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Friday, September 22, 2006

Indonesia execution of Catholic militants incites rioting
Kate Heneroty at 7:08 AM ET

[JURIST] Christian protestors in Indonesia [government website; JURIST news archive] burned cars, government buildings, a prison and Muslim-owned businesses Friday following the executions of three Roman Catholic men convicted [BBC report] in 2001 of leading a Christian militia which killed at least 70 Muslims in 2000 [BBC backgrounder]. Thousands of protestors gathered in Flores, the men's birthplace, and in the largely Roman Catholic province of East Nusatenggara, expressing their outrage at the severity of the punishment, which many believe to be religiously motivated. Only a handful of people have been held responsible for the attacks, but all have received sentences of less than 15 years for the attacks, which killed more than 1,000 Muslims and Christians between 1999 and 2002.

Human rights groups have questioned the fairness [Amnesty International press release] of the trial, maintaining that Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu, and Dominggus da Silva, may have participated, but were not the leaders of the militia. Muslim groups gathered outside of the trial in an attempt to intimidate judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and witnesses and defense lawyers also received numerous death threats. European Union and Vatican officials have also condemned the executions. AP has more.

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