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Execution of Poso convicts postponed PALU - The execution of three Christians convicted of masterminding the 2001 sectarian conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi, has been postponed for "technical reasons", the Attorney General's Office said Saturday. The Attorney General's Office had earlier announced that the three would be executed at the end of March after their plea for presidential clemency was rejected.

"There is something which is yet to be prepared for the execution. It is a technical problem," the Office's spokesman Mashyudi Ridwan told The Jakarta Post, declining to discuss the exact reasons for the delay. He said that the postponement had nothing to do with demands the execution be canceled until 16 men, who the convicted three claim are the real masterminds of the conflict, testify in court.

The trials of the 16 men, two of whom are influential local figures, are expected to shed light on the origins of the deadly conflict. In the Central Sulawesi capital of Palu, where the three are spending their last days, Catholic priests have refused to accompany them to their executions until the 16 accused go on trial. Neither Mashyudi nor the convicts' lawyers would say if the priests' resistance was the "technical problem" that was delaying the execution.

"Our request for a second case review and presidential pardon is being processed, therefore the execution must be delayed until the truth comes to light," Father Jimmy Tumbelaka said. The priest of the Tentena and Morowali parish said that the three men, Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu, and Dominggus da Silva, were only victims, the scapegoats of a scenario created by Poso's political elite.

It's commonly believed that the simmering conflict was the result of a power struggle between Muslim and Christian political elites in Poso, a Christian enclave in Central Sulawesi. Harris Hutabarat, a lawyer for the three men, proposed the second clemency last Tuesday after the first request was denied by the President in November 2005. In early March this year the three men also requested a review of the case.

"According to the 2002 law on clemency, an execution must be postponed whenever a plea for clemency is still in the process," said Roy Rening, the leader of the three's defense team. "We hope that the Supreme Court, as the last bastion of law, provides the president with fair and balanced opinions before he decides on the fate of these three," added Roy.

Poso is a regency equally divided between Christians and Muslims. In 2000 and 2001, the province became the scene of battles between two sectarian groups, leaving about 1,000 people dead. On July 25, 2001, the police arrested Tibo, Da Silva and Riwu, all Christians. The Poso District Court found them guilty of leading an attack on a Muslim village and sentenced them to death in the same year.


Link to related event Related event:
Central Sulawesi conflict

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Posted in Violence @ 02 April 2006 17:26 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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