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Suspected Muslim militant apologizes for beheadings of Christian girls JAKARTA - A suspected Islamic militant told judges Wednesday he took part in the beheadings of three Christian girls on an Indonesian island wracked by sectarian violence to avenge the deaths of Muslims, but apologized to their families. "We are not cool-blooded killers," Hasanuddin told the Central Jakarta District Court. "We just wanted revenge."

Prosecutors accuse Hasanuddin and two other men of killing the girls on Oct. 29, 2005, as they walked to school on Sulawesi, the scene of religious clashes that left at least 1,000 people dead from 1998 to 2002. They are being charged under Indonesia's tough anti-terrorism laws and face possible death sentences if convicted.

"I was indeed involved in the beheadings," said Hasanuddin, who goes by only one name. "But we did it because authorities did nothing against massacres of Muslims." Prosecutors said Hasanuddin was the ringleader of the attack buying the machetes and plastic bags to put the girls' heads in and left a handwritten note at the scene vowing more killings.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, with 90 percent of its 220 million people professing the faith, but Central Sulawesi province has a roughly equal number of Christians. Though large-scale clashes ended with the signing of a peace agreement four years ago, sporadic attacks have continued, the beheadings the most gruesome.

Hasanuddin said Wednesday he hoped the families of the three Christian school girls would accept his apology "for the sake of a peaceful Poso." He told the court he and the two other defendants were especially angry about a 2000 attack on an Islamic boarding school in the coastal town of Poso that left at least 70 people dead.

Three Christian men were executed in September for the slayings, but the defendant claimed the masterminds were still free. "Male and female students were beheaded and buried in the nearby hills ... many of them raped before being killed," Hasanuddin said. In comparison, the deaths of the Christian girls "were nothing."


Link to related event Related event:
Central Sulawesi conflict

Related blog entries (category 'C. Sulawesi conflict') Related blog entries (category 'C. Sulawesi conflict'):
11 November 2006 · Beheaded girls were Ramadan 'trophies'
04 November 2006 · Indonesia charges three over beheading of schoolgirls
12 May 2006 · 3 militants arrested for beheading Christian schoolgirls
03 April 2006 · No reprieve for Poso 3, officials say
02 April 2006 · Execution of Poso convicts postponed


Posted in C. Sulawesi conflict @ 15 November 2006 11:09 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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