Cornelius Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva, and Marinus Riwu are due to be executed fifteen minutes after midnight, Saturday 12th August.
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Fabianus Tibo (60), Dominggus da Silva (39), and Marinus Riwu (48), who are Catholics, were convicted in 2001 of being involved in the killings of 122 Muslims and the burning down of 4 houses during sectarian fighting in central Sulawesi between May and July, 2000. Since 2001 various attempts at gaining clemency and case reviews have failed.
Cornelius Fabianus Tibo.
On the 9th the Attorney General's office sent notice of the planned execution to the families of the men, as well as to the condemned men themselves. Both the men and their families refused to sign the notices.
The men have made three final requests. 1. That their bodies be taken to the Santa Maria church in Palu for requiem mass. 2. That they later be buried at the Beteleme cemetery in Morowali, central Sulawesi, while one of the men, Dominggus, asked to be buried in his native Flores, in East Nusa Tenggara. 3. That they be accompanied at the execution by Pastor Joseph Suwathan, Pastor Jemy Tumbelaka, Pastor Melky Taroro, and Roy Rening, head of their legal team.
Recently an amnesty was declared for those involved in the violence that racked the towns of Poso and Palu in central Sulawesi between 1998 and 2000, but, as Father Rinaldy Damanik, the head of the Majelis Sinode Gereja Kristen Sulawesi Tengah (GKST), explains:
If Tibo is executed then just who will the amnesty be given to? Why are Tibo, & co. not included in discussions of granting amnesty?
(Kalau Tibo dieksekusi, lantas kepada siapa saja amnesti itu akan diberikan. Kenapa Tibo dan kawan-kawan sama sekali tidak dimasukkan dalam pembicaraan pemberian amnesti itu.)
Brigadier General Oegroseno, head of central Sulawesi police, said on the 9th that he had already prepared the firing squad for the execution, comprised of officers from the Mobile Brigade. They have "training" for the execution for several months, he said.
Since the news was announced various pleas have again been made for a postponement of the execution or its cancellation. Demonstrations have also occurred in towns in the area and in the mens' native province of East Nusa Tenggara.
The Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Piet Tallo, said he hoped the government would be fair in weighing all the factors and would not cause Tibo & co. to become victims. Whatever the result he asked that people in his province accept things calmly.
The lawyer for the three men, Alamsyah Hanafiah, complained that their execution would cause the knowledge of what happened in Poso in 2000 to be lost forever. 16 men who had been named by Tibo as key figures in the violence had yet to be tried, he said.
In Palu, near Poso, the Catholic community voiced their dissent. About 50 of them, mainly women and coming from the Santa Maria parish, demonstrated on 10th August outside the Attorney General's office. Their coordinator, Adrianus Hode, said:
Tibo, Marinus and Dominggus have only been made victims in the case of the violence in Poso.
(Tibo, Marinus dan Dominggus hanya dikorbankan dalam kasus kerusuhan di Poso.)
Lawyer Roy Janis also said at the demonstration:
Tibo and Co. were not the key men in the violence, the real culprits are still free.
(Tibo dan kawan-kawan bukan pelaku kerusuhan, pelaku sesungguhkan kerusuhan Poso justru bebas berkeliaran.)
In nearby Tentena, a heavily Christian town, more than 1000 people demonstrated on the 10th.
In various towns and regencies of NTT, such as Maumere, Ende, Sikka, and Larantuka, many thousands of people marched on the 10th and 11th. In Ende, where Tibo was born, it is estimated 5000 people have come onto the streets. No violence has been recorded.
In the capital of NTT, Kupang, on the night of the 11th, 1000 candles were lit to protest the execution.
In Tentena Kompas says, 11th August, that about 60 people have forcibly occupied the offices of the Attorney General. Staff are not being allowed to leave, there are conflicting reports about a hostage situation.
In Jakarta a coalition of human rights groups urged the government to cancel the execution, at the Wahid Institute. Three religious leaders in North Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi also requested similar. Bishop of Manada, Mgr. Joseph Suwatan, chairman of the North Sulawesi branch of Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), Arifin Asegaf, and President of Asia Fellowship of Mission 21 Partner Churches, Dr Nico Gara, were of the opinion that the execution would harm the good name of Indonesia and reflect badly on the justice system.
Jusuf Kalla, the vice president, said that the execution was no business of the government, it was a product of the legal system.
However Attorney General's Office spokesman I Wayan Pasek Suartha said that nothing could stop the execution except technical difficulties. He said the three sentenced to death by the Palu District Court in 2001 had already used up all the legal means at their disposal.
August 12th, the execution has been postponed until, at the earliest, three days after the celebration of Independence Day on August 17th. General Sutanto of the police said this did not mean it had been cancelled and there would be no further postponements.
August 12th, demonstrations continued in Nusa Tenggara Timur despite the postponement of the executions. In Kupang, the capital of NTT, and also in Maumere, in Sikka regency, hundreds of people protested.
In Tentena the occupation of the Attorney General's office by members of the Solidaritas Masyarakat Anti Hukuman Mati (SMAHM) ended peacefully on the 12th. Three staff members who had been taken hostage were released.
The reasons for the postponement of the execution continue to arouse controversy. On the 13th Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda denied that there was any foreign intervention in the decision to put back the carrying out of the sentences until after 17th August. He admitted that many letters had been received by the government, including one from the Pope, but that these had had no influence.
Fauzan Al Anshori of the Majelis Mujahadin, MMI, disagreed. He wondered how a country of only 75 hectares, the Vatican, could influence the largest Muslim nation on the earth, Indonesia. The government was not serious in upholding the law, he said.
The Muslim Defence Team, Tim Pembela Muslim (TPM), a group of lawyers who usually represent terrorist suspects, were also dissatisfied with the situation. Asludin Hatjani of the Central Sulawesi branch of the TPM complained that the media were portraying Tibo and Co. as if they were heroes. He wished that the sentence of death be carried out.
Security minister Widodo Adi Sucipto vowed however that the executions would still be carried out.
August 15th saw the country's largest Islamic organization, Nahdhatul Ulama (PBNU), complain that the delay in the execution of death row convicts Tibo and co. proved that the Indonesian government was weak in carrying out legal decisions. PBNU Deputy Secretary General Syaiful Bahri Anshori said if the government did not want to be considered weak by the people, it should carry out the execution of the death-row convicts immediately, including Amrozi and the other Bali bombers, not just Tibo.
On August 16th, as president SBY was giving his state of the nation address, a member of the Partai Bulan Bintang, PBB, was heard to interject over the matter of Tibo. Later Ali Mochtar Ngabalin explained that the president had to be held to account for the delay in the executions.
August 17th, General Sutanto of the police says the three men's executions will not be postponed again. The time and place of the executions is not yet known.
Update, 19th September, 2006
Their executions are now set for September 21st.