and the others at the jail [in the provincial capital Palu] and to only one family, that of Tibo's," Betan said.

He added that it was expected his family would inform the others.

The precise timing and locations of executions in In-donesia, which are carried out by firing squad, are never made public.

The case is potentially sensitive in mainly Muslim Indonesia, where three Indonesian Islamic militants are also on death row for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people.

They are due to be executed on Aug. 22 unless they request a case review.

All legal avenues of appeal for the Christian trio have been exhausted, with appeals quashed by an appeal court and the Supreme Court, which has also rejected two demands for a case review.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also refused the men clemency.

Christians and Muslims live in roughly equal numbers in parts of the eastern island chain of Sulawesi, which was rocked by violence in 2000 and 2001 that left more than 1,000 people dead.

Separately, one of the lawyers for the three Bali bombers -- Amrozi, Ali Ghufron and Imam Samudra -- said that they would soon visit their clients at Nusakambangan maximum-security prison.

Letters of notification sent to the convicts' family last month had set their execution for Aug. 22.

"We already have a permit to visit them in Nusakambangan and we will soon make the visit and a decision as to when we will file the demand for a case review can only be made after that visit," lawyer Achmad Michdan said.

The lawyers said last month that they would definitely file for the review.

They said the request would be based on a constitutional court ruling that an anti-terror law -- passed after the Bali attacks and used to convict the bombers -- could not be used retroactively.

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