Islamic Tolerance Alert from modern, moderate Indonesia: “Indonesia: Justice in Religious Conflicts Appears Uneven: More Christians may face death penalty; Islamists get light sentences for beheadings,” from Compass Direct:
BANGKOK, April 4 (Compass Direct News) — Justice dispensed in Indonesia’s religious conflicts seems to favor Muslims over Christians following relatively light sentences given to three Muslim extremists who beheaded three Christian high school girls in Poso, Central Sulawesi.
On Monday (April 2), less than two weeks after an Indonesian court sentenced the extremists to prison terms of only 14 to 20 years, 12 Christians went on trial for murdering two Muslims. The murders took place during the unrest that followed the September 22, 2006 execution of three Catholics — Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva — whose roles in a 2000 Muslim massacre were far less clear than that of the extremists who beheaded the schoolgirls.
In the beheadings case, an Indonesian court on March 21 sentenced Hasanuddin (who goes by a single name) to 20 years and Irwanto Irano and Lilik Purnomo to 14 years each. The men could have received the death sentence, but Judge Udar Siregar said he treated the defendants leniently because they confessed to the crime and expressed remorse. He also cited their cooperation with authorities.
Their victims, randomly selected as a “sacrificial gift” for the Muslim festival of Idul Fitri in October 2005, were Ida Yarni Sambue, 15, Theresia Morangke, 16, and Alfita Poliwo, 19. A fourth girl, then-15-year-old Noviana Malewa, survived the attack but received deep machete wounds to her face and neck. (See Compass Direct News, “Extremist Confesses to Murder of Christians,” January 19.)
The 34-year-old Hasanuddin, who led the Poso subdivision of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist network spanning all of southeast Asia, initiated the plan — while 29-year-old Irano and 28-year-old Purnomo staked out the route used by the girls, bought the machetes and dropped the girls” heads at various locations in and around Poso.
Purnomo had also confessed to the shooting of Christian lawyer Ferry Silalahi; involvement in the shooting of the Rev. Susianty Tinulele; the bombing of Immanuel church; and the beheading of a Christian village chief in Poso.
Hasanuddin, Irano and Purnomo were arrested in May 2006. Their confessions directed police to a number of Islamic terror cells based in Poso, run by JI and an affiliated group, the Mujahidin Kompak.
Police negotiated for months with JI and Kompak leaders, hoping for the voluntary surrender of at least 24 suspects. When negotiations failed, they launched two raids on JI cells in January.
In the murder of two Muslims last September, the 12 Christians were charged after violent protests that broke out following the executions of Tibo, Riwu and da Silva. The brief outbursts that followed the disputed convictions and executions sparked fears of renewed sectarian violence.
Conflict between Muslim and Christian communities in Central Sulawesi erupted in 2000 and continued until a peace agreement was signed in December 2001. Sporadic violence has continued since then, with the majority of victims being Christians.
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