The case of Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Da Silva and Marinus Riwu

Posted in Other | 13-Sep-06

Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Da Silva and Marinus Riwu: Only the three Catholic men have been brought before a court

Fabianus Tibo (60), Dominggus da Silva (39), and Marinus Riwu (48) are three migrant Catholics from Flores, convicted of murdering 200 Muslims in May and June 2000 in the Poso area of Central Sulawesi province during clashes betwenn Christians and Muslims. During that period, several riots and interethnic violence hit this region.

Between 1998–2001, more than 2,000 people were killed in Central Sulawesi. Muslims and Catholics were involved in the violence, but only the three Catholic men have been brought before a court.

On April 5th 2001 they were condemned to death.

In December 2005, the President of the Republic of Indonesia rejected their pleas for clemency. Since then, a national and international campaign against their execution has started, stating that the three men, accused of being the masterminds of the riots, were illiterate people, unable to lead such an event.

In addition, several Indonesian Muslim leaders, including the former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid and other representatives of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia, signed joint appeals together with Catholic bishops and other religious representatives, asking that a new and fair trial be assured.

Other appeals came from the European Union, individual European governments and other world personalities.

On March 9, 2006, nine new witnesses—all testifying in favour of the three condemned men—were heard by the court, but a new trial was not been convened.

On August 8th the Prosecutor's Office in Palu, the Central Sulawesi capital, announced that the men would be executed on August 12, but the executions were stayed just hours beforehand.

General Sutanto, the national Police Chief, announced the stay. He said the delay was due to letters by Pope Benedict XVI, the Bishops' Conference of Indonesia and interfaith (including muslim) leaders, but added that the executions would be carried out after Aug. 17, Indonesia's Independence Day.

On August 29, 2006, Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Da Silva and Marinus Riwu were moved from the isolation cells where they had been held since August 10.