Last Insults for Tibo et al.

Sep 24th, 2006, in News, by

The way that the trial and execution of Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu, and Dominggus da Silva was carried out, and its aftermath, may have served to poison relations between some in Indonesia.

George J. Aditjondro of the Yayasan Tanah Merdeka in Palu writes:

“This is the largest deployment of troops in the history of Central Sulawesi.” So a police commander in Palu told me, in the wake of the execution of Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu, and Dominggus da Silva last night. Nearly 5,000 police personnel have been stationed in Palu, the capital of the province, in the troublesome district of Poso, and neighboring Morowali, where the three farmers from Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, had migrated to work at the oil palm estates, to find a better life.

Fearful that their executions would trigger mass protests, the authorities did not want to release their bodies to their families to be buried with proper Catholic rituals. A requiem mass, which Bishop of Manado Yosephus Suwatan was going to celebrate, was prohibited by the authorities.

According to plans, by daybreak, a Skytrack plane chartered by the police flew the remains of Tibo and Riwu to Beteleme, their home subdistrict since arriving as transmigrants in Central Sulawesi, to be buried in the home villages of their respective wives, native Mori women.

Meanwhile, the parents of da Silva, who have been waiting and grieving for their son for the last five weeks (the executions were originally set for August 12th), are now in further agony. Fearful of the reaction of the angry masses in Flores, the authorities have rejected da Silva’s last request to be buried in Flores, burying him instead in an unknown place in or around Palu.

Rejecting a dying man’s last wishes, even if he has been labeled a criminal by society or the state, is quite unacceptable in Indonesian society. What is even more unacceptable is to prohibit last rites for Indonesian citizens, including those who have been on death row.

So why are the Indonesian authorities so fearful of the people, the masses, that all these security precautions have been taken to bury the bodies of these three Flores farmers, allowing only the minimum presence of their relatives? And, in the case of da Silva, without any of his relatives from Flores?

The big question then is, why fear the masses? Even the angry masses, if the authorities have not done any wrong to the three simple migrant farmers from Flores? The fact it that from the very time of their detention and trial, the fate of the trio had already been sealed as scapegoats for the social unrest in the Poso region in Central Sulawesi.

Although a double minority, both ethnic and religious, in Poso, they have been accused of masterminding a communal conflict, and especially a so-called attack on a Muslim religious school, nine kilometers south of the town of Poso. Yes, they had been sentenced to death by a court in Palu in April 2001, where the judges had to pass their sentence under the threatening eyes of thousands of refugees, hungry for revenge: eye for an eye, three lives for the hundreds lost.

Further research by myself and colleagues at the Tanah Merdeka Foundation has cast serious doubts on the fairness and truth of the accusations against the Flores trio. Even the previous police commander of Central Sulawesi, (Pol) Brig. Gen. Oegroseno doubted the decision of the Palu lower court, which was endorsed by the Central Sulawesi high court and Supreme Court.

Thus, he tacitly rebelled against Jakarta’s decision to execute the trio, by being absent from the provincial capital on Aug. 12, 2006. A daring stance to take, which cost him his position since soon after that he was demoted to a position at police headquarters in Jakarta.

The ordinary people in Central Sulawesi and in the trio’s home province, however, cannot grasp the logic of capital punishment for Tibo, Riwu, and da Silva. How could these three simple farmers, whose presence in the town of Poso was simply to protect their children in the Catholic school in Poso from attacks by angry riots, could at the same time be the masterminds and executors of the “attack” on the Walisongo pesantren at Km 9?

Yes, I emphasize the word “attack”, since during the initial years of the Poso unrest from late 1998 till late 2000 (with a year of calm in 1999), two religious communities were attacking each other. So, how could three persons from one community, who were not even from the dominant ethnic group and denomination, be single-handedly “chosen” to be the masterminds of the riots at that time?

This is why many people in the Poso and Morowali districts in Central Sulawesi, and many more people in Flores and West Timor in East Nusa Tenggara, cannot accept the executions of the three farmers. As far as the educated elite in Central Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara and in Java are concerned, there is a bigger problem at stake.

The executions of Tibo and his two colleagues is seen simply as an attempt by the regime of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Jusuf Kalla to cover up the real persons and institutions who should be held accountable for the ongoing unrest in Central Sulawesi, where violence from Poso spread to Morowali and even to the provincial capital, Palu. So, while Tibo and his colleagues were sitting in Palu prison for more than five years, violence had been continuing in the province, escalating in scale and method.

History will judge SBY and Kalla for neglecting their sworn duty to protect the safety and well-being of the people of the Poso region, who included Tibo, Riwu, and da Silva. They know this and that is why they fear the angry masses in Poso and Flores and hide behind the thousands of policemen and hundreds of military men, where ebony thieves are the only main local villains.

Meanwhile in radio interview on ABC Damien Kingsbury suggests that the determination, or “eagerness”, of the authorites to go through with the punishments for the three men is a reflection of the power of Islamists in Jakarta who wish to teach Christians in Indonesia a lesson, that they should never again organise themselves into militias for self-defence.

