Indonesian Case Headed to International Court

3 Catholics Facing Execution

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POSO, Indonesia, SEPT. 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Lawyers for three Catholics condemned to death will take their case before the International Criminal Court in Geneva.



Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu were found guilty in 2000 of masterminding a massacre of 200 Muslims in Poso during interfaith clashes earlier that year.

They were sentenced to death in 2001, after a controversial juridical process. All together, the bloody confrontations of Poso -- from 1998 to 2000 -- between Christians and Muslims left more than 2,000 people dead.

Their execution, originally set for last Aug. 12, has been postponed several times. There have been numerous appeals, from all over the world, in favor of the three Catholics, as well as denunciations of the injustice of a trial riddled with illegalities.

On Aug. 11, the Vatican press office published Benedict XVI's appeal to the president of Indonesia, calling for clemency for the three men.

On numerous occasions, the AsiaNews agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) has made itself the spokesman of the three men, insisting that their trial was marked by, among other things, large-scale intimidation by Muslim extremists.

Peter Selestianus, chairman of PADMA, the lawyers' organization defending the three men, announced on Friday in the Indonesian capital that their case will be taken to the International Criminal Court. He cited a human-rights convention ratified by Jakarta, "to bring to light the injustices taking place in Indonesian trials," confirmed AsiaNews.

Meanwhile, several Muslim leaders, who took part in the recent interreligious meeting organized in Assisi, Italy, have added their voice to appeals and written a letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in support of the three condemned men.

They are Iranian Ayatollah Mohammed Ali Taskhiri; a judge, El Halabi Abbas; and Mohammed Sammak. The latter is a political adviser to the grand mufti of Lebanon and also to the Lebanese Saoud El Maolua -- of the Shamseddine Foundation for Dialogue.

All of them appealed for a gesture of clemency to prove "once again that justice is a fundamental principle in Islam."