13 Comments on “Last Insults for Tibo et al.”

  1. Saulaiman says:

    Bless the soul to those who died in the hand of injustice, may God bless their soul and their family. Amen

  2. ak says:

    As if death is not enough. Whoever did this is an uncivilized person. So much for human rights.
    May God give eternal peace.

  3. SA says:

    For the members of the Family of Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva, be strong and remember that their souls are in heaven now with Jesus.

    Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to those people on their passing. Our prayers be with you all in this time of loss.
    May god continue to bless and comfort each of you.

  4. Tommy Joe says:

    To my fellows Christian”¦
    I can respectfully understand why my Christian brothers are so angry at the execution of Tibo and friends. That shows your solidarity and your care to your fellow Christians.

    But Brothers”¦ Could it be”¦ That Tibo and friends are not the same as you think they are? Could it be”¦ That Tibo (in someway) are responsible for the death of hundreds people in the riot? If They are responsible in some way. I think they deserve the punishment they got. Please, think as if you are one of the victim’s family. How would you now feel about Tibo and friends?

    To my fellows Muslim”¦
    I can also understand your rage and approval on Tibo’s execution. Now you feel that justice has been done, don’t you?

    But my beloved brothers”¦ Could it be”¦ That Tibo is not the one who’s responsible for the genocide? Could it be”¦ That we condemned the wrong persons after all. If they are just as victim as the killed women and children in the riot, is it the kinda justice that we want? Please, think as if you are Tibo and you are wrongly accused. How would you feel?

    I cried”¦Yes I did, I cried”¦ at the moment Tibo and friends are executed. I cried for that this is not the world I dream to live in.
    The world where everybody says he/she is right while he/she intendeedly does all the wrong things.

    The world where everybody says he love peace while he supports invasion over other’s rights of freedom.

    The world where everybody says he support democracy while he never listen to others.

    The world where everybody has a GOD, but he never act like he has one.

    We spend too much energy to show the world that our relogion is better than other’s, but we never care whether we have accomplished what God tell us to do. That goes both to Muslims and Christians.

    Tibo’s execution is not a product of faith-war. It’s a product of legal system. I don’t believe the penalty is just. But I have respect for the legal system.

    The pope’s letter to President SBY to cancel Tibo’s execution make things more unreasonable.
    If we release Tibo, we must also release Imam Samudra, right?
    The Christians might say,”¦ Imam is guity but Tibo is not.

    How can you say that? Is it just because Imam bravely admited his sin while Tibo strongly denied?

    I say Tibo must be killed if the court has proved him guilty. And Imam Samudra must also get the same.

    It’s not a perfect world, so the best among us are those who try to make it perfect. But Alas.. We just make this world a hell instead of paredise.
    Blaming one another is the last thing we should do now.

    Brothers”¦ If you can’t make things better, just try not to make it worse.
    Some opinions I read in this site on Tibo’s matter shows me how still narrowminded most of us are. Don’t do that. Where’s the love you always preach about?

    Prophet Muhammad PBUH said”¦ Say only the right thing, or be silent.
    Something that even Pope Benedict XVI should learn about.

  5. night says:

    There are some evident that Tibo is not guilty. Indonesian government, also kill Domingus Da Silva, the main evidence that Tibo is not the real terorist. But he is also killed for his testimony.

    Let the blood of Tibo be on Indonesian government if they are killed for political views .. not based on justice.

  6. Mizzy says:

    Hakim yang agung hanya Jesus…don’t worry Tibo, you will live in our heart. The real JUSTICE is coming, so beware SBY!!!! BEWARE!!!

  7. Julita says:

    May the Lord, our Almighty God, the Creator embrace into Tibo, Riwu and da Silva into His arms. Give their family strength, courage, patient in this difficult time.
    May the Lord also teach those who is playing God, those who were killing His beloved children.

  8. Andrew says:

    I have no doubt that Tibo et al are with the Lord now. Let’s just wait and see if justice and accountibility really exist in Indonesia.

    Those executioners think they can get away. On the judgement day, they will have to answer God. May He forgive them.

  9. Hassan says:

    If Tibo cs. were guilty, wouldn’t they be answering to God right now? If Tibo cs. were guilty, would you guys be supporting murderers right now?

    Have you ever thought of that?

    You guys always seem to think that Tibo cs. were innocent. Fid you know that for sure? Or did you blindly support possible murderers just because they are your brothers of the same faith?

    Just something to think about, no intentions to stir up problems here.

  10. Miss Indo 07 says:

    Oh just drop it Hassan, they’re dead anyway, whether they’re guilty or not, it’s their & God’s problem up there.

    And also one thing for you to know Hassan, I’ll also cry if I see a poor Muslim farmer (even if he’s guilty) killed with 5 bullets (when they say the regulation of execution only use 1 bullet), tortured with sangkur, and everything. I’m not you Hassan.

  11. Hassan says:

    chill here, gotcha Miss Indo 07 😉
    sorry folks…!

  12. black Aghori says:


    what a waste of lead…
    15 bullets just to kill one person…???
    maybe they shot him from a far distant…or was it from a short range…!

    in a firing squad only 1 rifle is loaded…and the commanding officer will give the the last shot if the victim is still alive..

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